Ah, remember the good old days when Snapchat was just the app everyone thought was for naughty pictures? Snapchat has long since evolved into a legitimate communication tool, and on Tuesday, it took the plunge into offering audio calls and voice and video messages (WhatsApp, watch your back). However, if you're not quite sure how to even make a Snapchat Story, let alone use these new features, never fear. Here's how to make a voice call on Snapchat.
First, you'll want to make sure your Snapchat is updated by going into your App Store (for Apple users) or Google Play (for Android users). After you've updated the pic-friendly app, head back into Snapchat on your phone. Swipe right from the main screen to access your contact list. From there, swipe right a second time on whichever contact you'd like to call. You'll see your normal chat screen, except, woah, there's now four new options: to send a photo from your existing camera roll, to call someone, to send a video message, or to send them cartoon stickers.
To make the video call, simply press the phone icon, and you'll proceed to audio call your friend. Fun fact: if your friend isn't reachable, Snapchat informs you of this with a small poop emoticon (OK, OK, and also with the phrase "X can't be reached right now").
Regardless of whether you're using Snapchat when someone calls — hey, not all of us are livestreaming our lives 24/7 — a notification will pop up to let you know you're receiving a call. You can choose to join the call via video or audio only, or you can "ignore" the call (helpful for those moments when your ex Snapchat calls during a staff meeting). If you choose to video call, you'll also be able to text and send emoticons.
The Snapchat update also allows users to send video and audio clips, which, once viewed, will disappear unless you save them (i.e., in the usual Snapchat way). New emoticons will also allow users to send cartoonish images to describe their lives. Next time you need a bacon emoticon, a basic avocado, or a sunglass-donning cat in a floatie tube, Snapchat's got your back.
So why add all of these new features to Snapchat? The app has to remain competitive with other social media giants, all of which have stepped up their game recently. Facebook Messenger now allows voice calls (with pretty great quality), Instagram lets users chat, and both Google Hangouts and Skype offer group video calls.
It looks like this is Snapchat's newest attempt at converting more users over to their platform, and, judging by their success in the past few years (or the number of Snaps and Stories friends — and my grandma — send), it might just work. Here's to hoping the voice call quality is crystal clear.