If you use Snapchat every day, there’s a decent chance you have at least one or two people that you snap regularly, maybe even every day. People who snap each other every day can rack up a Snapstreak; a little number with a flame next to it that tracks how long you’ve been snapping each other. Some people (see: Teens) get super-invested in that number, going to intense lengths to keep the streak alive.
Near the end of 2017, something weird started to happen. Snapchat's iPhone app kept logging me out of my account. The first few times, I promptly logged back in, but after the fourth or fifth time I didn't bother. I was already getting bored with Snapchat and I soon found that Instagram's copycat Stories feature was just as good - if not better.
How do Snapstreaks Work?
If you aren’t already acquainted, a Snapstreak is the number of consecutive days you and a friend have sent each other Snaps. By Snapchat’s rules, a streak begins after you send snaps to each other for more than three days in a row. You’ll know because the person will have a 🔥 emoji — and your streak, the number of days you’ve snapped each other, next to their name. According to MakeUseOf, if you keep a streak going for 100 days, you’ll get a 💯 emoji next to their name as well.
Since Snapchat is not personally monitoring every streak, the word “day” means literally within the next 24 hours — to help keep the streak alive, Snapchat will warn when you when a streak is about to expire by putting a ⌛ emoji next to the friend’s name.
It's easy to identify unknown numbers as the spam they probably are, but receiving a text message from what appears to be an actual person - one who isn't in your phone contacts - can turn your lunch break into an episode of Sherlock.
For the sake of the streak, it’s important to know what counts towards a Snapstreak.
First off, Snapstreaks only refer to Snaps — photos and video — not chats, so you have to send each other images or videos every day. (Fun fact: Video calls are considered as chats, not snaps, so they don’t count).
The snaps have to be sent to your one-on-one channel. Sending a snap to a group chat with your streak-partner will not count toward your personal streak.
They also have to be new Snaps: Snaps saved to “memories” don’t count. It’s unclear exactly sure why, but Snaps taken with Snap Spectacles don’t count either.
How to keep a Snapstreak going
So let’s start with the obvious: To keep a streak going, both you and your friend need to be invested enough to keep snapping each other every day.
Honestly, that sounds exhausting.
If you’re in it for the long haul, though, you will find a way. Streaks will organically come and go as your relationships with your friends change: If the streak is important, whatever the reason, you may need to put in a little work.
If you’re both on the same page about the streak — that it’s important to you and must be protected at all costs... I assume — you can remind each other about it. You can either write it on the snap, or send them a message in chat afterwards to remind them. There’s nothing like a panicked text when the hourglass pops up to keep the magic alive.
What to do if your streak disappears
Even with all the effort in the world, people have been known to lose a Snapstreak for technical reasons. If your streak disappears for no reason, you can contact Snapchat support and ask them to reactivate, and they’ll do it. The company knows (and cultivates the concept) that it’s a big deal to some people.
Case in point, if you go to Snapchat’s support site, one of the contact form options is “My Snapstreaks disappeared”.
Clicking on the option generates a drop-down form that asks for information about your account and the streak. Give Snap your info and tell them what happened. They will ask who you were snapping with, how long the streak was, and what date the streak went away, among other things. After you submit the form, Snap will investigate. If they find the streak was incorrectly deactivated, they will restore it.
If that doesn’t work, you’re just going to have to try again. You and your friend can always pretend the streak never ended. Who’s going to know?