How to create an app like Snapchat: a step-by-step guide

How to create an app like Snapchat: a step-by-step guide

31 December 2021 • 17 min read

Even though new messaging applications and social media keep emerging, good old Snapchat is still very popular. As of Q4 2020, there were 265 million daily active Snapchat users worldwide, with 300+ million downloads Snapchat was the seventh most popular app in 2020. The Snapchat application is in second place worldwide based on overall mobile usage, and 59 percent of all US Internet users aged 13 to 24 use Snapchat. Almost 4 in 10 Snapchatters claim they discover brands thanks to Snapchat celebrity endorsements and online posts which makes the app highly profitable.

It’s high time to launch an app similar to Snapchat. So let's learn more about its benefits, features, technologies behind Snapchat and costs of the development based on more than seven years of Softermii’s experience in developing different types of apps of various complexity and for multiple industries. Read on.

Is it a good idea to build an app like Snapchat?

According to Statista, 83.3% of internet users in the US accessed digital video content, and in 2020, 96% of consumers increased their online video consumption. 9 out of 10 viewers said that they wanted to see more videos from brands and businesses, and, as of 2022, an average person is predicted to spend 100 minutes per day watching online videos.

Number of internet users in the US accessed digital video content

And Snapchat is the mobile app particularly for mobile messaging letting users share their pictures, videos, and stories with an added caption, filters or drawings to them. According to a recent survey, the average daily active user on Snapchat opens the app’s camera more than 20 times per day creating over 210 million snaps every day.

Stats prove that it’s a great idea to develop an app like Snapchat. However, the Snapchat idea originates from 2011, and even with regular updates it may be a little bit outdated. So, if you want to create an app like Snapchat, it’s better to take the original as a starting point and do some market research to find your own USP.

Features to Add to Snapchat like App

If you’ve decided to make an app like Snapchat, the first thing to consider is what features you’d like your app to have. Let’s check all the features provided by Snapchat.


Snaps feature in Snapchat-like app

It’s the main Snapchat feature providing the ability to take and send photos and videos. Snapchat offers a wide variety of filters, lenses, text captions, and drawings for photo/video editing. The main peculiarity of snaps is that they are self-destroyed within a few seconds.

Media editing and Lenses

Media editing and lenses features in snapchat like app

As of 2020, Snapchat users created more than a million lenses for photo and video editing. It’s the most popular Snapchat feature which is often a funny animation or AR effect that users can overlay on the top of their pics. Also, there are lots of filters, drawing tools and text captions allowing users to change the original snap in all possible ways.


Messaging feature in Snapchat-like app

Snapchat isn’t only a photo/video sharing app, it’s also a quite popular messaging app allowing users to chat one-on-one or create groups. Additionally, Snapchat couldn’t ignore the popularity of stickers, so they add new ones with every update.

Geofilters & Location Tracking

Geofilters and location tracking features in snapchat like app

If the user allows Snapchat to track the location, then in some places it’s possible to use geofilters. They’re basically the same as original ones, however some may have peculiarities of the place.

Video and Audio Calls

Video and audio calls feature in Snapchat-like app

After becoming available, video and audio calls have become extremely popular within the Snapchat community. The distinctive feature of Snapchat’s audio and video calls is that users can send pictures at the same time as being on call. They can also make notes which are short video and audio clips.


Stories feature in Snapchat-like app

Similarly to the same Instagram feature, a story is a snap that broadcasted to all followers for 24 hours. After that it self-destructs. Users can see one story multiple times, jump from one to another in a row, or choose particular friends and check out only their stories. Also, there’s a possibility to see who has viewed the story. Since implementation, this feature has become increasingly popular, so, if you’re considering starting your Snapchat-like app development, don’t forget to add it to the features list.

Search for Friends

Search for friends feature in Snapchat like app

Snapchat has analyzed the way users add friends and follow others, and has come up with a Snapcode feature. It’s a personalized QR that users scan with their camera and immediately start to follow other users.


Discover feature in Snapchat-like app

This feature helps to find news on specific topics or from particular influencers. It provides recent news from editorial teams of big companies such as Mashable, CNN, Glamour, etc.

