If you’re a Snapchat user, you’ve no doubt noticed the subtle quirks and hidden tools that are uniquely Snapchat.
Chief among them: the seemingly random emoji that appear next to your friends’ names, like this:
Those emojis are anything but random. In fact, they’re Snapchat’s way of helping you keep track of your relationships. Each emoji has a different meaning, and serves as a reminder of who you snap and how often you snap them.
Snapchat calls them “friend emojis,” and they exist to symbolise things like your best friends, or your ongoing Snapstreaks. The emoji are pre-set for every user (although they are customisable, too).
But it’s not always easy to tell what the emoji mean.
So whether you’re new to Snapchat or a veteran user, here’s a guide to the meanings behind every Snapchat emoji.
Alex Heath contributed to an earlier version of this story.
The gold heart means you both are best friends.
Snapchat says a gold heart next to someone’s name means you send the most snaps to this Snapchatter, and they send the most snaps to you, too.
A red heart means you have been each other’s No. 1 best friend for at least two weeks.
Pink hearts mean you have been each other’s No. 1 best friend for at least two months.
A grimace means you share a best friend.
Your best friend is also this Snapchatter’s best friend.
A smiley face means this person is one of your best friends.
This isn’t your No. 1 best friend, but this is a Snapchatter you send a lot of snaps to.
The sunglasses emoji means you share a close friend.
If you see this symbol, it means one of your best friends is also one of this Snapchatter’s best friends.
A smirking face means you’re their best friend, but they aren’t your best friend.
You’re someone they send the most snaps to, but they aren’t someone you send snaps to the most.
If you see the flame emoji, you’re on a Snapstreak.
Snapstreaks are a score from Snapchat that tracks how many consecutive days you’ve snapped back and forth with a friend.
If both you and your friend don’t both send a snap within 24 hours, you’ll lose the fire emoji – and, of course, your Snapstreak.
The hourglass emoji will appear to warn you that your Snapstreak is going to end soon.
You and your friend have to send each other a snap – not a chat – in order to keep the streak alive.
The cake should be obvious — it’s your friend’s birthday.
The birthday cake will appear next to your friend’s name on the date they entered as their birthday on Snapchat.
Bonus: The baby emoji used to appear when you had just become Snapchat friends with someone.
Snap doesn’t include the baby emoji on its website anymore, so it’s possible Snap has eliminated that symbol altogether.
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