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Snapchat Hourglass ⌛️: Is Your Streak About To End?

The Snapchat Hourglass means your snapstreak is coming to an end, quickly, send a snap before your snapstreak disappears!

Snapchat is notorious in their use of random symbols and sometimes not being very clear on exactly what they mean. Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about the timer and how much time you have left!

snapchat hourglass

Jump Ahead:

In typical fashion, Snapchat added the hourglass symbol (⌛️) with little to no information about it. Below is the extent of what the icon means from their support page: https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/a/snapstreaks

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So, the official word is that the hourglass appears next to a friend’s name if your snapstreak is about to expire. However, what has caused lots of speculation is exactly when the hourglass appears and how much time you have left.

If you see the hourglass we recommend sending a Snap to your friend in the next 10 minutes
EmojiNameMeaning
Snapchat HourglassIf you see the hourglass your snapstreak is about to end.

Rumor is that it will first appear after 20 hours of no snaps, meaning you have up to 4 hours left until your snapstreak breaks.

How Much Time Do I Have Left If I See The Snapchat Hourglass?

There are lots of complicating factors with determining exactly how much time you have left. Namely, these are the key remaining questions.

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  • Exactly when does the hourglass appear in relation to your most recent snap?
  • How long was the hourglass visible before you saw it?
  • Do snapstreaks really end after 24 hours or does Snapchat provide a bit of leniency on that time limit?

Let’s tackle these questions one by one, but first, what exactly is a Snapstreak and what dictates when it begins and ends?

Credit: kegfire / stock.adobe.com

What Is A Snapstreak?

According to Snapchat, a snapstreak is when you and your friend have snapped each other continuously. It is indicated by a 🔥 emoji next to your friend’s name. After 3 consecutive days of both you and your friend sending snaps to each other you will see the 🔥 icon next to their name. That means you’re on a snapstreak!

Over time, you’ll see a number next to the 🔥 icon, for instance, 12🔥. That means your snapstreak is 12 days long!

In order to continue the snapstreak, you have to send snaps back and forth within 24-hours. Keep in mind, we’ll discuss below whether this 24 hour period is exact or whether Snapchat provides a bit of buffer before the streak ends!

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Group chats, group snaps, and personal chat messages don’t count to continue your streak. Only personal snaps continue a snapstreak.

To be honest, people are getting a bit obsessed with their snapstreak! If you feel like your streak ended even though you both sent a snap in the past 24 hours, you can always submit a support request for someone to take a look and see if this was an error.

How Long Does The Hourglass Last On Snapchat?

The Snapchat hourglass lasts roughly 4 hours or less. But how long do you have, let’s dive into that question. The hourglass only appears after you are on a snapstreak with someone else. Most likely, if you’re looking up what the hourglass means, you’ve had a snapstreak and either almost lost it or did lose your streak!

So the first step is you have to have a snapstreak with a friend, as in you’ll see the fire 🔥 icon next to their name. If you see an hourglass (⌛️) appear as well your snapstreak is ending soon.

Lots of people are likely on this page because they’re wondering “how long does the Snapchat hourglass last for?”

Based on lots of Reddit forums, some of which are here, here, here, and here, there doesn’t seem to be consensus on exactly when the hourglass initially appears. Some say exactly at 20 hours, with some saying it is 20 hours plus or minus a few hours.

My guess is that Snapchat has an automated process whereby they run a scheduled search for snaps that were last sent around 20 hours ago. They then notify that batch of users. However, this automated process may only run once every 30 minutes or so.

When the hourglass appears is a mystery with most people saying the hourglass appears about 20 hours after your latest snap.

How long was the hourglass visible before you saw it?

This is a really tough one and is different for every person. For instance, you could miss the first 3 hours and 20 minutes of the hourglass and have only 20 minutes to send a snap. Or worse yet, 3 hours and 59 minutes!

Frankly, there’s no way to know and because of this I recommend if you see the hourglass send a snap super quick to your friend.

There are some people that say they timed since their last snap and it went over the 24-hour time limit. Perhaps in scenarios like this, where the user doesn’t see the hourglass until the very last minute, there is a built-in buffer period to allow for an additional, say 30 minutes to send a snap.

Do snapstreaks really end after 24 hours or does Snapchat provide a bit of leniency on that time limit?

Credit: Gstudio Group / stock.adobe.com

There are enough people saying that the 24-hour limit isn’t steadfast that I believe it. Perhaps it is a glitch that the hourglass appears before or after 20 hours since the latest snap but I think it is purposeful. Some people speculate that Snapchat wants you to send a snap roughly once per day. So if it’s 10 am on Saturday and you send another at 2 pm on Sunday that is good enough to continue your snapstreak. Keep in mind, this is all speculation so don’t get mad at us if you lose your snapstreak!

As I said above, perhaps Snapchat can recognize that you just logged in right before your snapstreak was supposed to end. In those instances, they realize you didn’t see the hourglass with enough time and they’ll extend your timer a bit.

