What Does the Hourglass Mean on Snapchat?

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The hourglass emoji on Snapchat indicates your Snapstreak with a friend is about to expire. This icon appears when you and your friend have gone 24 hours without sending each other snaps. But what exactly does this emoji mean, and what should you do when you see it?

As an avid Snapchat user myself, I‘ll explain everything you need to know about the Snapchat hourglass, from what it looks like to how long it lasts. I‘ll also provide some tips to maintain your Snapstreaks based on my years of experience using Snapchat daily.

By the end of this guide, you‘ll be a Snapchat hourglass expert! Let‘s dive in.

What is a Snapstreak?

Before we get into the hourglass, it helps to understand what a Snapstreak is.

A Snapstreak refers to the number of consecutive days you and a friend have snapped each other on Snapchat. You can identify friends you have active Snapstreaks with by the 🔥 emoji next to their name.

Snapchat added Snapstreaks as a way to encourage friends to keep snapping daily. The longer your Snapstreak, the stronger your friendship on Snapchat is.

Some friends even compete to see who can get the highest Snapstreak count. I know my friends and I are always trying to outdo each other!

Snapstreaks also boost your Snapchat score since you earn one point for sending and receiving snaps. Score keeping is a fun aspect of Snapchat for many users.

When Does the Hourglass Emoji Appear?

So how does the hourglass relate to Snapstreaks? The hourglass 🤐 emoji appears when you and a friend have gone 20 hours without sending snaps.

Once you see the hourglass, it starts a 4 hour countdown timer. If neither you nor your friend sends a snap within 24 hours, your Snapstreak will end.

Here is the timeline:

  • At 20 hours of snap inactivity between you and your friend, the hourglass appears
  • This triggers a 4 hour countdown before your streak expires
  • Within the 4 hours, either you or your friend must send a snap
  • If 24 total hours pass with no snaps sent, your Snapstreak is lost

The hourglass gives you a heads up your streak is in danger, as well as a small window to save it.

Why Does the Hourglass Appear?

Snapchat added the hourglass as a way to prevent friends from losing long Snapstreaks by accident.

Without the hourglass warning, it‘s easy to forget to snap someone for a day. Life gets busy, and before you know it, you‘ve gone 24 hours without chatting with a friend.

The hourglass gives you some wiggle room in case you or your friend aren‘t able to snap during your normal routine. You get a reminder to keep the streak alive before you lose all your hard work.

I can‘t count how many times the hourglass has saved my high Snapstreaks with friends! It‘s saved many of my 200+ day streaks from ending.

What Does the Hourglass Look Like?

When your streak is danger, the hourglass emoji will appear directly to the right of your friend‘s name. It shows up beside the 🔥 streak emoji.

Here‘s a quick visual so you know exactly what to look for:

Hourglass emoji next to friend's name

Once this icon pops up, it means you have limited time to send a snap and save the streak. Definitely send your friend something as soon as you see it!

How Long Does the Hourglass Last?

The hourglass only sticks around for 4 hours before your streak expires. You have 4 hours to either send or receive a snap from your friend.

Here‘s a review of the Snapstreak timer:

  • At 20 hours of inactivity, the hourglass appears
  • The hourglass lasts for 4 hours
  • You must snap your friend within the 4 hours
  • If 24 hours pass with no snaps, your streak is done

So in total, the hourglass itself only lasts for 4 hours. It‘s essentially a deadline giving you a tight window to keep your streak going.

Does the Hourglass Show for Both Friends?

When a Snapstreak is in danger, the hourglass will display on both sides. If you see it on your end, your friend will see it on their end too.

The hourglass serves as a reminder to both people to send a snap within 4 hours to maintain their streak. It synchronizes across friends so you both know your streak is expiring.

Sometimes my friends and I will text each other if we notice the hourglass so we know to focus on snapping to keep our streak alive.

How to Get Rid of the Hourglass

Getting rid of the hourglass is simple: just send or receive a snap from your friend!

As long as either you or your friend sends a snap within the 4 hour deadline, your streak will remain intact and the hourglass will disappear.

Even if you want your streak to end, I recommend snapping one last time to give your friend a heads up. Some of my friends get bummed when a high streak ends without warning.

But if you and your friend are fine letting the streak expire, simply ignore the hourglass and it will time out after 4 hours.

What Happens When You Lose a Streak?

If neither you nor your friend send a snap within the 4 hour window, your Snapstreak will permanently reset to 0 days. The 🔥 emoji will vanish from your friend‘s name.

Unfortunately, there is no way to recover a lost Snapstreak within the app itself. The only way to start a new streak is to snap that friend for multiple consecutive days.

