Do you love keeping up with the tiny, everyday details of your friends’ lives? Exchanging goofy pictures, quick videos, and more—it’s a great way to stay up-to-date. And if you’re dealing with a recent move, or trying to make a long-distance relationship work, Snapchat is a great vehicle.
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But what if you went on a fun vacation? Or what if you Snapchatted your way through Disney World? Those might be memories that you don’t want to lose. If you’re looking to save those precious snaps, here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Check Your Snaps and Stories
Before you delete your Snapchat account, you’ll want to back up your memories. Snapchat suggests backing up your memories before you make any big moves, which is standard practice for the deletion of any social media account.
To check your memories, it’s wise to look at your Snaps and Stories. If they’re already backed up, they’ll look normal. If not, they’ll have a rotating arrow icon. This icon often has a blue background and has two arrows curving into an endless circle. If your snaps have this icon, that means they’re not backed up at all.
If your memories don’t have that icon, don’t assume they’re backed up! You’ll want to make sure. Here’s how to verify:
1. Go to your Profile. You’ll need to tap on the cogwheel icon, and that will open your Settings. Out of the list of options, you’ll want to tap Memories.
2. Look for Backup Progress. If it says Complete, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need to check for the alternate text.
3. Back it up. That alternate text will say either ‘No Network Connection’ or ‘# Snaps Remaining.’ That number of snaps is how many you don’t have saved, and will be lost if something goes wrong.
You have two options here. You’ll need to check your available data—if you have a good cell phone plan, this might not be an issue. Then, you can back it up automatically. If not, connect to Wi-Fi as soon as you can, so Snapchat can do its job in the background.
4. Memories lost? You might have already lost some memories. Maybe you uninstalled Snapchat on a whim, or you logged out of your account. If that’s the case, you won’t be able to recover those memories and back them up.
Step 2: Change Your Settings
If you’re getting a handle on your digital legacy, automation is a great way to do it. If you change some of your Snapchat features, your memories will automatically be saved.
Of course, it takes a few extra steps But once it’s done, you won’t have to think twice about turning your snaps into a memorial collage.
1. What do you want to do? Maybe you just want the extra assurance of having Snapchat memories on your computer. Or, you’d like hard copies, the same kind that you’d get from printing your Instagram photos. Depending on what you want to accomplish, Snapchat has a lot of choices.
2. Access your Settings. To do this, log into your Snapchat account. Go to My Profile, and then tap on the cogwheel icon. This will bring up Settings, and you can scroll down the provided menu until you see Memories. Then, you’ll be able to choose between all the Settings that affect memories.
3. Choose a setting. To move Snapchat memories to your computer, there are three useful settings you can choose from. The first option is called Smart Backup. If you have a limited data plan, be careful of this option!
When you have Smart Backup enabled, all your memories will automatically be saved. Whether you’re connected to Wi-Fi or not, Snapchat will automatically save these memories. However, this is very data-heavy and will use up a lot of your cell-phone internet usage if you are not connected to Wi-Fi. Once they’re saved in this way, you have one layer of security.
But to make this truly work, you’ll need to select Auto-Save My Story Snaps. This will make sure that Smart Backup works all the time. But neither of these settings help you transfer photos to your computer.
What else can you do? Under the Settings menu, once you’ve enabled the other two settings mentioned, you’ll need to select Save Button. When you do this, you’ll need to decide where you want Snaps and Stories to go. Depending on the options available, it might be easiest to have them saved straight to your camera roll.
4. Create a folder or email them. Once you’ve got them saved to your phone’s camera roll, you’ll need to move them to your computer. If you’ve got a few snaps and stories, you can probably email them to yourself without much trouble.
But if you’ve got more than that, it’s worth it to create a Google Photos folder or have them backed up to a cloud service like Dropbox or iCloud. That way, you can access it from your phone and your laptop. Once you’ve created that folder, log in to view it from your computer. If you’re limited on space, you can stop here. If not, you should download them.
5. Download and use your memories. Depending on how you transferred your photos, you might be downloading them from Google Photos. Or, you might be saving attachments from your email account. No matter what you used, save them on your computer for safekeeping. If you prefer to have backups for your backup, try saving them to a flash drive.
Once this is done, you can decide what you’d like to do with your Snaps. Now that they’re off the original Snapchat platform, you can do almost anything you’d like. Want to start a craft project? Or frame some photos to hang in your house? Whatever you’d like to do, you can find a convenient service online that will help you achieve your memory preservation goals.
Managing Your Legacy
Taking care of your own online footprint is hard enough. But what about someone else’s? If you’re in charge of someone else’s digital legacy, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. From closing down their bank account to saving their Snaps, it can feel daunting.
Consider your priorities. If you have a lot of duplicate photos on either Instagram or on your phone, downloading memories from Snapchat may not make a difference. If so, there’s no need to feel guilty about deleting the account without saving anything.
However, if you remember a specific memory or a video that gained a lot of traction with your friends, these could be worth saving. Also, if you’re in charge of putting something together for the funeral, like a memorial collage, these could be a great resource.
Once you get your Snapchat memories safely transferred to your computer, you can do whatever you’d like. The best part is that you will have peace of mind now that you’ve backed up those precious memories somewhere more permanent.
Post-planning tip: Memories are especially important after a loved one has passed away. If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
- Snapchat. “Memories Settings and Backup.” n.d., support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/memories-settings