How to Make a Private Story in Snapchat and Other Privacy Tips

Upgrade your Snapchat experience by making it more private.

Snapchat Privacy Featured

Privacy is a big focus for a growing number of people using social media. If you’re among them, then perhaps you’d like to make your Snapchat account more private to guarantee a safer and more relaxed experience on the app. To increase the privacy of your Snapchat on your Android or iOS smartphone, start by switching to Private Story creation, which allows you to control who has access to your content.

1. Create Private Stories

Like Instagram, Snapchat also allows users to create Stories that are ephemeral pieces of content that offer a glimpse into your daily routine. If you don’t want anyone having access to this info, know that you can control who views them. For one, it’s possible to create Private Stories. This option comes in handy when you want to share some things only with one special person, while your other Stories remain visible to everyone.

  1. To create a Private Snap, tap on your “Avatar” in the upper-left corner.
Spanchat Privacy Profile Picture
  1. Tap on the “+New Story” button in the “My Stories” section.
Snapchat Privacy New Story
  1. Select “New Private Story.”
Snapchat Privacy Private Story
  1. Select the people to see your Private Snap.
  2. Tap on “Create Story” at the bottom.
Snapchat Privacy Select Private Viewers
  1. Name the folder and click “Save.”
Snapchat Privacy Save Story Button
  1. A new folder will appear in Stories with this name. Think of it as a separate space where you share things only with chosen people.
  2. Once it’s created, you will only have to tap on “Add to [Name of the Story]” to start adding content to it.
  3. If you want to add or remove people from this particular Private Story folder, tap on the three-dot menu next to the Story’s name.
Snapchat Privacy Story Dot Menu
  1. Select “Edit Viewers.”
  2. Alternatively, you can add more content by hitting “Add to Story.”
Snapchat Privacy Edit Viewers Add To
  1. Alternatively, go to the “Privacy Control” section again in “Settings.”
  2. Tap on “View My Story.”
Spanchat Privacy View My Story
  1. You’ll find three options: The first is “Everyone,” and the second is “Friends Only.” The third option is “Custom,” which allows you to create a list of select friends who will not be blocked from viewing your Story. Use this if you’re really particular about who gets to see it.
Spanchat Privacy Select Story Privacy

2. Move Private Snaps from Memories to “My Eyes Only”

Snapchat allows you to save the content, such as Stories that you’ve already posted or sent via the Memories folder. If you have the “Auto-save to Memories” option, enabling Private Stories will save everything to this particular folder. To prevent these images from popping up while you’re showing your Memories to a friend, you may want to move them to a more private location in Snapchat.

  1. To access “Memories,” swipe left to bring up the Camera screen.
  2. Tap the “Cards” icon next to the large Camera button in the middle.
Snapchat Privacy Cards Ion
  1. Long-press stuff you want to save in Memories by long-pressing it.
  2. Select “Hide” from the options at the bottom.
Snapchat Privacy Hide
  1. On the next screen, you’ll be invited to set up the “My Eyes Only” option. Tap the button at the bottom to continue.
Snapchat Privacy Quick Setup
  1. Set a passcode you will remember. If you forget it, there’s no way to retrieve it, and you’ll lose your Private Stories.
Snapchat Privacy Passcode
  1. Tap “Finish” for the images you selected previously to be transferred to “My Eyes Only.”
  2. To view them again, go to Memories and tap on the “My Eyes Only” option at the top and input your passcode.
Snapchat Privacy For My Eyes Only

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication adds a layer of security to your account and prevents unauthorized parties from accessing your account. Basically, every time you want to log in to Snapchat, you’ll need to input the password as well as a one-time code generated by an authenticator app. Alternatively, you can opt to receive it via SMS. Find out how you can enable 2FA for your Snapchat account.

Tip: check out these suggestions for a good authenticator app.

4. Keep Personal Information Minimal

Avoid giving away too much private information about yourself in Snapchat. The app lets you add both your first and last name, as well as your birthday, but you don’t have to. You can keep using Snapchat even with a fake name and birthday.

Best of all is that you can use it anonymously without even having to add your name at all. You’ll still need a username, but again, it doesn’t have to convey your true identity.

Spanchat Privacy Minimal Private Info

5. Allow Only Friends to Contact You

For those who want to keep their experience on Snapchat limited to their friends and other close acquaintances, know that you have control over who can interact with you via the social app. Follow the below instructions to learn how to change who gets to send you Snaps and messages and initiate calls.

  1. Open Snapchat on your device.
  2. Tap on your avatar in the upper-left corner of the display.
Spanchat Privacy Profile Picture
  1. Press on the gear-shaped icon in the top right to go to Settings.
Spanchat Privacy Settings
  1. Swipe until you find the “Privacy Control” section and select the first option: “Contact Me.”
Spanchat Privacy Settings Contact Me
  1. Select “My Friends.”
Spanchat Privacy Contact Only By Friends

This will prevent others from contacting you. Only the people you’ve added to your Friends list on the app will be able to interact with you.

6. Opt Out of “Quick Add”

Snapchat wants to make sure you’re adding all the people you may or may not know on your list of friends. With this purpose in mind, it has introduced the “Quick Add” list, which is easily visible from your “Chat” and “Story” tabs, as well as “Search.” It contains recommendations based on who you’re already friends with, who you subscribe to and other factors. If you don’t want others on the list to view this, turn the option off.

