Snapchat's Dual Camera feature isn't quite a BeReal copycat

snapchat's dual camera feature uses both front and back cameras

Snapchat is bringing its "Dual Camera" feature front and center on the app's main camera toolbar. Starting today, the feature will be available for iOS users on iPhone XS/XR or above, with Android compatibility rolling out in the coming months.

As its name suggests, Dual Camera lets Snapchat users take photos and videos using their phone's front and back cameras at the same time. When you navigate to Snapchat's main camera, you will see an icon on the right-side toolbar that looks like two cameras layered over one another. When you click that icon, you'll be given four dual camera options. You can align your two images horizontally or vertically, and you can use a picture-in-picture mode, which puts your selfie in a small circle in the corner of the image on your back-facing camera. The most interesting option is cutout, which edits out the background of your selfie and replaces it with the footage from your back camera. So, for example, if you took a photo in the stands at a baseball game, you'd see yourself cut out (get it?) and pasted on top of the baseball field.

As BeReal skyrockets in popularity, reaching 30.7 million downloads this year as of late July per Apptopia, it's hard not to be reminded of the buzzy social app's own ingrained dual camera features. Snapchat's timing in rolling out this feature doesn't seem entirely coincidental. Instagram just brought its own two-camera feature (also called Dual) to the toolbar screen on Reels. The Meta-owned company is also rumored to be working on a not-even-thinly-veiled BeReal clone feature that challenges people to post candid photos within two minutes. Snapchat's Dual Camera does actually offer a different experience, though. The feature is designed to take advantage of the fact that most smartphones have two cameras, rather than blatantly copying another app.

So, is this roll-out just a desperate attempt to capture some of the BeReal hype? For one thing, Snapchat initially rolled out this feature as part of its creator-focused Director Mode in April, so it's not brand new (of course, it still could've been a response to BeReal back then, too). Either way, these features actually add something fun and somewhat novel to the app, so who cares? It's not like BeReal pioneered the dual camera anyway.