How Accurate is Snapchat Location?

19+ Snapchat Map Bitmoji Meanings

Snapchat makes it easy to find and stay in touch with friends and family. One of the biggest features of the app is the Snapchat map. The Snap Map feature allows users to share their location with their friends and followers.

It was quite a controversial feature upon release, with questions arising regarding safety and privacy, but the feature has stuck around and is not heavily utilized by users around the world.

On the Snap Map, users are represented by their Bitmoji, an avatar likeness of the user, and placed on the map relevant to their real-life location.

If you are wondering how accurate this representation is of your or your friends’ position, then this guide will help shed some light on the true accuracy of the Snap Map, and also address any issues that might cause an inaccurate location to be displayed.

How Accurate Is Snapchat Location?

For the most part, Snap Map is quite accurate and responsive. For users with their location turned on, if they are currently using the app their location will be represented on the Snap Map in real-time. That being said, there are some instances where the Snap Map could present inaccurate location data.

Like an application that uses real-time data, Snap Map is subject to many different factors that could influence overall accuracy. It can be used as a good reference but should not be depended on to confirm someone’s location.

Can Snapchat Location Be Wrong?

Several factors can cause Snap Map to show an inaccurate location. Several of these will be discussed later on in this guide. Generally, you will find that Snap Map does accurately represent the location of your friends while they are using the app, but some discrepancies could still occur.

Snap Map locations should be used as a reference only, and not as a concrete determination of someone’s location. That being said the Snap Map feature is an amazing innovative feature addition to Snapchat’s unique twist on social media.

Is Snapchat Location Real-Time?

The location represented in the Snap Map is updated in real-time. Changes in the location are logged and updated immediately, though sometimes there can be a delay before you can see the changes on your map. This is a great feature that allows users to feel connected with family and friends all over the world.

For the real-time updates to function correctly, users must be currently active on Snapchat with their location set to visible. A stable internet connection is also required for any updates to be reflected on the map.

How Far Off Can Snapchat Location Be?

Snapchat uses your phone’s GPS to track your location and place you accurately on the map. Generally speaking, your phone’s GPS is accurate to around 25 to 125 feet.

This means that you can expect a location on the Snap Map to fall somewhere around that range. If you are in an area with a dense population, this could further add to the inaccuracy of your Snapchat location.

When working correctly, Snap Map locations are fairly accurate, at least to within a hundred feet or so. Considering that, if you can verify the location of your friend beforehand, it can be a great way to meet up with them in an unfamiliar location.

What Does Within ‘X’ ft Mean on Snapchat?

This is Snapchat’s way of notifying you of your proximity to a location or friend on the Snap Map. Using your phone’s GPS, it can be an accurate indicator to help find a place or person in an area that you are not familiar with.

Poor internet connection and network congestion can cause problems with accuracy regarding the “Within X ft” notification. Make sure that you have a stable internet connection before trying to use this feature to ensure that you get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Why Is Snapchat Showing the Wrong Location of My Friend?

You might be confused if you see a friend of yours on the Snap Map in a location that you know they are not. This type of inaccuracy can be caused by several things.

While Snap Map is pretty accurate most of the time, certain things can cause a delay in the status update as well. Some of the most common reasons for Snapchat showing the wrong location are listed below:

1. You Have Encountered a Glitch

You may encounter an inaccurate location due to a simple glitch in the Snapchat application. All software is subject to the occasional bug or glitch.

When you encounter a bug or a glitch while using the Snapchat app, it can cause the app to temporarily not function correctly. This can lead to an inaccurate representation of your friend’s location, due to not updating the information properly.

You can report glitches or bugs you encounter directly to Snapchat’s technical team. They can use this information to help make improvements in future versions of the application.

2. Snap Map Has Not Had Time to Update

Snap Map updates periodically and needs time to reflect the changes made to one of your friend’s location statuses. These updates typically happen fast, in as little as 2 to 5 minutes, but an unstable internet connection can affect the actual time taken to display any changes.

If one of your friends is showing up in an inaccurate location, it could be because not enough time has passed for Snap Map to reflect any changes. If the problem persists for longer than 10 minutes, then you can safely assume that the issue is stemming from elsewhere.

3. Your Friend Is Manipulating Their GPS

If you notice your friend in a location that you know is wrong, then they could be using some sort of GPS manipulation, like a VPN, to mask their actual location.

When accessing the internet through a VPN you are assigned a new location, overriding your actual location. This can affect the accuracy of the Snap Map, as the location it uses will represent the one assigned by the VPN.

If you suspect that this is the case, check with your friend and see if they are currently using a VPN. Using a VPN to access the web is common across the globe. People are drawn to the added layer of privacy and security.

There are other ways that a GPS location can be manipulated, so keep that in mind if you notice a friend in a strange place. It could be intentional.

4. Your Friends Phone Died at That Location

Snapchat only has access to the location of people currently using the app. This means if your friend’s phone died at a location, Snapchat will have no information to use to update the location. Your friend’s bitmoji will be visible at that location until they can log back in and update their status.

This limited access to location data has been put in place by Snapchat to ensure the safety and privacy of its users. Snap Map will only show the locations of people who are currently active on the app, with their location settings set to visible.