  1. Go to Settings in Snapchat just as shown above.
  2. Tap on “See Me in Quick Add” in the “Privacy Control” section.
Spanchat Privacy Settings Quick Add
  1. Untick the “Show me in Quick Add” option and exit.
Spanchat Privacy Remove Quick Add
  1. That’s it. You will no longer need to worry about it popping up as a suggestion for random people.

7. Disable Contact Syncing

If you only wish to share your Snapchat with a select few, you should disable contact syncing so that you won’t be pressured to add everyone from your contact list who has a Snapchat account. If you’re in their phone’s contact list and they have the option enabled, Snapchat may still suggest you to them, unless you disable the “Quick Add” feature.

  1. Open the app and go to “Settings.”
  2. Swipe all the way down until you reach the “Account Actions” section and tap on “Contact Syncing.”
Spanchat Privacy Contact Syncing
  1. Uncheck the “Sync Contacts” option at the top.
Spanchat Privacy Syncing Off
  1. Also, make sure to press the “Delete All Contacts Data” button.
  2. Hit “Confirm” on the pop-up that appears, and you’re done.
Spanchat Privacy Confirm Unsync

8. Turn on Ghost Mode

Like many similar services, Snapchat tracks your whereabouts. However, in this particular case, the app shares your approximate location with your Snapchat friends. It encourages interactions between users by showing who is near you and what they are doing. But it can also give people access to sensitive information. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can turn on Ghost Mode, which will hide your location from prying eyes.

  1. Go to “Settings” in your Snapchat app.
  2. Scroll to the “Privacy Control” section and select “See My Location.”
Snapchat Privacy See My Location
  1. Toggle on the “Ghost Mode” option at the top.
Snapchat Privacy Ghost Mode Settings
  1. If you decide to leave it disabled, select from the three options at your disposal: “Friends,” “My Friends, Except” and “Only These Friends.” As an example, if you opt for the last one, it allows you to create a custom list of trusted individuals who can see your movements.

Change Location Access for Snapchat

If you don’t trust Snapchat to do the right thing, you can take matters into your own hands and make some changes to your smartphone’s settings to ensure your location details are protected.

  1. Go to “Settings” on your device.
  2. Go to “Apps” or “Apps & notifications.”
Snapchat Privacy Settings App Notifications
  1. Tap on “See all [number of apps you have] apps” and select “Snapchat.”
Snapchat Privacy Settings All Apps
  1. Select “Permissions.”
Snapchat Privacy Permissions
  1. Hit “Location.”
Snapchat Privacy Location
  1. Select “Don’t allow” from the available options.
Snapchat Privacy Do Not Allow
  1. Go to “Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services” if you’re using iOS.
Snapchat Privacy Ios Location Services
Image source: Apple
  1. Select Snapchat from the “Share my Location” list followed by the “Never” option from the next screen.

9. Be Wary of Those Who Screenshot Your Snaps

Snapchat shows you when someone has taken a snap of your conversation or Snaps. Keep an eye out for these notifications, as they may alert you to possible nefarious intentions. If you notice this behavior, it could be time to reassess whether you should continue being friends on Snapchat with that person.

In the case of family and close friends, you probably have nothing to worry about. But if it’s someone you met on the app or a distant acquaintance, you may want to think about unfriending them for your own peace of mind.

Snapchat Privacy Screenshot

To make sure you don’t miss these messages, make sure you’ve enabled Snapchat notifications from the app as well as from the main settings of your device.

10. Don’t Add Random People

If you want to have a safe Snapchat experience, resist the urge to add random people on Snapchat. When you receive a new friend request, make sure you look over who the account belongs to and whether they can be trusted. If you’ve never heard or interacted with the person, it’s best to reject the friend request.

Since many people use Snapchat to socialize, this may be hard to do. At the very least, make sure you don’t share the more private aspects of yourself by creating Private Stories, which they won’t have access to, and restricting their access further as shown here.

11. Be Careful Who You Send Snaps To

Be extra careful of who you send your Snaps to when you use Camera. It’s quite easy to accidentally tap on an extra person. You can’t unsend a Snap once you’ve sent it on its way, which is why you have to pay extra attention. Always make sure you check the blue band at the bottom of the display and double-check that you didn’t add anyone by mistake.

Snapchat Privacy Permissions Check Send Stories

12. Clear Your History

As the last step to securing your account, clear your data on the app. This may include conversations, searches and more.

  1. Go to “Settings” in the app.
  2. Scroll down until you reach the “Account Actions” section.
  3. Hit “Clear Conversation” and “Clear Search History.”
Snapchat Privacy Clear History

It should also be mentioned that you can set future chats to be deleted once viewed. Do this manually for every person you’re chatting with by opening the chat and tapping on the “24 hours after viewing” button at the top. Change it to “After Viewing.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change my Snapchat name and username?

If you used your real name when signing up, don’t worry, as you can still change it. Open the app and go to “Settings -> Name” to change it. You can even remove your name completely by pressing on the “Remove name” option underneath. To change your username, go to “Settings -> Username,” then press on “Change username.”

Can I make a Private Story from the camera roll?

Yes. From the Camera view, press on the cards icon next to the large circular button in the middle. Select “Camera Roll” from the options at the top and select your photos. Press on “Story” at the bottom and select the Private Story folder you created previously.

Can someone tell that I've blocked them from viewing my Stories on Snapchat?

You’re safe, as it’s not possible. They won’t know you’re preventing them from seeing your Stories unless they ask a common friend to check or use another account to infiltrate your friends list.

Image credit: DCStudio via Freepik All screenshots by Alexandra Arici

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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