Snap Maps: The Truth

Ah, Snap Chat. Just look how far you have come from your humble beginning of being a simple photo sharing app. But now people are scared to death by your new map feature and the risk that it may bring. We go over some of the facts and ways to stay safe using this new update.

The Snap Maps update was introduced on the 21st of June to allow friends and followers to see what was happening to them on a global scale, with the ability to view Snaps made public by users for event such as the recent Pride events happening in London and other parts of the world.

Screen shot of the map

The map itself is accessible by pinching the screen while on the camera menu and often will start in the location of the device. The map will update before showing the current location of other Snap Chat users. In my case all my friends are in the UK with some other events that users can publicly add Snaps to such as the Wimbledon Championship in London. My current location on the map is the center of the screen along the Equator as my map setting is set to “Ghost Mode” preventing my location to be shared but allows me to see my friends location. The other options allow me to select all friends or only certain friends I want to know my location. There is NO possibility of a stranger viewing the location of a person without the user setting them as a friend.


The map will display the users location all the time if the settings for Location Services are set to “While Using” and “Background App Refresh” set to “On”. Having these setting will allow the app to continually send data even when the app is currently minimized.


Lots of concern has been raise about the use of the map as the users current location is viable on the map leading to fears of strangers locating children and fears of other criminal activity taking place. For worried parents there is a simple solution: Disabling the Location Services setting for the app, this will stop the map from opening and the location of the user to be untraceable while the app is running even if the app is minimized. An other option for parents is to prevent the child from opening the app using parental controls on the device to stop them from accessing the app or changing the settings in the event they reactive the Location Service.

Some myths around the web say “Snap Chat posts to the Map with out my permission” this is a lie. The user has to set the Snap to be sent to the map in order for it to be displayed publicly on the map, in the same way the user sends to the Snap to there Story. The users Snap can only be posted in an public when events such as Pride or the Wimbledon Championship are active and the send “Publicly to Map” box is checked.

Remember to stay safe online.


More Internet safety tips can be found by searching “Internet Safety” and studying and teaching children the Basic 10 rules.