Everything you need to know about Snapchat's world lenses and how to use them!

Snapchat on iPhone
Snapchat on iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

When Snapchat first invaded everyone's iPhones, there were just a couple of swipe-able filters you could lay over videos and photos (#thegoodolddays). Now Snapchat is encouraging people to stop taking selfies and literally filter what's around them with their world lenses: a super cool new way to interact, record, and experience the boring ol', regular environment around you!

Okay so… what exactly are world lenses?

World lenses work by adding an additional visual filter (or two or three!) to your surroundings!

Depending on the one you pick, you can make it look like it's snowing, like there are stars or butterflies floating around, like a dog is about to lick your face, like you're walking around in the dark with a flashlight, and so much more.

Because Snapchat is constantly changing, it'll be exciting to see what other world filter ideas it comes up with in the future!

(Here's hoping it'll make some awesome stuff for the holidays/New Year's).

How do they work?

You know how the dog filter appears when you tap on your face? After Snapchat loads, literally tap anywhere on the screen. It might take a beat, but that familiar lineup of filter bubbles will appear, and leading the charge should be the world lenses.

How do you know they're world lenses? Well they'll either have 2 different-looking images in one bubble that are separated with a white line (think Yin and Yang), or they simply just won't look like your standard Snapchat filter. However, they may have an icon like a sparkler, flashlight or a bunch of stars, or another random object that clearly isn't a face.

Some of the filters are purely environmental, meaning that you don't really need to do anything other than move your camera around to experience them. Others are a bit more interactive: with the bunny filter, you have to tap the screen to activate the rabbit screaming. For the flashlight, you need to tap the screen to turn it on or off.

Some world lenses even react to sound: if you're at a party and the music is bumpin', the filter will change colors and patterns to the beat of the song.

There are a ton of really cool things to do with world lenses!

Do they work with selfies/the front-facing camera?

Unfortunately, no.

Some world lenses double as a selfie/world lens depending on whether you're using your rear-facing or front-facing camera, so you get one or the other.

There has been a very small number of selfie filters that have added world lens-like effects, but they haven't been appearing as often as others.

It'd be neat if there was an option available to toggle between both a selfie and a world lens... cough cough Snapchat cough.

Why should I use world lenses?

Easy – they're fun!

World lenses are a really cool way to force you to look around your environment, rather than adding filters to selfies in the corner of the party (we're all guilty of this — don't lie).

Some of the lenses are hilarious and really fun to play with with friends too, like the dog that simulates licking your face or the sparkler that you can make spell out dirty words.

The possibilities really are endless, and I'm sure as Snapchat continues to add new lenses, there will be new fun and exciting ways to play

What do you think?

Are world lenses cool? Lame? An awesome new feature? A waste of time? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Happy world lens-ing!

Cella Lao Rousseau

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau