How to Build Apps like Snapchat – A Comprehensive Guide

How to Build Apps like Snapchat – A Comprehensive Guide

“Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, offered $3 Billion to buy Snapchat within 2 years of its Founding”

Snapchat needs no introduction in the market today and is a pretty popular social media networking app among young crowd globally. Since its founding in 2011, Snapchat has grown to become one of the most widely used social media platforms. With its straightforward features, the app facilitates easy communication with loved ones. Due to its huge popularity, many competitors have been enticed to develop apps like Snapchat and have made a name in the market.

In this article, we will list such 10 top apps like Snapchat along with other crucial topics. It includes what is Snapchat, some important stats, how Snapchat makes money, main features of Snapchat, and how to make Snapchat alternatives. We will also be covering the cost to develop apps like Snapchat.

What is Snapchat? – The Popular Social Media App

Snapchat is a popular social networking app founded by Bobby Murphy, Evan Spiegel, and Reggie Brown in 2011 that allows users to share stickers, text, movies, and images. In the USA, Snapchat has more than 107 million users and has grown extremely popular with young people globally.

With 10 billion daily video views, Snapchat rose to the top of the social media application charts worldwide in 2015. Because of Snapchat’s distinctive lenses, filters, and video-sharing features, a lot of companies are interested in investing in building apps like Snapchat to have a stand in the market.

Social Media App Snapchat – Market Stats & Facts

  • Snapchat made over $4.6 billion in revenue as of 2023 with a staggering user base of 414 million daily active users
  • India is the largest market for Snapchat with over 182 million users, followed by the USA and Pakistan with 108 million and 26 million users
  • Snapchat is the fifth most widely used social networking app globally
  • Over 7 million Snapchat users use its premium service, namely ‘Snapchat+’
  • As of February 2024, Snapchat is valued over $18.7 billion while it was valued over $90.9 billion in 2021

number of snapchat users

Essential Features for Apps like Snapchat

essential features of snapchat

Snaps – Destructive Images

When creating a photo video app that mimics Snapchat, you should keep in mind that this is the most crucial feature for users of the app. People enjoy taking photos and sharing them on social networking sites. Self-destructive behavior is a fundamental aspect of Snapchat. Messages cannot be saved or shared by anyone.


Share your most recent photo in a narrative style that lasts almost a full day. It has been adopted by Facebook as well as Instagram. One of Snapchat’s greatest characteristics is that it allows you to maintain user engagement and make connections with friends.

Including this function is essential if you want your app to become as popular as Snapchat or Instagram.


An effective fusion of artificial intelligence and machine learning will increase user engagement with your application. Face filters that let you alter your face’s look over time facilitate audience interaction. In addition, Snapchat offers a variety of lens options, including face, world, AR bar, scan, and connected lenses. Each of these lenses has a distinct function.

You ought to release a comparable app to your photo-sharing one. You can see both the younger and older versions of yourself. You cannot remove the lenses function from your Snapchat clone, which is a terrific feature.


In addition to face recognition and imaging technology, which are essential components of Snapchat, the app is well-known for its standard filters, which include the black/white and star-shaped filters. To improve usage and audience engagement, you can add these kinds of filters to your app. To ensure that you are ready for your app, make sure you review the many types of filters that are available as well as the colors that most people find appealing.

Geo Location

When you are in a location, the app ought should activate the appropriate filters for that area automatically. For example, the filter would work perfectly with an image and a well-known monument in the background.

In a similar vein, let users of your app add the road to the background of their photo. The Snapchat clone applications are full of these kinds of effects.

Voice /Video Calls

Using Snapchat to make audio or video calls to friends can keep users linked all across the world. One of Snapchat’s main features that encourage user interaction is this. Without having to worry about spending money, users may communicate with people in other time zones with ease.

Additionally, it’s simple to leave them a message to give them a call back when they’re online if they’re offline. You are unable to remove that feature from your clone application.


Snapchat has developed an app that can withstand voice, video, and chat messaging because people adore chat apps. Basically, you have additional functions in addition to the chat.

When someone is unable to speak, chat makes life more individualized by allowing them to just send a message. Users’ posted images can also spark conversations. Snapchat eases the burden of existence.

