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How to Fix “Photo mode only” on Snapchat

Are you getting a “Photo mode only” error on Snapchat?

If you are, you won’t be able to record a video with a filter.

You can only use the photo if you’re taking a photo of yourself or somebody else.

This error is common if you’re trying to use new filters like the crying filter.

Similarly, the error is common if you’re using an Android device.

An iPhone does not seem to have this issue.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to fix “Photo mode only” on Snapchat and alternatives to the crying filter.

What does “Photo mode only” mean on Snapchat?

Photo Mode Only Snapchat

Photo mode only means that you can only use the Snapchat filter to take a photo.

You won’t be able to record using the filter as it will not work.

The error message usually happens on Android devices.

It can be due to a bug/glitch on the app.

If you’re using an iPhone, you shouldn’t get the error.

In some cases, you might still get the error if you’re using an old iPhone/iOS version.

Certain filters—especially newer ones, aren’t compatible with some devices.

As a result, you might not be able to use them.

It can be frustrating because you might be trying to use a trending filter but you’re unable to.

As a result, you won’t be able to take advantage of the trend.

How to fix “Photo mode only” on Snapchat

To fix “Photo mode only” on Snapchat, you can try deleting and reinstalling the app.

Alternatively, you can use the “Unhappy” filter on TikTok or the “Sad face” filter on Instagram.

Although they are not exactly lookalikes, both of these filters look similar to the filter on Snapchat.

That said, the original crying filter was developed by Snapchat and not a user.

Both TikTok’s and Instagram’s crying filters are user-created.

Before you attempt to use their filters, you should try deleting and reinstalling Snapchat first.

By doing so, the app will be updated to the latest version and its cache will be cleared.

This can fix the “Photo mode only” error on Snapchat.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve allowed camera access for Snapchat.

If that fails to fix the error, below are a couple of crying filter alternatives.

Alternative #1: Use the “Unhappy” filter on TikTok

The first alternative to the crying filter on Snapchat is the unhappy filter on TikTok.

Following Snapchat’s success with the crying filter, TikTok has created an unhappy filter.

The filter looks similar to the crying filter on Snapchat.

  1. Open TikTok and tap on the “+” icon.
  2. Tap on “Effects”.
  3. Tap on the search icon.
  4. Search for “Unhappy”.
  5. Tap on “Unhappy” to use the filter.
  6. Record yourself or someone else using the filter.

If you want to use other filters, you can search for them by tapping on the search icon.

The unhappy filter is just one of many filters on TikTok.

If there’s a filter that you cannot use on Snapchat because of the “Photo mode only” error, you can probably find it on TikTok.

Alternative #2: Use the “Sad face” filter on Instagram

The second alternative to the crying filter on Snapchat is the “Sad face” filter on Instagram.

The sad face filter is created by @biancagarutti who is an AR creator.

It looks similar (and it’s just as good) as the crying filter on Snapchat.

There are also multiple other crying and sad filters on Instagram that you can use.

  1. Open Instagram and go to your profile.
  2. Tap on your profile picture.
  3. Tap on the camera grid.
  4. Scroll to the extreme right of the effects carousel.
  5. Tap on “Browse effects”.
  6. Tap on the search icon.
  7. Search for “Sad face”.
  8. Select the “Sad face” filter.
  9. Record yourself or someone else using the filter.

If you don’t want to use the “Sad face” filter, there are many other alternatives in the effect gallery.

Simply tap on the search icon and search for the filter that you want to use.

You can also browse the first page of the effect gallery and select a filter that you like.


Not every filter works on Snapchat because your device may not be compatible.

In some cases, a filter might not work because of a bug/glitch.

If that’s the case, you can use the filters from other social media apps.

This includes TikTok’s and Instagram’s effect gallery.

Filters that are available on Snapchat are most likely on TikTok and Instagram as well.

If all else fails, you can try using another device like an iPhone instead of an Android phone.

You can also submit filters on Snapchat here: https://create.snapchat.com/.

Keep in mind that submitting filters is not available in every region yet.

Further reading

140+ Good, Funny, and Cute Snapchat Names

How to Get the Invisible Filter on Snapchat

How to Reopen Snaps on Snapchat (4 Easy Steps)


About the author

Lim How Wei

Lim How Wei is the founder of followchain.org, with 8+ years of experience in Social Media Marketing and 4+ years of experience as an active investor in stocks and cryptocurrencies. He has researched, tested, and written thousands of articles ranging from social media platforms to messaging apps.

Lim has been quoted and referenced by major publications and media companies like WikiHow, Fast Company, HuffPost, Vice, New York Post, The Conversation, and many others. One of his articles about the gig economy was quoted by Joe Rogan who hosts The Joe Rogan Experience (arguably the most popular podcast in the world), in the This Past Weekend podcast by Theo Von.

In his free time, Lim plays multiple games like Genshin Impact, League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, RuneScape, and many others. He creates guides, walkthroughs, solutions, and more on games that he plays to help other players with their progression.