If you’ve been reading the site for awhile, you know Snapchat has become one of our favorite social networks over the last two or three years. The focus on disposable photos and sharing the world around you was an incredibly unique idea when Snapchat launched earlier this decade, and years of expansion and new features added into the has made our experience that much better. It’s a great application to share moments of your life instantly with family and friends. Though there are plenty of options added over the last three years, nothing was more revolutionary than Stories, one of the hallmark features within Snapchat. Stories allows you to tell the story of your day, adding photos and 10 second videos that are public to your Snapchat followers for 24 hours before disappearing forever. The feature was so good, Facebook’s been trying to copy the idea into every single network and app they own—to some varied success depending on the app.
Also see our article Snapchat—How to Screenshot Without Them Knowing
But since the audience is already on Snapchat, most people have stuck with the traditional Snapchat app instead of switching over to Instagram of Facebook Messenger. Unfortunately, there is a pretty big flaw in Snapchat’s strategy: there app just isn’t all that easy to learn or use. It can be slow to get used to, with a steep learning curve that can befuddle newer users to the platform. Even something as simple as viewing your own story can be a confusing mess if you aren’t used to how the platform works. Thankfully, we here at TechJunkie are pretty much Snapchat extraordinaires, with knowledge of every tip and trick in the Snapchat book. If you’re curious how to view your own story on Snapchat, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look in this how-to guide.
Viewing Your Story
Whether you had a wild night out on the town last night or you want to see the photos you posted to the service earlier in the day, wanting to view your own story is an obvious ideal strategy to checking out what’s going on throughout your day. It might not be obvious where your posted stories go, though, so if you want to see how crazy your night at the bar got last night after things got a bit hazy, you’ll have to open and view your own story for a piece of the puzzle.
Start by opening up Snapchat on either your Android or iOS device from your app drawer or home screen. The app will load into your camera viewfinder display. Typically, this is where you’ll head to take a snap, use an AR lens, or apply filters to your selfie. Instead, tap the triple-circled icon in the lower-right hand corner of your display. This is the link to view stories, both from your followed users and from Snapchat’s partners. If there are new, unviewed stories, this link might be purple. If not, it will display in white without a background. The stories page is quite busy, with a purple banner running along at the top, and your recent updates listed along the bottom. Below your recent updates, you’ll find Snapchat’s own Featured stories, followed by your subscriptions (if you’ve subscribed to any outlet on Snapchat), and below that, a full list of your friends’ stories in alphabetical order.
Instead, we’re looking for the top of this page, where you’ll find your own story if you’ve posted one in the past twenty-four hours. The tab reads “My Story,” along with a small counter at the bottom of your story. That counter will say how long it’s been since you posted your story (in our screenshots, it displays 15 hours ago), along with a small gray circle icon that acts like an hourglass for the remaining time left on your story.
To view your story, tap on the white section of the bar. This will replay your entire story to you, no matter how many times you’ve seen it or how long it is. Once your story ends, you’ll be returned to the story display. Newer versions of Snapchat have added an infinite loop option to snaps that do away with the ten second limit, instead allowing the images or videos to disappear once you’ve clicked through the entire story.
Seeing Who Viewed Your Story
Viewing your story is easy enough, but unlike most social networks, Snapchat allows you to view which of your followers have and haven’t seen your story. It’s a really interesting idea for making this type of network feel a bit more personable, while also knowing exactly what actions people make while viewing your story. While you won’t get any notifications for someone viewing your story twice like you will when someone replays a direct snap, you will receive a notification when someone’s screenshotted your story. Let’s take a look how all this is done.
From the stories screen inside of Snapchat, find your story at the top of the page. You’ll notice several small icons to the right of your story, highlighted in gray. Tap the triple-dotted vertical line icon on the far-right side of your display. This will drop down your story display, showing you each individual photo or video you’ve added to your story in the past twenty-four hours, plus any captions you’ve added to that story so as to identify which photo is which. On the far right of this screen, you’ll see purple icons in the shape of eyes, plus a number to the left. These icons and numbers represent the people who have viewed your story (in our example screenshot, forty-five people viewed the first snap, while forty-two people viewed the second).
It’s not good enough just to know the numbers, though—you need to know the names of who specifically has or hasn’t viewed your story. Snapchat allows you to do that too. Just tap on the eye-con from the display inside Stories, which will open your photo or video playing in the background (if it’s a video, the sound will be muted), along with a list of the names that have viewed your story. This list is in reverse-chronological order, with the top of your list showing you who most-recently viewed your story, and the bottom of your list showing you who least-recently viewed your story. If any of your friends have screenshotted your story, you’ll see a small screenshot icon (two arrows crossed with each other) next to their name.
Finally, you can also view this information from inside your story while viewing it. Tap on your story to view the visuals. At the bottom of the display, you’ll notice a small arrow pointing up on your screen. Swipe up on this arrow to load a full display of the names. You can swipe down to dismiss this display as well.
Saving Your Story
Alright, you’ve posted your snap to your story, but you forgot to save the photo to your device. You could just screenshot your own story, but this means your name, the time posted, and the small arrow at the bottom of your display will be visible. What’s worse, saving a video with a screenshot is impossible. However, there’s no need to worry—whether you forgot to save your story or you decided to save it after the fact, it’s actually really easy to save your story to Snapchat’s “Memories” feature at any time. Here’s how to do it.