Revenue Model of Snapchat App – How Snapchat Makes Money?

how snapchat makes money

Serving the appropriate ad to the right user at the right moment is the goal of Snapchat’s ad ranking. A cutting edge deep machine learning algorithm and large scale distributed engineering systems drive a high throughput real-time ad auction.

Let’s examine how one can make money off of your own app like Snapchat. Snapchat generates revenue in a few ways –

In-App Ads

Making call-to-action buttons for your Snapchat advertising campaigns is one approach to monetize the platform. Snap Ads have a huge portfolio of formats for different kinds of products; all you have to do is select the one that is most needed.

Thousands of app users view Snap Ads throughout the day, according to Statista data. As a result, you can swiftly communicate your message to the intended audience. Conversely, there is little competition and a comparatively low conversion rate on Snap Ads.

Sponsored Geo-Filters

Geofilters are location-based stickers that are applied to pictures. There are two varieties: business and personal. The Snapchat team revealed that users could buy sponsored geofilters for snaps not long after geo-filters went live. Only two elements are taken into account by Snapchat when determining the geofilter fee: the area covered by the filter and the amount of time it is active.

For a suburban-sized home, Snapchat typically costs $5 to $20 per day for the use of a geofilter. For each custom (or “On-Demand”) geofilter you use, Snapchat will charge you if you wish to apply numerous geofilters over the same area.

Affiliate Programs

You can join an affiliate program and start promoting the products of the program once you have a large following. You can earn money from clicks and sales through commissions or percentages, so this is an additional source of income. Reviews are the best method for promoting affiliate items.

Tell your audience about any products you’ve used and like. Post thorough product reviews on your site that highlights the advantages and drawbacks of utilizing them. You will establish the most reliable rapport with your fans as a consequence.

10 Top Apps like Snapchat – Best Snapchat Alternatives

S.No App Name Downloads Rating Android / iOS Platform
1 Wicker 1K+ 3.8 | NA Android
2 Cyber Dust 500K+ 4.4 | 4.6 Android | iOS
3 SlingShot 50K 3.0 | 5.0 Android | iOS
4 ClipChat NA | 2.3 iOS
5 Imgur 10M+ 3.9 | 4.5 Android | iOS
6 Instagram 5B+ 4.2 | 4.7 Android | iOS
7 SnapSeed 100M+ 4.2 | 3.5 Android | iOS
8 Yovo 50K 3.7 | NA
9 Marco Polo 10M+ 3.9 | 4.8 Android | iOS
10 Telegram 1B+ 4.2 | 4.1 Android | iOS



Wickr Me, a San Francisco-based startup, began as a fun and distinctive instant messaging service in 2012. According to the Wickr staff, Wickr is now the most secure instant messaging service. Being safe and dependable in these days of cybercrimes is indeed an admirable profession. Regarding security, every American auditor and every international reviewer has granted Wickr perfect scores.

With Wickr, which is called “Wicker,” you can exchange “end-to-end encrypted” messages in the form of text messages, images, videos, files, and more on iOS and Android smartphones. As everyone is aware, Wickr functions similarly to Snapchat in that messages sent there also self-destruct and vanish after a short while.

Cyber Dust

cyber dust

Cyberdust is a feature-rich instant messaging app that is quite helpful. Cyberdust belongs to the group of applications that are alternatives to Snapchat because it has the basic characteristic of sending self-destructive messages, but it also has some incredible capabilities hidden away. You can transmit GIFs, stickers, animations, and URLs that expire in a few minutes in addition to photos. You can also add subtitles to photographs to customise them further. In order to help you recall the talks, Cyberdust also lets you pin sent messages.

Regarding security, Cyberdust is likewise quite dependable. To prevent unwanted usage, it only transmits encrypted photos. In addition, it alerts you in the event that the recipient attempts to take a screenshot of your message, blocking your material from ever reaching their hard drive.



Another instant messaging app that can be considered a suitable substitute for Snapchat is Slingshot. You are able to send short messages with it. Slingshot is unique in that it allows you to react to your friends’ media by making original, creative images or videos.

