Like most social media platforms and apps, Snapchat tracks your location and uses this information to improve its features and services.
However, as more people grow concerned about their privacy when using social media apps, it’s understandable to not want Snapchat to track your location. Even if it’s not using the information maliciously, you may not be comfortable with an app tracking your every move.
In this article, I’ll show you how to both hide your location from Snapchat entirely and how to trick the app into thinking that you’re somewhere else.
SnapMap is the feature that allows you to see where your Snapchat friends are. It also allows your friends to see your location when turned on. If you haven’t heard of it, or haven’t turned it on, then it isn’t active on your account.
The feature was rolled out in 2017, and unless you’ve deliberately activated it, you’re still “off the grid” so to speak. You have to tell Snapchat three times (and then your phone a fourth time) to turn on the feature, so it’s hard to turn on by accident.
Your SnapMap location updates regularly as long as your app is open. If you close the app, then SnapMap simply shows your last known location until it expires after several hours.
Don’t worry, though, Snapchat offers ways to decide which of your friends can see you. You can even hide your location altogether if you want to.
Turning off Location Sharing
Turning off your location settings is very simple. First, launch the Snapchat app on your device.
Once the app is open, follow these steps to turn off location sharing:
- Go to Camera, Friends, or Discover screens.
- Tap the magnifying glass.
- Tap Map.
- Pinch and pull with your fingers to zoom in and out.
Once on the Map screen, you’ll want to access your settings by tapping on the cog icon. Now, you can make some adjustments to better protect your privacy.
There are three basic settings:
- My Friends – Your Snapchat friends can see your location when you are using the app.
- My Friends, Except… – Your friends can see you but for a few that you expressly exclude.
- Only These Friends – Choose the select “inner circle” of friends that can see where you are.
- Ghost Mode – Keep your location a secret. Only you can see it on the map.
Select “Ghost Mode” and Snapchat will give you the choice of how long to ghost yourself – three hours, a day, or until you turn off the feature manually. Choose whichever setting works for you.
Presto, you’re now private on Snapchat – or you’re broadcasting your location to the world, whichever you prefer! It’s that easy.
Spoofing Your Location
So that’s how to stop Snapchat from keeping track of your location, but how can you convince the app that you’re somewhere that you aren’t?
Well, there’s no direct way to do it within the Snapchat app itself. Snapchat wants everyone to be honest about their locations. So in order to do this, you need to get creative.
The way to trick Snapchat is to trick your phone. Snapchat doesn’t really know where you are; it just knows how to ask your phone where you are. If your phone thinks you’re in Kazakhstan, then that’s where Snapchat will think you are. There are several ways to do this, depending on whether you are using iPhone or Android.
iPhone – Spoof Snapchat Using iTools
Newer iPhones can’t be jailbroken, which was the old-fashioned way of spoofing your GPS location on an iPhone. The iOS operating system is very secure and locked down nowadays and doesn’t allow you to play games with GPS location the way you can on an Android.
However, you can still spoof your GPS location on the iPhone using a commercial (read: not free) program called iTools. You can get a free trial of iTools to see if it will work for you, but after that, a single-user license costs $30.95.
To start, run iTools on a Windows PC or a desktop Mac, then connect your iPhone to that computer using a cable (like you would do if you were connecting to iTunes). Your iPhone will have to stay with the host computer to make this work.
Once you have iTools installed, follow these steps to set up GPS spoofing on your iPhone:
- Click the Toolbox icon on the iTools panel.
- Click the Virtual Location button on the Toolbox panel.
- Enter the location you want to spoof your location to in the text box and click Move Here.
- Go to Snapchat on your phone and do whatever you wish to do in your “new” location.
- To end the GPS spoofing, select Stop Simulation in iTools.
While it isn’t free, this is the easiest and most effective to spoof your location if you’re using an iPhone.
Android – Spoof Snapchat With Fake GPS Apps
Because Android smartphones are simple to configure, it’s very easy to tell your Android phone to get its GPS location data, not from the satellite network, but from another app running on the phone. Here’s how to do it.
You will need to download the Fake GPS Location app from the Play Store. You can use other GPS-faking apps, but this one works and is reliable and free. Once you’ve installed the Fake GPS Location app, leave it.
Next, you need to enable developer settings on your Android phone. Developer settings is a menu option on Android phones that tells the phone you are running experimental software or hardware.
It basically changes some security settings so that you can run programs like the Fake GPS Location app that trick the operating system. These instructions are specific to an Android phone running Android 8.1 (Oreo) but should work for any Android phone with minor changes.
Here’s how to turn developer settings on:
- Open the Settings menu on your phone.
- Tap System.
- Tap About Phone.
- Tap Software Info.
- Tap Build Number seven times quickly.
- Enter your phone’s lock code when prompted.
You now have access to the Developer Mode settings page under Settings->System->Developer Options.
Toggle Developer on if it didn’t turn itself on automatically and you’re ready to go.
The next step is to install the Fake GPS Location app from the Google Play store if you haven’t already.
Now, you need to tell your phone to use the Fake GPS Location app as its GPS device.
- Open Settings.
- Tap on System.
- Tap on Developer Options.
- Scroll down to Select mock location app and tap on it.
- Select the Fake GPS app.
Changing the location for Snapchat is very simple after installing Fake GPS. Just open the Fake GPS Location app and move the map to wherever you want to “be.” Hit the Play button and your phone now believes you to be wherever you have navigated to on the map.
It’s easy to check this – open Snapchat and see where your icon is located on the map. You should be where Fake GPS Location thinks you are.
As we learn more and more about how social media companies are collecting and handling our private data, it’s not uncommon for users to be more concerned than ever about their privacy.
For users like this, the idea that Snapchat tracks your every move might be a little bit unnerving. If this sounds like you, just follow the steps outlined above to control, turn off, or spoof your location sharing on Snapchat.
Looking for more info on how to spoof your location or identity with various apps? We’ve got you covered!
We’ve got a general overview of spoofing GPS on Android.
Here’s our guide to spoofing a phone number!
We can show you how to spoof your location in Google Maps.