How to Develop an App Like Snapchat: Step-By-Step process

If you want to build an app like Snapchat from scratch, it’s better to follow the next steps of a development process:

Discovery phase

This stage is conducted to make a thorough analysis of your business concept to understand the requirements that your product would need. During this stage you should choose the team for a development, define essential and optional features, convey market research, and build a prototype. After completing this discovery phase, you will have a greater understanding of your core objectives, audience, scope, and challenges.


After you’ve gathered all the needed data and equipped your team with the necessary information, it’s time to start the design process. In the era of social media, it’s extremely important that your app is seamlessly functional and user-friendly. That’s when you’ll need a skilled design team. However, at this stage it’s often hard to understand if all the chosen approaches are applicable, that’s why be ready that some changes may come before the release.


When the design is ready, it’s time for a development team to roll up their sleeves as they’ll have to integrate all the necessary features to your app. We strongly advise that you choose scalable technologies because most likely new functionality will be added down the road, and it’s better to prevent scaling issues.

You would also want to choose reliable and ready-to-use technology that can manage high loads of data and users, as social media necessitates massive databases and often has thousands of users online at the same time.


Even though you might think that the app is working seamlessly, be sure not to skip the testing stage. Even the best product idea will fail from the myriad of tiny mistakes and irritating bugs. Fix errors, collect as much feedback as possible and you’re ready to go!

Slava Ivanov

Slava Ivanov

Global IT partnerships and Strategic development

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Snapchat like App Tech Stack

Snapchat technology stack is very variable. Developers behind the app use a wide range of languages such as Bootstrap and Javascript for front-end development, Python for Snapchat backend architecture, as well as Objective-C (iOS), Cocoa Touch and PHP.

Amazon Web services (Route 53, CloudFront) are used for hosting, and Google Compute Engine is used to enhance the automatic scalability according to a number of users and manage the overall data storage temporarily.

NoSQL (Not Only SQL) is used as a major database in order to handle a large volume of structured data in a flexible way and superior performance that leads to building the Snapchat app.

One of other technologies used by Snapchat is from an area of Computer Vision. It's called image processing. It processes an image, and with the help of algorithms, adds layers with so-called masks.

Cost to Develop An App Like Snapchat

Execute Discovery

Once you've gathered a team for your software development project, you should plan it in detail. This stage means searching for the product-market fit with the definition of unique selling points, finding your target audience, and conducting the competitors' analysis.

Also, calculate the estimated cost to create an app like Snapchat and think of future app monetization too. We, at Softermii, always check with clients the set of desired features and the necessary steps to develop them. After reaching an agreement, we present the cost of the service requested.

Project scope Role Timeline Projected cost
  • Solution description
  • User Roles definition
  • App platform(s) definition
  • BRD - MVP specification
  • Accelerators definition
  • Roadmap creation



From 2 weeks

From 4000$

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The visual attractiveness and effective functionality significantly contribute to building brand awareness. At this stage, your strategic task is to create a great product users will love.

If you want to produce a nice-looking mobile app like Snapchat, keep in touch with your development team and elaborate your creative ideas together as wireframes, mockups, and prototypes.

Project scope Role Timeline Projected cost
  • Competitors Analysis
  • Navigation concept
  • Site Map
  • Wireframes in Figma
  • Concept design of key pages
  • Dynamic Protopype in Figma



From 3 weeks

From 6000$

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Depending on its main purpose, you'll decide what technologies to use to implement your features. We together figure out what database to use and also what program languages and CRM. It's also critical to find out the best solution for your app realization to meet your timeline and budget, like using APIs integrations, SDKs, or building features from scratch as well.

Project scope Role Timeline Projected cost
  • Logical Architecture
  • Infrastructure Architecture
  • Tech Stack definition
  • Tech Risk and mitigation Strategy
  • Development plan creation based on BRD specification
  • Development of Mobile App
  • Development of WEB interface
  • Source Code (Unit & Component Tests)
  • RC Build
  • Tech Documentation






From 2 months

Starting from $38 000

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QA team involvement is part of a full-scale development process, which requires full-spectrum checkup and responsibility for calling a product ready for deployment. The key to success here is finding a responsive team with outstanding attention to detail and the ability to check common and non-obvious customer experience scenarios.

