Snapchat is a camera app — and unless the required permissions are granted — users might be presented with an unwanted error message. Snapchat needs access to the camera on a device to perform multiple popular options, including taking Snaps, enabling video chats, and allowing the option to add a friend by using a Snapcode. Generally, fixing the issue is as straightforward as granting the right permission.
App permissions have become a major talking point in recent times, as Google and Apple ensure that Android and iOS users have greater control over what data an app has access to and how the data is used. A prime example of this was seen through the launch of Apple’s iOS Privacy Labels in December 2020 — requiring app developers to make clear how data is accessed before properly downloading and installing an app. While it is good to manage these permissions, disabling some can result in limiting an app’s intended functionality.
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Snapchat shows users a “Snapchat is a camera” error message when the app doesn’t have permission to use the camera on a device. Therefore, to remove the message and gain full functionality to the app, the user needs to grant camera permissions. The easiest way to do this is to simply tap on the ‘Open Settings’ (or ‘Turn On’) button that’s presented with the message and then make sure the camera permissions are enabled. If the message doesn’t appear at the time, the same permissions can be enabled through the device’s settings, both on Android and iOS.
At any time, a Snapchat user can check which permissions the app wants access to, as well as what they are used for, through the settings section of the app. On an iOS device, open Snapchat, tap on the profile icon in the top left corner of the screen, and then on the Settings (cog) icon. From there, scroll down to the ‘Additional Services‘ section and tap on ‘Manage.’ Following this, a quick tap on the ‘Permissions‘ tab will open the full list of permissions Snapchat wants. Accessing this section on an Android device is largely the same, albeit the Permissions tab is located in a different section. Simply tap on the profile icon in the top left corner, followed by the Settings icon, and then the ‘Permissions’ tab can be found under the ‘Privacy’ section.
To enable permission to use the camera on an iOS device, open the Settings app on the device. Then tap on ‘Privacy‘ and tap ‘Camera‘ from the list of available permissions. Find Snapchat in the app list and enable it, if currently disabled. For Android, providing it is a recent version of the operating system, the user can long-press on the Snapchat app icon, tap on the information (i) icon, and then tap ‘Permissions.’ Alternatively, users can access the general Settings menu, tap on ‘Privacy,’ and then tap ‘Permissions‘ or ‘Permissions Manager.’ Similar to iOS, it is then just a matter of tapping on ‘Camera‘ and then on Snapchat, before setting the appropriate level of access.
Regardless of using Snapchat on an Android or iOS device, once the permissions for the camera have been granted, users should find the “Snapchat is a camera app” error message is removed, allowing full access to the camera features available within the app. The Snapchat app may need to be closed and re-opened for the changes to take effect, but once the appropriate permissions are enabled, it should be smooth sailing.
Giving Snapchat access to the camera can solve this particular error, but for the app to function smoothly, it needs access to several other permissions as well. On an iPhone, Snapchat needs access to a microphone to record audio for Stories or video chats, Photos to save Snaps to a Camera Roll or send photos and videos in Chat, and the Clipboard to attach links. Apart from this, Snapchat might also need access to Notifications and Contacts. Finally, Location access is required for features like Geofilters and Snap Map, but users have the option to turn off Precise Location to maintain privacy.
On Android, the list of permissions is much higher. Apart from the permissions mentioned above, Snapchat needs access to receive text messages to autofill SMS verification codes. It also requires access to read contents of the phone’s storage, and modify and delete files in order to save Snaps and Stories or automatically load app settings. In addition, it needs almost complete access to network permissions to send and receive Snaps, and some battery permissions to use the flash, control vibration, or prevent the phone from sleeping. Users can choose to disable specific permissions, but doing so might result in some features being unavailable on Snapchat.