I’m not even talking about navigating Snapchat’s awkward interface, which is convoluted regardless of whether you’re using an iOS and Android device. Rather, some of the most powerful Android handsets, like the Pixel 3, struggle to get around Snapchat, as evidenced by lagging gestures, chat conversations that refuse to open on command and seconds-long app launch times. It’s a mess.
Thankfully, there’s a fix — well, sort of. Snapchat’s alpha for Android devices is actually quite different than the stable release that’s available now. It sports a whole new interface, similar to what’s already been available to iPhone owners for months. Best of all, the Snapchat alpha runs much more smoothly and is way more reliable than the version of the app found on the Google Play Store.
Hopefully Snapchat will push the redesign out to the public soon, but until then, at least we have the alpha. As it so happens, the alpha is available to everyone. However, the lengths you have to go to download it are actually quite strange, in that cheeky but irritating way Snapchat does pretty much everything.
Here’s how to track down the Snapchat alpha and improve your experience on Android.
- Launch Snapchat.
- Open Snap Map by pinching two fingers together at the main camera screen.
- Go to Bermuda (no, seriously). Bermuda is too tiny to be visible when completely zoomed out, so you’ll have to pull in a bit to see it. It’s west of South Carolina and below Nova Scotia.
- You should see an icon of a ghost winking with its tongue out, rudely amused at your pain. Tap on this ghost.
- Next, you’ll see a prompt telling you you’ve found Alpha Island. Tap Continue to install the alpha, but be advised some aspects of the app may not be totally functional as this isn’t a stable release.
- The install will happen completely within Snapchat. When it’s completed, Snapchat will restart and you’ll be running the alpha.
You should immediately notice a much more responsive app in addition to a refreshed look and feel. The Snapchat alpha on my Pixel 3 still doesn’t perform as consistently as it should, but it’s leaps and bounds better than the stable release.
However, if you find the Snapchat alpha makes your issues worse, you can always revert back to the current version. Simply log out via the in-app settings menu and log back in.