How to enable and use Snapchat filters and lenses on an iPhone or Android phone


Pikachu Snapchat filter

  • Snapchat has filters and lenses which can be used to augment your photos and videos.
  • In essence, the difference between filters and lenses is that lenses are augmented reality animation, whereas filters are static image overlays.
  • Here’s what you need to know to enable and use Snapchat filters, as well as lenses, in both the iPhone and Android apps.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Snapchat’s various features can be confusing to the uninitiated. The difference between filters and lenses, for example, may not be clear. 

But here’s a quick social-media lesson: Snapchat filters are static, and sit on top of your image or video. Snapchat lenses, on the other hand, are augmented reality animations that can change the sound of your voice, in addition to your appearance on the screen.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to enable Snapchat filters and use them, as well as how to use lenses through the app on iPhone or Android.

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How to enable Snapchat filters

Before you can start using filters on Snapchat, you’ll have to enable them. Here’s how:

1. Open your Snapchat app.

2. Tap your profile icon in the top-left corner of the screen.

3. Tap the gear icon in the top-right to open your Settings.


4. Under “Additional Services,” tap “Manage.”

5. Tap the slider at the top to turn on filters.

How to use Snapchat filters

Remember: Filters are static, while lenses (discussed below) are animated. Here’s how to activate and use your filters:

1. Open your Snapchat app.

2. Take a photo by tapping the circle in the bottom-center of the screen, or take a video by tapping and holding it down.

3. Swipe right or left over the photo or video you just took to cycle through your filters.


4. Tap the blue-and-white button in the bottom-right corner of the screen to send the Snap to friends or add it to your story.

If you wanted to use more than one filter, you can do so by using one finger to tap and hold the filter, and one another finger to swipe left or right through additional filters. 

Depending on what version of Snapchat you’re using, you can also press the filter locking button, which looks like three squares stacked on top of each other. It’s at the bottom of the tools column on the right side of the screen.

How to use Snapchat lenses

1. Open your Snapchat app.

2. Tap the screen. A carousel of icons will appear at the bottom of the screen.

3. Swipe through the assortment of lens options at the bottom of the screen (it may take a moment for each one to load).


4. When ready, select the lens you want and tap its icon to capture a quick photo (or tap and hold for video).

Although Snapchat gives you an array of preset lenses, you can add more by opening the Lens carousel and pressing the icon that looks like two heads, one in front of the other, at the bottom of your screen. This will open up the Community Lenses page, where you can add more.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech:

  • How to change your Snapchat display name – since you can’t change your username

  • How to find and add someone on Snapchat on iPhone or Android, in 3 different ways

  • How to delete or deactivate your Snapchat account, which you can only do from a desktop browser

  • How to delete or block friends on Snapchat on an iPhone or Android

SEE ALSO: The Google Pixel is one of the best Android phones you can buy — here’s where you can get one

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