Since both users see the hourglass as a snapstreak is ending it’s helpful because either one of you can send the snap and remind the other person to continue the streak.

Does The hourglass appear on both sides?

In short, yes, both friends will see the hourglass at the same time. The upside to this is that hopefully one of you will see it relatively quickly and from there you can tell the other person that the timer appeared and you both better get on it!

TIP: A good strategy is if you see the hourglass on your side before your friend, send them a quick snap with the timer emoji and give them the hint to send you a snap right away.

What to do if you lose your snapstreak?

So you saw the sand officially run out on your timer and now you’re freaking out because your Snapstreak is officially over! Well, there is a way to get your snapstreak back.

The words is that Snapchat will be generous and usually restore the snapstreak if it ended by accident. If, for instance, you were studying for your final exams and just lost track of the day and were too tired to send a snap, simply send support a note and they most likely will restore your snapstreak.

Here are the steps:

  1. First, head over to https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/i-need-help
  2. From there you will see a bunch of options with little tick marks next to them.
  3. Tap or click the option “My Snapstreaks disappeared”
  4. From there a dialogue box will pop up below. They give a brief explanation of how to continue your snapstreak, by sending a snap to one another every 24 hours. It’s important that chat and group chats don’t count!
  5. Now, time for you to fill out all the information they need to restore your snapstreak.
    1. Username -- you can find this on your Snapchat profile
    2. Email -- make sure this is the email you used to sign up for Snapchat!
    3. Mobile Number -- including country code (US is +1) and area code
    4. Device -- Be as specific as possible, For example, iPhone X running iOS 13.1.2
    5. Friend’s Username -- This is the person’s username that you had the snapstreak with. Snapchat limits these reports to just one snapstreak with one friend at a time.
    6. When did you start having this issue? -- Give as close to a specific date and time as you can.
    7. How long was your Snapstreak before it expired? -- Sometimes you can’t exactly remember but do your best to get an idea of what it was before it expired. Snapchat can likely look this up but may be fishing for whether you will lie and say your score was 200,000 when it was really 20,000!
    8. Did you see the ⌛️ icon? -- Be honest, did you see it and didn’t have time to send a snap or did you completely not see it. This may help the developers identify if there is a bug in the app.
    9. What information should we know? -- Here you can tell the story but I’d warn you that they don’t want to read a dissertation. Be brief and to the point, these guys probably read through hundreds of these every day!

Once you hit submit from there you will have to wait a few days or a week for the Snapchat support to get back to you and hopefully restore your snapstreak.

Ideal Snapstreak Snap Schedule

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. -- Stephen Covey

Have you heard the saying that the best offense is a good defense? Well in this case if you want to keep your snapstreak the best way to do so is to be proactive and have a good defense against the hourglass. What does this mean exactly? This means you should come up with a rock-solid schedule and make sure your Snapchat friend is also on the same schedule.

Credit: Erick Payne via Twitter

This all leaves us with what we think is a plan forward for your snaps. What we do, and it works really well is to send snaps to all of our snapstreak friends once in the morning and once in the evening. This way, if you’re super busy one morning you have until that night to send a snapback.

So send a snap Monday through Friday in the am and pm when you get up and before bed and you’ll be golden.

Other Snapchat Friends Emojis

While we’re at it, let’s cover what the other friend’s emojis mean beyond the hourglass.

Snapchat Friends Emojis
EmojiNameMeaning
💛BestiesYou are best friends with this person! This is the first emoji that you will see once you send a snap with each other consecutively for 3 days straight.
❤️BFFYou’ve been best friends with this person for 2 weeks now! This is the second stage and requires a bit more effort.
💕Super BFFsYou’ve been best friends with this person for 2 months now! This is the last and final stage, meaning your friendship has been consistent for more than 2 months now. Congrats!
😊BFsThis is someone who’s clearly a good friend but not your “best friend” on Snapchat
😎Mutual BFsOne of your BFs is one of your friend’s BF as well
😬Mutual BestiesYour best friend is also this person’s best friend
🔥SnapstreakAs you know from above this is when you’ve sent a snap back and forth for 3 consecutive days with someone.
⌛️Snapstreak is endingAs you very well know this is your notice to send that snap ASAP, your snapstreak is about to end!
🎂BirthdayIt’s your friends birthday, give them a hug and buy them a slice of pizza 🙂

This is a bit of a pie in the sky request but if anyone at Snapchat is reading this please just implement the hourglass along with a countdown timer to let us know how much time we have left.

If you see the countdown and it says you have 4 hours you can finish your bite of Chipotle. If you see the countdown and it says 2 minutes left, it’ll be a burrito filled mouth snap :).

Have any other questions about the Snapchat timer or hourglass? If so, leave them below in the feedback because we love to hear from you. Were you able to save your snapstreak? Let’s hope so!

Trevor Nace

Trevor Nace is the founder of How-To Apps. He has a PhD from Duke University and has been in the tech space and writing about tech for a number of years. He previously started and ran an app website and his articles on apps have been read millions of times around the globe. You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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