I‘d advise snapping friends who you have active streaks with at least once every 24 hours. I make my streaks part of my daily Snapchat routine so I never even see the hourglass!

Tips for Maintaining Streaks

Here are some of my top tips for keeping Snapstreaks alive, from someone who has multiple 100+ day streaks:

  • Snap streak friends consistently – Try to snap at the same times, like during your morning or evening routine. Consistency helps build a habit.

  • Communicate with streak friends – Check in if you haven‘t heard from them in awhile. Ask them to snap you if you can‘t access your phone.

  • Utilize Snap Map – View Snap Map to see if streak friends are traveling or away from their phones.

  • Remember the timer – Without snaps, the hourglass comes at 20 hours. So snap daily within a 24 hour timeframe.

  • Send snaps at night – I find sending late snaps allows me and friends 24 hours to respond. There‘s some leeway.

  • Remind friends about your streaks – If I‘m going on a trip, I remind my top streak friends to snap me so we don‘t lose our streaks.

  • Don‘t stress too much – Streaks are meant to be fun! Don‘t worry if one ends – just start a new one.

Recovering Expired Snapstreaks

Unfortunately, Snapchat does not provide an official way to recover ended Snapstreaks within the app. Once your streak hits 0, there is no going back.

However, some users have reported success getting an expired streak restored through Snapchat‘s support contact form. But Snapchat seems to only do this in very rare cases.

Based on my experience, your best bet is to just start a brand new streak by sending daily snaps again. Don‘t stress too much about a streak ending – it happens! The positiveSnap memories you made are what matters most.

Why Do Snapstreaks Matter So Much?

You may be wondering – why do Snapstreaks even matter? Does anyone really care about these emoji counters?

For some users, streaks are meaningless. But from my perspective, streaks indicate close friendships and liven up the app. Here‘s why many Snapchatters value their Snapstreaks:

  • Shows your bond is strong – High streaks mean you and your friend keep in frequent contact. You‘re important parts of each other‘s lives.

  • Motivates engagement – Streaks give you incentive to use Snapchat every day and interact with friends.

  • Creates a habit – Maintaining streaks gets you into a routine of daily Snapchat use.

  • Friendly competition – Some friends enjoy seeing who can get the longest streak. It‘s a fun game.

  • Sense of accomplishment – Getting a 100+ day Snapstreak takes commitment. It‘s an accomplishment!

  • Boosts your score – Regular snaps with streak friends increase your overall Snapchat score.

  • Tracks your connections – Streaks remind you who your frequent Snapchat contacts are.

Do streaks define your friendships? Of course not. But for avid Snapchat users, they add another fun layer to Snapchat. They ultimately bring friends closer through daily communication.

Expert Tips to Avoid the Hourglass

As a Snapchat power user, I wanted to provide some bonus pro tips to help you avoid even seeing the hourglass in the first place:

  • Make streaks part of your routine – Snap streak friends at set times, like when you wake up, eat meals, or wind down at night. Habits are key.

  • Label streak friends – Use emojis or notes like "100 day streak" to identify top streak friends easily.

  • Watch your Snap Map – Check map before assuming a friend is ignoring you. They may be on a flight or camping in the wilderness.

  • Communicate absences – If you‘ll be away from your phone for an extended period, give friends a heads up you‘ll be inactive.

  • Utilize timers – Set reminders on your phone to snap top streak friends at the same time daily.

  • Open streak snaps quickly – Opening a snap stops the streak timer, so check streak friends‘ snaps ASAP.

  • Keep your streak list short – Maintain only your closest friend streaks. Less is more manageable.

  • Don‘t stress – At the end of the day, streaks are just for fun. Don‘t let them become a source of stress.

Let‘s Review the Hourglass Meaning

To quickly recap everything we learned:

The hourglass emoji on Snapchat indicates your Snapstreak is about to expire in 4 hours. It appears when you and a friend have gone 20 hours without snapping each other.

When you see the hourglass, send your friend a snap ASAP to stop your streak from resetting to 0 days. The hourglass shows up on both sides, so your friend will be reminded too.

Hourglasses are meant to give you some wiggle room in case life gets busy. Take advantage of them to keep your cherished Snapstreaks alive and going strong!


I hope this guide gave you a better understanding of the Snapchat hourglass emoji. The hourglass serves as a helpful reminder to keep snapping your closest friends daily.

While some view streaks as meaningless, many Snapchatters enjoy the sense of accomplishment from high Snapstreaks. Streaks ultimately strengthen bonds by encouraging daily communication.

Next time you see the hourglass, don‘t panic! Just send a quick snap to save your streak. Feel free to reference this guide anytime you need a refresh on the Snapchat hourglass.

Now get out there, send some snaps, and keep those streaks alive!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.