Load into the Stories tab we’ve been using throughout this guide and find your story at the top of the page. You’ll note the three gray icons we mentioned earlier on the right side of your story tab. We already mentioned the triple-dotted icon as a way to view your individual stories all at once, but instead, let’s turn our attention to the icon on the left, which displays a down-facing arrow and a line, all encompassed by a circle. Tapping this icon will load a message that asks about saving your story, along with a message that reads, “This will save your entire Story to your Memories.” Select yes to confirm, and every snap on your story will be saved to your memories.
If you want to save your stories individually from each other, instead of in one lump grouping, tap on the menu button on the far-right of your story to open the individual display for each story. Tap on the story you want to save, and while the story is open, tap on the down-arrow/line icon in the bottom-right corner of your display. You’ll get a notification your snap is being saved to Memories at the top of the page, and the icon will turn into a circle as the snap downloads and saves. Once the snap is saved, the icon will return to a down-arrow/line.
To save your story to your camera reel instead of Snapchat’s built-in Memories feature, return to the camera interface by tapping the circle at the bottom of your screen. Here, you’ll see two separate circles. The bigger circle icon is your standard shutter button, with the smaller icon below it showing your most-recently saved snaps. This icon leads to your memories section, where any saved snaps that aren’t screenshotted will be listed. All of these snaps have options for being saved, and it’s as easy as pressing and holding your finger on the snap. This will load a few separate options to use, including “Edit Snap,” which lets you re-edit the snap you already saved. You can save directly to your camera roll, which will move the snap over from your Memories (a cloud-save for Snapchat) to your actual phone, where you can send and save the image or video as you would any other. You can delete the snap from your Memories if you accidentally saved it, and you can move the snap to My Eyes Only, a digital locker for your, ahem, more sensitive saved snaps.
Adding to Your Story
Most users will ass snaps to their stories directly from their camera interface when they’ve captured a snap, but every now and then you forget to add a snap to your story when you’ve sent it to others. If you want to sidestep this, there’s a way to add a snap directly to your story when you’ve captured it. To start, head to the Stories tab inside of Snapchat and tap on the middle gray icon we haven’t discussed yet. This will redirect you to your Snapchat camera interface, but instead of the traditional icons at the bottom of the screen, you’ll simply see a back arrow at the bottom-right.
Capture the content, photo, or video you’re looking to add to your story, and you’ll be direct to a traditional editing screen inside of Snapchat. The difference here is major, though—at the bottom of your screen, you’ll notice that “My Story” is already selected as a recipient of your snap, meaning as soon as you hit Send, your Snap will be added to your story. This means you won’t be able to add friends to your snap by hitting the send arrow, so if you want to add people to receive your snap, tap on the display where it reads “Tap to add friends!” You can then send your snap, which will be added to your story and sent to any friends you’ve selected.
Creating a Custom Story
The final Stories feature worth covering is one of the newest additions. This past Spring, Snapchat added custom stories to your app, allowing you to create specific stories for events you want to share with a specific group or selection of people. Basically, you can use this to make sure only a certain group of people see your story. For example, if you’re at an event you only want to share with specific friends or colleagues, you can select certain contacts from your friend group and limit the rest of your connections from seeing that story. Alternatively, you can use a geofenced area to share your story with anyone, whether you’re friends with them or not, as long as they’re in your fenced off area. Basically, this means your stories become public attractions for anyone at your event to look at. For example, if you’re at someone’s birthday party or graduation party, you can celebrate with everyone there, whether you’ve made connections with the people around you or not. This also allows friends of friends to contribute, so that nearby neighbors aren’t posting random stories unless they know of someone at your event.
To start these custom stories, head to the Stories tab inside of Snapchat and look at the top purple banner. At the top-right of your display, you’ll see a plus icon. Tapping on this icon will invite you to name your story (“Jenna’s Birthday Party!”, “Greg’s Graduation,” etc.). Once you’ve named your event, you’ll have the option to set your parameters for the security and privacy of your event. This includes an option geofence (turned off by default) that, when enabled, will show you a map of your location, along with an estimate of your current address (you can edit the name of your geofence, which defaults to your address, in order to hide your address from others). Geofence areas can’t be adjusted or moved—it’s centered around your current location.
Once you’ve decided whether or not you want a geofence, you can decide to set who can add and view the story. If you’re willing for everyone at your event to add and view, setting both to “Friends of Friends” is the best way to do it. This means that your contacts, plus all your contacts’ contacts can contribute and watch your story at once. If you want to keep things a bit more private, you can limit everything to just your circle of friends on both adding and viewing stories. You can also keep viewing to your friends of friends while setting contributions to just your friends if you want a happy medium between the two settings.
The story will appear as a featured story under your own story but above the postings of your friends. To watch your custom story, tap on the menu just as you would with anyone else’s posts.
Snapchat’s a wonderful app, capable of plenty of different modes of sharing and contributing to public spaces all at once. Unfortunately, the app is also a bit difficult to learn how to use if you’re new to the service, and the Stories feature, though one of the most innovative ideas in all of social networks, is also a bit of a difficult concept to learn. Stories are, effectively, the most public area of Snapchat, so if you’re new to the service, it might be confusing that an app set around disposable photos also has a public area to post images. But part of what makes Snapchat so popular and so effective in its strategy is the ability to make everything, even the public posts on its service, feel disposable in some way or another. You can put up photos or videos of your night at a bar, because you know in twenty-four hours, no one is ever going to see them again. And in the era of “the internet is forever,” having some kind of disposable photo network is a really great thing to use.
Of course, all of that functionality comes at the cost of simplicity, which is why even viewing your own stories or saving them after they’ve been posted can be a bit confusing. Hopefully this guide helped clear up any Story-based uncertainty, and if you’re still looking for some more-advanced Snapchat tips, check out our other Snapchat guides here.