5. Your Friend Has Not Logged Back in Since They Left That Location

As previously mentioned, Snap Map uses real-time data to represent locations. When an active user logs out, it will store that location as the last place they have been till they log back in. Once they are active on the app again, their location will update to represent the changes.

If you see someone in an inaccurate location, try checking with them and seeing if they have logged onto Snap Chat since then. If after doing so the issue is resolved, then you can safely assume that the issue was caused by a lack of updated information.

6. Your Friend Is Actually at That Location

If none of the other common causes of inaccurate locations seem viable to your situation, then in some cases you could assume that the location is correct.

This can be an awkward conversation to have with a friend who is trying to hide their location from you, only to be outed by Snap Map.

No matter why your friend has chosen to try and hide their location from you, you can rest easy knowing that your Snap Map is working as intended. This scenario is less frequent but is still a possibility to consider when addressing any problems that you are having with Snap Map accuracy.

How To Fix Inaccurate Snapchat Location

Now that you know some of the most common reasons that cause Snapchat to display an inaccurate location on the Snap Map, you can take some steps to troubleshoot any issues that you might be experiencing.

There are a few simple things you can do to encourage your app to update with more accurate results.

1. Restart Your Snapchat App

Most times all you need to do to fix your issues with Snapchat location accuracy is restart the app. Restarting the app gives Snapchat a chance to end any erroneous functions that might have caused your Snap Map to not update correctly.

If you find that your location has not been updated correctly, restarting the application can also force an update of your location status on the map. Simply log in to Snapchat after restarting and the app will begin the process of updating your location.

2. Restart Your Phone

Snapchat uses your phone’s GPS to pinpoint your location to use on the Snap Map. If your GPS is not functioning correctly, this could lead to inaccurate results. Restarting your phone will reset your GPS settings so that they have a chance to update and read more accurately.


3. Check Your Internet Connection

Snapchat depends on a stable internet connection to function as intended. If you find that you are in an area with an unstable internet connection, or your internet is down, then you can expect some inaccurate locations on your Snap Map.

Always be sure that your internet is working correctly before trying to use the Snapchat location feature.

4. Give Snapchat More Time to Update Snap Map

Although changes on the map are usually represented instantly, there can be some lag in between when a user changes location.

It can take a few minutes for any location change to show on your Snap Map, so if you feel like you are seeing an inaccurate location let some time pass. If after a little while the problem is resolved, Snapchat most likely had just not had time to update the map.

5. Check Your Location Settings

If you find that your location is not showing at all on the map, you may have your location settings private. If you wish to check this, just navigate to the settings menu in Snapchat. In the Privacy menu, you will be able to adjust your location visibility settings as you see fit.

Keep in mind that when set to visible, your location will be seen when using Snapchat by everyone on your friend’s list. This includes close friends and online friends. While Snapchat is a great way to make new friends online, you should still be cautious when choosing who to show your location.

6. Update the Snapchat App

If you are having issues, it could be because the version of Snapchat you are using is out of date. Snapchat releases periodic updates that improve functionality and user experience on the app. The updates also serve to fix bugs and glitches that they have been made aware of.

Keeping your Snapchat application up to date is vital for an optimal experience. If you let your application fall behind on updates, you run the risk of encountering errors and bugs with your Snap Map accuracy more frequently.

7. Update Your Phone

Your Snapchat location accuracy issues could be caused by using an outdated version of your phone’s software.

Similar to updating the Snapchat app, this troubleshooting method would serve to ensure that you have all the latest bug fixes and features released for your model of phone.

Since Snapchat’s location relies heavily on your phone’s GPS, keeping it up to date and functioning properly is vital to producing accurate results. Consider setting your phone to download and apply updates automatically so you never fall behind.

8. Call Your Friend to Confirm Their Actual Location

If you believe that the Snap Map information you see is not accurate for one of your friends, you can get in contact with them to confirm the accuracy.

This is a great troubleshooting method for determining whether your Snap Map is updating and reflecting changes properly. If your friend confirms they are in that location, then you will know that the application is working as intended.

9. Contact Snapchat Support

If you are having a serious problem regarding your Snapchat location, you can contact Snapchat support to get help with your issues. Your problem will be forwarded to their technical support team who will listen to your problem and suggest a course of action to solve it.

This should be considered as a last resort after exhausting all of the troubleshooting methods previously listed here. It can be frustrating dealing with technical support over the phone but be patient. The technical support team at Snapchat can often help solve any problems that the typical user might encounter.

Final Thoughts

Using the Snapchat map to show your location and view the locations of your friends is a great way to stay in touch and be up to date on what your friends and family are doing.

It can be used to help schedule meetups, find locations in unfamiliar areas, or just see what people you know are up to.

The Snap Map was a controversial feature when it was first implemented, raising concerns about privacy and safety. Snapchat addressed these issues by giving users the option to limit their location visibility.

Should you choose to make your location visible, keep in mind that there are some instances where your location might not be accurately represented.

Most of the time any inconsistencies can resolve themselves, but in case they do not this detailed guide will help you troubleshoot most of the known issues users face when using Snapchat’s location feature.

Snapchat connects people all over the world. The Snap Map and the unique messaging format draw in more new users every day. The information in this guide can serve as an inside look at how the map works and its overall accuracy.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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