Earlier in October, it was revealed that British developer Darren Jones had developed an app that could stealthily capture snaps from the self-destructing messaging app Snapchat.

The app, called Snaphack, allows Snapchat users to discretely save messages that would otherwise be deleted after a certain timeframe.

While saving screenshots of snaps is already possible, Snapchat alerts the sender that their message has been saved by a recipient. Snaphack removes this warning signal and means that the sender is not warned that their self-destructing message will exist for perpetuity.

It’s not known how long Snaphack will be allowed to keep running or if it will be removed from popular app stores but as its developer explains:

“my app just proves and informs people that these apps exist and people need to be careful.”

This is a very important point, and one we raised as far back as January this year. Snapchat and other apps like it are not fool proof. Whether it is with Snaphack or another app (like SnapSave), people will always find ways of saving embarrassing images.

There’s plenty of joy to be had from self-destructing messaging apps like Snapchat, they afford us the ability to be impulsive, silly and in many ways more “real” with our digital communications as they won’t (or at least should be) around for posterity.

Here are my three golden rules for using apps like Snapchat so that it doesn’t come back and embarrass you.

Be nice.

Just because you assume a message will self destruct, doesn’t mean you should become a nasty person. It’s common knowledge that people are meaner when communicating through technology and self-destructing evidence will likely only increase that. Don’t become a bully just because you think you won’t get caught.

Be spontaneous, not stupid.

I’ve spoken before about how dumb it is to send naked selfies across the web and that hasn’t changed. The news that there are apps that allow people to discretely save your nude snaps should be lesson enough that this is never a good idea.

Don’t be part of the problem.

It’s no surprise that apps like Snaphack have arrived to stop our snaps disappearing but I would argue that it undermines the whole spirit of apps like Snapchat. If you do want to save a hilarious snap of your buddy wearing a Cher wig, then by all means do so, but make sure you do it in a way that alerts them to the fact. If we’re all squirreling away self-destructing messages in secret, we may as well all move back to WhatsApp or MSN (RIP).