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Does Snapchat use Ghost Mode Automatically?

Posted by Jessie Richardson on June 11, 2019

Ghost Mode in Snapchat is the default privacy mode. If you don’t want your location broadcast to all your friends whenever you have the app open, you need Ghost Mode enabled to keep it to yourself. So is Ghost Mode enabled automatically or do you have to manually switch it on?

The answer is kind of both. It is automatic once you choose a privacy mode you want to use with Snap Maps but you have to manually turn it on or off when you switch modes.

Snap Maps will update your location every time you use Snapchat if you don’t have Ghost Mode active. If you’re happy to share your location then you can control who gets to see it. If you’re not happy to share your location or want some alone time, you can turn it off using Ghost Mode.

Snap Maps and Ghost Mode

When you first open Snap Maps, you’re presented with a popup screen with four privacy options. You need to select one before you can open the map for real and explore it. You can change the option at any time, but this is when you are first presented with Ghost Mode.

Those privacy options are:

  • Ghost Mode (Only Me)
  • My Friends
  • My Friends Except…
  • Only These Friends…

These are similar options to other privacy settings in Snapchat but let’s take a quick look at them in case you’re unfamiliar.

Ghost Mode (Only Me)

If you select Ghost Mode (Only Me), your location will not be visible on Snap Maps until you change it. If someone sees your bitmoji on the map, they will see a little ghost to tell them you’re keeping it low key. You can have this set permanently or use a timer depending on your needs.

One thing to realize is that if you publish a Snap to Our Story, it will show your location. Otherwise, this is the setting to use if you don’t want to use Snap Maps or don’t want to use it at this time.

My Friends

The My Friends setting will share your location with mutual friends. It will only share that location with people who have friended you and you have friended back. It will only work when both of you have friended. This is to stop us following random people or celebrities and being able to see where they are without them having any control over it.

My Friends Except…

My Friends Except… uses the same criteria as above but allows you to manually specify any friends you do not want to see your location on Snap Maps. This can be a useful setting but also troublesome. Use it as sparingly as possible.

Only These Friends…

Only These Friends… is a better setting to use as you’re not just excluding one or two people but being selective about who you share your location with. You are presented with your friends list and you just select those you want to share your location with and they will see you on Snap Maps. All other friends will not see your location until you change this setting.

Other Snap Maps privacy settings

While you can set up your privacy setting the first time you open Snap Maps, you can revisit it at any time to change it depending on what you’re doing. Once you have made that initial selection, any further selection is done from the Snap Maps menu.

To turn on Ghost Mode at any time, do this from within Snap Maps:

  1. Select the cog icon in the top right of the screen.
  2. Toggle Ghost Mode to on.

You can also turn it on without having to go into Snap Maps, from the privacy menu.

  1. Select your bitmoji from within Snapchat.
  2. Select the cog icon to access settings.
  3. Select See My Location and toggle on Ghost Mode.

The end result is the same. Your bitmoji will appear as a ghost to others and your location will remain private.

You can also disable location features or block Snapchat’s access to location but this will interfere with now Snapchat works. You would not be able to use geofilters, discover local stories, see local events and offers or anything that relies on location to work. It’s the nuclear option but is an option if you don’t trust Snapchat. Just go into your phone settings, then app permissions and remove Snapchat’s permission to access location data.

Snap Maps has a very detailed map that can get quite specific, even down to the building or house you might be in. It’s partly creepy but partly cool just how much Snapchat gets to know about you but you do have some control. If you’re new to Snap Maps, I would suggest learning about those sharing modes right away. You’re going to need them!

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