Project scope Role Timeline Projected cost
  • Requirements testing
  • Test Planning
  • Test Documentation preparation
  • Testing execution
  • User testing support
  • Quality Report
  • Support of feedback gathering and processing



From 3 weeks

From 4800$

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Softermii Experience

It isn't simple to make an app like snapchat for Android and iOS. As you must hire a team with years of experience in app development who’ll meet your expectations. At Softermii, our skilled developmental team can ensure that your concept will become a reality and that you will receive a high-performing solution.

You can be sure that we're ready to create a seamlessly working social media app as our team built Parta – an innovative audio and video-conferencing application. It unites all the best conversational apps' benchmarks and brings them to a new level.

Social network with outstanding video capabilities

The app combines social networking with high quality video calls and streaming

Read more

Social network with outstanding video capabilities

The team behind the project faced numerous challenges. We had to conduct market and business analysis to find out how the final product should fit the market. Creating a social network app has to require modern standards to be competitive, viral, and meaningful.

Ready to Make a Snapchat-like App?

Softermii developers know how to create an app for any industry and of any complexity, and we'll be glad to deliver this service for you! We provide expert management, quality assurance, and product support, so you receive a final product that you are completely satisfied with.

Contact our experts if you need more information or want to create an app like Snapchat from scratch and succeed on the market. We will work with you on every step of the app development process, starting with the foundation of your idea.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process of Snapchat-like app development?

When it comes to Snapchat clone app development, you must decide what you will develop: MVP or full version of an app. A product development process stands for the multiple stages that a software development team takes to bring the idea of a product into reality by undergoing software product development steps.

Thus, we rely on the software development life cycle (SDLC). The procedure implies building high-quality software within the shortest possible period, in line with the 7 phases of the software development life cycle.

The development life cycle of the process to create an app like Snapchat involves:

  • the assessment of the user's needs,
  • research on customer behavior and marketplace competition,
  • creation and visualization of the roadmap,
  • concept design,
  • code development,
  • creation of a minimum viable product.
  • testing
  • creation of a full version of an app

With a seamless and well-designed SDLC process, we don't miss a thing and find the balance and the best possible solutions between different actions while developing software.

How long does it take to create an app like Snapchat?

Similar to the costs, the length of time entirely depends on various factors. On average, however, apps with a low level of complexity will take approximately three months. For a medium and high level of complexity with more features, it can take four to six months to build an app like Snapchat.

What is the Snapchat technology stack?

Developers behind the app use a wide range of languages such as Bootstrap and Javascript for front-end development, Python for Snapchat backend architecture, as well as Objective-C (iOS), Cocoa Touch and PHP.

Amazon Web services (Route 53, CloudFront) are used for hosting, and Google Compute Engine is used to enhance the automatic scalability according to a number of users and manage the overall data storage temporarily.

NoSQL (Not Only SQL) is used as a major database in order to handle a large volume of structured data in a flexible way and superior performance that leads to building the Snapchat app.

How do you ensure your Snapchat-like app is secure?

The first thing we do to provide the highest security to software solutions integrates security into the entire software development life cycle (SDLC). It enables, rather than inhibits, the delivery of high-quality, highly secure products. Also, we make sure that all the products we develop comply with all the necessary data security rules. We perform penetration testing to avoid critical errors and potential security breaches.

How much does it cost to build an app like Snapchat from scratch?

Costs can depend on many variations: product complexity, features, size, design, and time frame. The number of members in a development team can also increase or decrease the price. Assuming that your app is not overly complex and overflowing with features, it is expected that it will cost from $40,000 to $85,000. 

Do you want to know precisely how much it costs to develop a voice chat app like Snapchat? Contact our Softermii team to get to know the precise cost to develop an app like Clubhouse, and we will help you.

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