4 Unexpected and Fun Things You Can Do With Snapchat

Unexpected Uses Snapchat Featured One

While mostly being known for enabling its users to share authentic photos and videos that “self-destruct” soon after they’re sent, Snapchat is far more than just a visual communication app. Actually, the platform offers some pretty unexpected features and, in this article, we look at three of them and show you how to take advantage of these features so you can get more out of your Snapchat experience.

1. Play Games

Some of you might not be aware of this, but it’s possible to play games in Snapchat. The app’s gaming platform is called Snap Games, and according to the company, it aims to provide “a way to hang out with friends on Snapchat.” For this reason, most of the games you’ll find on the platform are multiplayer in nature, but it’s also possible to play even if none of your friends are around to join you.

All the games you’ll find on Snapchat are HTML5-based and include titles such as “Snake Squad,” “Color Galaxy,” “Sling Racers,” and many more. What’s more, Snapchat also offers access to a library of what they call “Minis.” These aren’t games but are “bite-sized utilities” to help you and your friend manage your daily activities with ease. There are only a few available currently. One of these Minis is “Movie Tickets”: a mini app that allows users to purchase tickets and pick seats with friends. Another is “Let’s Do It”: this will help you decide what to eat or watch.

If you’d like to start playing games in Snapchat yourself, this is how to get started. There are two ways of accessing games in Snapchat. The first one goes through the Chat tab.

First Method: Chat Tab

  1. Open Snapchat on your mobile device.
  2. From the Snap tab (camera), tap on the Chat icon at the bottom of the display.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Chat
  1. Select the Chat or Group Chat.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Select Friend
  1. Tap on the Rocket icon in the lower-right corner of the display.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Rocket Icon
  1. This action will have the effect of opening the Game Drawer.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Game Drawer View
  1. Select a game you want to play, and it should load in the Chat window for you and your friend.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Profile Game View
  1. Alternatively, you can switch to the Minis tab by tapping the bottom.

You can send messages while in-game, so if your friend takes longer to join, you can nudge him/her back into action. If they are not around to play with you, don’t worry – Snapchat will add some random players to your game, so you can still get in on the action.

Second Method: Search Bar

Another way of quickly accessing games is via the Search bar. You may want to use this method when you’re looking to play on your own and not with your friends.

  1. In the Snap tab, press on the magnifying glass icon in the upper-left corner next to your profile picture.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Profile
  1. You’ll be taken to the Search screen. At the very bottom you should notice a section labelled “Games & Minis.”
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Chat Search Games
  1. Scroll through the available options and make your choice.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Solo Game View

Now, whenever you have some time to kill, you can open your Snapchat app and load a quick game to keep you entertained. It’s as simple as that.

2. Discover Recipes

Another feature you might not expect to find in Snapchat is the app allowing you to scan food items and discover recipes using that particular ingredient. The feature is pretty new, so make sure you update your Snapchat app before you attempt this.

  1. Open the Snapchat app on your device.
  2. In the Snap tab, press on the scanner icon at the bottom and point it at a piece of food. It can be a banana, pasta, or any other ingredients you may have around the house. Alternatively, you can even point your phone at a dish in a restaurant in the hopes that Snapchat’s computer vision wizardry will decipher the recipe for you so that you can make it at home.
  3. Wait for the scanning process to finish. Once it’s complete, a panel will pop up from the bottom showing you a Wikipedia entry of the identified food. Underneath you’ll find the list of recipes.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Food Scan Results
  1. Scroll through the recipes and tap on one that piques your interest.
  2. The full list of instructions will open up in a new window.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Recipe View

According to Snapchat, its Food scan option can identify more than 1,200 ingredients and suggest more than 4,500 recipes. Note that the feature can identify singular food items and not multiple ones at the same time.

If you can’t see the option, try the next best thing. Point the camera at a product barcode, and the app will offer you the option to check out the item’s nutritional information. This option is much more widely available for Snapchat users around the globe, although it may not “understand” some regional barcodes.

Unexpected Uses Snapchat Chat Bar Code

3. Identify Songs

When you think about identifying songs with your phone, your mind goes “I’ll use Shazam,” right? But if you have Snapchat installed, you don’t really need to have Shazam as a separate app on the same device, as Shazam is integrated into Snapchat. You can use the social app to identify cools songs you hear around you by once again using the Scanner feature.

  1. In the Snap tab, tap on the Scanner button at the bottom.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Scanner
  1. Place your phone in proximity of the music source.
  2. Wait for the device to detect the tune.
  3. Once it does, the result should pop up on the screen in a Shazam card.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Songs Info
  1. From there, you can play the song on your device by pressing the Play button, but only if you use Apple Music.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Lyrics
  1. You can also opt to view the song’s lyrics by pressing the “Song info” button.

4. Buy Official Snapchat Merchandise

If you’re a super Snapchat fan, you’ll probably be thrilled to know that you can buy Snapchat merchandise directly from the app itself (if you’re in the U.S.). Unfortunately, the option is not yet available to users in other territories, which is why it’s still a relatively hidden feature of Snapchat’s. To access the Snapchat store, you’ll need an iOS device or a computer.

  1. From the Snap tab on your iOS device, tap on the profile picture in the upper left corner of the display.
  1. Press the gear icon in the upper right.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Ios Settings
  1. This should open Settings for you. Scroll down until you find the “Snap Store” option, and tap on it.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Ios Snap Store
  1. You’re now in the store and can purchase merchandise, such as a cool-looking fanny pack or mug.
Unexpected Uses Snapchat Buy Merch

On your computer, go to the Snap Store page, then open you Snapchat on your phone and scan the Snap code with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I can’t see one (or more) of the features mentioned in this article. What can I do?

Some of these features are restricted regionally. For instance, the Food Scan option and Snap Store can be accessed only if you’re from the U.S. – for now at least. It’s impossible to keep track of which feature is available where, so the best thing you could do is to make sure you’ve updated the app before trying any of new Snapchat features.

2. Snapchat won’t recognize items I’m trying to scan. How can I fix this?

If Snapchat is giving you the wrong results, the first thing you should try is repositioning your camera. Try and point it directly at what you’re scanning to ensure the best outcome. Additionally, you might try and lean the camera lens and use brighter lightning to illuminate the object you’re trying to scan. Natural light works best, but if it’s already nighttime, try and position the item next to a brighter lighting system.

3. I can’t seem to be able to get Snapchat to identify the music I’m playing. What’s wrong?

While the feature works relatively well, sometimes you’ll need to get really close to the source of the sound or turn up the volume for it to do its job properly. If you tried that, and the option still doesn’t work, try manually pressing on the “Discover a song” option, which should be available through scrolling after Snapchat is done scanning the first time around.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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