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Snap's new dual camera feature is a lot cooler than you think

Snapchat Dual Camera mode
(Image credit: Snap, Inc.)

What you need to know

  • The new Dual Camera mode lets users use their front and rear cameras at the same time anywhere in the Snapchat app.
  • Users can switch between vertically or horizontally split layouts, picture-in-picture, or even use a cutout of themselves on top of the feed from the rear camera.
  • Dual Camera launches on iOS today and on Android phones over the next few months.

Snapchat users, it's time to get excited about a brand new camera mode the company is launching soon! The new dual camera mode will let you simultaneously use both the front and back cameras on your phone to give your friends a better idea of what's going on where you're at, no matter what you're doing. It works everywhere in Snapchat, too, from chats to camera, and even in the Creator Director Mode.

Both front and rear cameras can be shown in two simple split modes — either vertically or horizontally split on your screen — or you can opt overlay your face on top of that rear camera footage with the picture-in-picture or cutout layouts. Cutout uses Snap's more advanced AR back end and will make a proper cutout of you and overlay it on the bottom of the video.

Dual camera mode can be used in conjunction with any of Snap's unique AR lenses, which can add a new layer of fun to your normal Snapchat experience. During a preview session with Snap, the developers showed me a few concepts for AR on dual camera, which included being able to put your face on any object — in this case, the couch in the living room had eyes and a mouth from the person using Snapchat's new dual camera feature.

Snapchat Dual Camera mode

(Image credit: Snap, Inc.)

Dual camera mode can be accessed from the vertical row of camera modes on any supported phone. Despite the fact that Snap is more popular on Android (opens in new tab) than iOS, that just means iOS devices, but the feature will be coming soon to the best Android phones (opens in new tab). The developers cited the fact that lots of Android phones need to be tested before launching a major feature like this, while Apple's devices tend to all be able to run the same things.

Previously, Snap launched night sight on Snapchat (opens in new tab), which gives users a way to take better photos and videos in low-light situations. Snapchat's image quality has been substantially boosted over the years as Google and other manufacturers like Samsung build their hardware and software to better support Snap's software, specifically. We'll keep you up to date when the feature officially launches on Android, but you can check out a sneak peek in the video below.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu