How to Unlock Hidden Snapchat Filters and Lenses


One of the best reasons to use Snapchat is its collection of fun filters and lenses that make your selfies pop.

There are plenty of choices from the get-go, with the selection changing on a regular basis. However, Snapchat also has secret filters and lenses that you need to unlock before they’re accessible. And, even then, they may only be available for a limited time.

So, how do you unlock Snapchat filters and lenses? Including hidden ones? In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know.

Snapchat Filters and Lenses: What’s the Difference?

In Snapchat, there are two effects that you can apply to your photos and videos: filters and lenses. While they may sound like the same thing, there are some differences between them.

Snapchat lenses are the meat of the app and the feature that sets it apart from the rest. Essentially, lenses are augmented reality filters, and they’re mostly designed for your phone’s selfie camera. It’s how all the cool kids are turning themselves into cute dogs or puking rainbows.

Filters are more basic, as they mostly change the color of your image or video (like on Instagram). However, they can also add information, such as geofilters, time, or weather. Our list of the best Snapchat filters and lenses will help you find some new favorites.

How to Use Snapchat Filters

For the filters, all you need to do is snap a photo (front or rear cameras) and then swipe left and right to go through the different filters. The filters vary depending on whether you just took a still image or recorded a video.

The further right you swipe, the more unique filters you’ll see. These include geofilters, which are overlays featuring famous locations and cities, or special ones for holidays and events, such as sports games or music festivals.

When you’re out enjoying life, make sure to launch Snapchat, as you never know what geofilters you’ll find. If you’re feeling creative, you can even learn how to make your own Snapchat filter.

How to Use Lenses

If you’re new to Snapchat, you might not know where to look to find lenses. In the camera view, enable the selfie camera (front-facing) and then press the small smiley face icon to the right of the capture button. You can then scroll through the available lenses. The lenses on the left side are interactive games called Snappables, while the right side features the collection of standard lenses.

As you look through the lenses, you’ll see a preview of each one in action. There are special effects on each lens that occurs when you follow the directions on the screen. Some lenses work with the rear-facing camera too, and others are best used with a friend.

Always in Rotation

The fun with Snapchat lies in the always-changing line-up of available filters and lenses for users to choose from. While this means more variety from time-to-time, it also means not all of them are going to be around forever. If you want to use a lens, you’d better use it when you see it.

And of course, there are some limited edition lenses and filters that are only available briefly. These are mostly to promote that hot television show that’s airing, a product with a sponsor, or even certain theme parks.

How to Find and Use Snapcodes

Snapchat has special filters and lenses locked away behind Snapcodes. What are Snapcodes? They’re similar to QR codes, and you can find them on limited edition products, in tweets, or even through basic hyperlinks.

They are slightly different than normal QR codes, though, and you’ll be able to tell the difference right away. Snapcodes feature the Snapchat logo icon, with a dotted pattern surrounding the ghost mascot. Each Snapcode is unique and only lasts for a certain amount of time.

Scan the Snapcode

Unlock Snapchat Lenses Snapchat Community

If you find a Snapcode that’s a hyperlink, all you have to do is tap on the link to launch Snapchat and unlock the lens. But if you’re working with a Snapcode image, there’s slightly more work involved.

Launch Snapchat and then switch to the rear-view camera. Get the Snapcode into the viewfinder and have it focus so the image is clear. Then just do a long-press on the Snapcode on the screen until your phone vibrates when it’s recognized.

The Snapcode can be used for a variety of things, like making it easier to follow users, but we’re only discussing the ones to unlock lenses.

Unlock Your New Lens

After you scan the Snapcode or tap the link, you’ll see the name of the filter in a popup. Just tap on the Unlock button to add it to your Lens repertoire.

As mentioned earlier, each code is unique and you can only use it for a limited time. The duration that each Snapcode is available is different, but Snapchat tells you how long you can use it for once it’s unlocked.

On top of that, Snapcodes may not be available forever, as some of them are used to promote something. Even if you find some codes from previous promos, they may have expired already.

Experiment With New Lenses and Have Fun

Once you’ve unlocked a hidden lens, be sure to give it a spin!

To use your new Snapchat lenses, go back to the camera and enable selfie view using the front-facing camera. Then tap the smiley face button to access the available selfie filters and lenses. Any secret ones you’ve just unlocked show up first, so they’re the quickest to access. To use it, just tap the one you want and then follow the directions on the screen. It’s that easy!

Where to Find Hidden Lenses and Filters

We mentioned earlier that secret Snapchat filters and lenses are usually available for a limited time to promote a new product, popular TV show, or even a location. Because of this, the availability of secret filters varies. Here are some tips that can help you find more lenses and filters that you can temporarily add to your library.

Snapchat Lens Studio

Snapchat Lens Studio Lenses

On the Snapchat Lens Studio, you can find tons of lenses made by creative Snapchat users. When you arrive on the page, you’ll see a carousel of fun lenses handpicked by Snapchat itself. Simply scroll down the page to find a huge list of trending lenses. You can scan any of these Snapcodes to upload them to your app.

The Creators page features a list of official Snapchat lens creators. Here, you can browse through each lens creators’ profile, and experiment with the unique lenses they’ve made.

Find Lenses From the Snapchat App

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of scanning Snapcodes from Snapchat’s site, you can find even more lenses right from the Snapchat app.

As you scroll through the carousel of lenses, swipe up on the screen. This brings up a page full of popular Snapchat filters that don’t come with the app by default. Select any filters that look fun to use, and you can start using them instantly.

Keep an Eye Out for Promotions

Occasionally, a brand, TV show, movie, or even theme park might release a lens that you can only use for a limited time. In the past, HBO released a special filter to celebrate Game of Thrones season premiere. Even Wendy’s joined in on the Snapchat fun by putting a Snapcode on customers’ cups—every time the code got scanned, Wendy’s donated $5 to a foster care charity.

We can’t predict when these lenses will get released, so it’s best to just keep an eye out for any news on social media. When you see your friends snapping you with a lens you’ve never seen before, you’ll know that a new hidden Snapcode has been released.

Unlock Snapchat Filters and Start Snapping

Now that you know all about how Snapchat’s filters and lenses work, as well as the best ways to find them, it’s time to have some fun. Send some snaps using the new lenses you’ve discovered, and you’ll definitely surprise your friends.

To become even more Snapchat-savvy, check out the Snapchat features all users need to learn.

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