The incredible Slingshot operates without any edges. Its user interface is straightforward and uncomplicated. By selecting the option that triggers an automated text message to be sent, you can also invite your friends to utilise it. The app has respectable security, and the auditors have not made any serious allegations that would call into question any aspect of it.



With its easy-to-use touch interface, Clipchat is another app like Snapchat that lets you send self-vanishing photographs. This app resembles Snapchat so much that it appears to be a copy of the latter.
Unlike the quirky UI of other applications, Clipchat has a very nice interface and is simpler than Snapchat. The recipient of a photo sent using Clipchat initially sees a blurry preview of the picture. He clicks on it, and an animation effect appears, clearing up any blur in the image.In Clipchat, the default setting is set to video sharing, but in Snapchat, it is photo sharing.



One of the potent iPhone and Android apps that functions similarly to Snapchat is Imgur. When it comes to amusing memes, adorable animal videos, and other engaging stuff, the app is unrivalled. Using the software, you may create little films and GIFs that you can share on Imgur or publish on other social media sites.

Though Imgur lacks Snapchat’s disappearing messages and chat feature, it does have a hilarious feed of GIFs, videos, and memes. In terms of humor and good times, it’s one of those apps that resemble Snapchat.



With the help of the well-known social media app Instagram, you can share your images and videos with the entire globe. For those looking for apps similar to Snapchat, this is a fantastic choice. Stores and live features are just two of the many services that Instagram offers that Snapchat does not.

In terms of security and privacy, Instagram outperforms Snapchat. Similar to Snapchat, it lets you remove messages after sending them. In contrast to Snapchat, Instagram allows you to see who has blocked you on the app, preventing misunderstandings and confusion.

To arrange your photos and relive your moments, you may also make albums and highlights.



The focus of SnapSeed is on editing photos and videos. There are only two versions of this app: iOS and Android. A vast array of tools that are necessary for photo editing, such as digital filters, brushes, healing, and structure, are available in Snapseed.

SnapSeed doesn’t have any sharing capabilities like Snapchat. Additionally, you are unable to communicate with your friends or send messages. However, you can alter images or movies, and then post your edited material on any social media network.



The greatest feature of Yovo is that it fixes one of Snapchat’s main flaws. The picture or media file you share on Snapchat expires after a while the recipients can always take a snapshot of it and store it in their archives. Therefore, it becomes risky if you submit any private or secret files that you want to keep completely hidden.

Yovo gets rid of this uncertainty. While it doesn’t outright forbid taking screenshots; it does send a wave of static distortion over the screen, blurring everything and rendering the snapshot meaningless. Scott Richardson is the one who devised the “D-fence” technology. Although it hasn’t been released yet, the app will soon be accessible on Android.

Marco Polo


Another underachiever in the messaging app market is this one. Marco Polo is an app you’d want the rest of your family and friends to use because it makes messaging and video calling enjoyable and simple while including social components. The fact that Marco Polo does not sell user data for commercial gain is one of its strongest features. If you value your privacy above all else, you should add this app to your list of must-try.

You can send video messages with Marco Polo that the recipient can watch at a later time. Naturally, regular video calls remain an option for in-the-moment contact. Please take note that unlike Snapchat, the video messages do not vanish after 24 hours.



Telegram is a secure and easy-to-use smartphone chat service. For iOS and Android users, it is among the greatest apps similar to Snapchat. The app markets itself as the world’s fastest texting app.

Through its unique global network of data centers, Telegram facilitates connections between individuals. Users of Telegram can create bots for simple tasks, communicate, share files, make phone and video calls, form group chats with up to 200,000 participants, and more.

It is the best app like Snapchat for Android and iOS in terms of security. Face filters and photo editing features are absent, though.

Step-by-Step Guide to Build Apps like Snapchat

guide to build apps like snapchat

Step #1: Identify Your Goals and Vision

This crucial step requires you to specify the goals and vision for your app. Choose your target audience first, then do everything you can to understand their needs and desires. You can then adapt your app to suit their requirements. Describe the essential features you want to have in your app and make a plan for them. At the outset, you lay the groundwork for a targeted and fruitful development process by outlining your goals and vision.

