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Snapchat releases big new update with visual filters, Replay feature, and more

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snapchat stories 2 (ellis)
snapchat stories 2 (ellis)

Snapchat released a significant update to its iOS app today that includes support for a range of new services, including swipeable photo filters. An update to the app reveals support for a range of filters, including "smart filters" that include the current time, temperature, and even how fast you're moving. "We just decided as a holiday present to the Snapchat community that we would put out a couple things we thought were fun," Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel said in an interview with The Verge.

Filters you can swipe

To enable the new features, you have to go to the app's setting menu and scroll to Additional Services. Tap 'manage' and you'll see six new settings, including visual filters and 'smart' filters. Once you've enabled them, take a snap and wait for the image to appear. From there, swipe left and right and Snapchat will apply various filters. One filter will overlay the current temperature on your picture, using data supplied by the Weather Channel. Another will overlay your speed. ("Don't snap and drive," Spiegel says.)

But the most interesting feature here may be Replay, an option that lets you watch one snap per day for a second time. Did you miss part of a friend's message because you didn't realize it was a video snap that included audio? You can now watch it one more time. The message is still deleted from Snapchat's servers after the first play, Spiegel says. But after countless moments of missing friends' snaps, he said, his team wanted to enable people to get a second chance. "You only get one a day, so you've got to use it where it counts," Spiegel says.

The update also gives you another option for the font on your text, if you like to caption your photos. You can enable a front-facing flash for your selfies. And you can specify how many of your friends you want to appear in your 'best friends' menu, up to seven. Spiegel says today's release is an intermediate step for the company — "we're basically in between big update cycles," he says. But for fans of the app, today's update is likely to feel pretty big in its own right.