Snapchat’s new Maps feature is either incredibly useful or a pretty hefty invasion of your privacy depending on how you look at it.
Either way Snap Maps is here and whether you’re a concerned parent or someone who’s curious to find out what it does, here’s everything you need to know along with instructions on how to control who sees your location or even turn it off using a feature called ‘Ghost Mode’.
What is Snap Maps?
Snap Maps is a brand-new feature by Snapchat that lets you see a geographical map of where your friends are and what they’re doing.
In addition to seeing your friends’ location it also includes a heat map that indicates a high density of people using Snapchat.
As you can see in the image above, famous landmarks are unsurprisingly ‘hot spots’ and it’s at these places that Snapchat will curate a selection of Snaps from that location within the last few hours.
Where things get a bit troublesome is how it shares both your location and your friends’.
Now it should be clear that by default Snapchat will not share your location.
However if you agree, every one of your friends will be able to see exactly where you are and even whether you’re sitting down or driving.
This has understandably got some people worried so it’s important to understand how you can control this feature and even turn it off if you want.
How do I turn Snap Maps off?
While you can’t disable Snap Maps as a feature, you can certainly control whether or not people can see your location.
There are two ways to hide your location: When you open Snap Maps for the first time or in the settings menu. We’ll give you instructions for both.
Opening Snap Maps for the first time:
When you first open the latest version of Snapchat you’ll be invited to zoom out of the camera image, this launches Snap Maps.
At this juncture you’ll be taken to a welcome screen where you can either ‘Allow’ Snapchat to access your location or to ‘Exit Map’.
If you choose to ‘Exit Map’ then your location will not be shared and you can effectively pretend that Snap Maps doesn’t exist.
However if you would like to continue then press ‘Allow’. Pressing this button will not start sharing your location, but simply take you to the next screen.
You’ll then be taken to a screen explaining what Snap Maps does, simply tap ‘Next’.
This is where things get important. You’ll see a ‘Find Your Friends’ screen, it is here that you can control your privacy settings.
1. Ghost Mode - This makes your location invisible to everyone on Snapchat.
2. My Friends - This shares your location with your entire friends list and will update your location every time you open Snapchat.
3. Select Friends... - This lets you pick individual friends that you would like to share your location with.
Once you’ve selected an option tap ‘Next’. At this point you’re all set up and Snap Maps is ready to use.
The Settings menu:
If you or your child have already turned on the location feature in Snap Maps on and you want to turn it off you can do this easily through the Settings menu.
Simply open Snap Maps and then tap on this icon in the top right-hand corner.
This will bring up the Settings menu. The first option you’ll see is ‘Ghost Mode’, turn this on.
That will stop Snapchat from sharing your location with anyone. Alternatively you can change who sees your location below by tapping on either ‘My Friends’ or ‘Select Friends...’.