Step #2: Competitor Analysis

To get understanding of and insight into the messaging app market, a thorough investigation and competitive analysis are necessary. Examine the features, advantages, flaws, and user reviews of popular messaging apps like Snapchat. You can use this research to pinpoint places where your app needs to be unique and creative. By studying the market landscape, you can position your app to offer a distinctive value proposition that draws users in.

Step #3: UI/UX Design

In this step, you will convert your vision into visual representations. Create wireframes and design prototypes for the user interface, flow, and aesthetics of your app. User experience (UX) is important to make sure your program is easy to use and intuitive. Ask prospective users for input or do usability testing to make the design better. Think about aesthetically pleasing and interactive user interfaces, creative tools, customizable filters, and private chat services that respect user privacy.

Step #4: App Backend Development

Backend development is creating the framework necessary to keep your program running. This includes configuring servers, databases, and APIs to handle message delivery, data storage, and user authentication. Robust security measures need to be put in place in order to protect user data and maintain privacy. Provide essential backend features like real-time messaging, media storage and retrieval, user authentication and authorization, and a content delivery architecture. Building a solid backend foundation is key to creating a scalable and reliable application.

Step #5: App Frontend Development

You will launch your program on the iOS and Android platforms during this phase. Use frameworks and programming languages like Kotlin or Java (Android) and Swift (iOS) to develop a dynamic and adaptable user experience. Include the backend functionality and put the previously designed UI/UX pieces into practice. Important frontend elements to think about include taking pictures and videos, using creative tools like stickers, filters, and stories, and enabling video calls and real-time chat. You can make sure that users have an engaging and fantastic experience by concentrating on front-end development.

Step #6: Testing

Many companies undervalue the importance of this stage. However, it’s imperative to test an app after development. Testing will highlight the flaws and mistakes in the code that developers may address.
It is usually done by the social media app development companies. It is essential to review the app for mistakes and make sure the outcome satisfies the requirements before launching it. Testing needs to be done thoroughly in order to achieve good quality, thus focus especially on this step.

Step #7: Launch and Deployment

It’s time to get your app like Snapchat ready for release on the appropriate app stores after extensive testing. Observe the rules and specifications for submissions listed in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. To improve your app’s chances of getting approved, make sure it conforms with their requirements and policies. Install analytics software to monitor user interaction.

Cost to Build apps like Snapchat

App Development Cost = Developer Per Hour Price X Total Development Hours

The team you select will determine how much their mobile development services will cost for your app. For instance, if you choose a team from the US or Europe, the hourly rate will be between $90 and $200. In comparison, Indian mobile app development companies can create an app that is exactly what you want or even better. The hourly wage is roughly $25-$30/hour, which is much less than what it would be in the US.

In conclusion, building apps like Snapchat will cost about $20,000 – $50,000+. But ultimately, it’s up to you because you get to choose what features to include in your new platform and how close you want to make it to the Snapchat app.

Last Thought

So, this was all about how to build apps like Snapchat. Apart from this, we have also listed the best Snapchat alternatives, main features of Snapchat app, how snapchat makes money, and the cost to build apps like Snapchat. Note that building an app like Snapchat is a complex task and requires specialized technical knowledge. Therefore, it is always recommended to hire reliable & well known social media app development companies for this. These companies have in-house app development industry experts that have well versed knowledge and good experience with app development trends and can guide you in a right direction.

Top FAQs

How long does it take to build apps like Snapchat?

The time required to build an app like Snapchat depends upon the complexity of the app, project requirements, and mobile app development companies. On average, basic Snapchat alternatives are built within 3-6 months while a little complex one take 6-9 months. Note that an advanced app might take 9+ months.

What is the app development cost to build an app like Snapchat?

The average cost of building an app like Snapchat can lie anywhere between $20,000 & $50,000+ with mobile app development companies in India. The exact cost can vary and depends upon several factors such as complexity, hired developer, design, etc.

What is the tech stack used to build Snapchat app?

Snapchat uses several tools, frameworks, and programming languages but the major ones include Ruby, Python, Objective C for iOS, Cocoa Touch, Android SDK, PHP, and JavaScript. The app also uses image processing tech for mask layering.