Instagram is a social media app that allows users to share photos and videos from their lives, add captions, edit filters, tweak settings, engage with others, explore and creep, and so, so much more — you just have to know what you're doing so you don't get overwhelmed!

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Here's everything you need to know about Instagram if you want to be an Insta-star!

November 8, 2017 - You can now add older videos and photos from your Camera Roll to your Instagram story

Instagram announced on its blog today that you can now add any photo or video from your Camera Roll to your story, even if it was taken more than 24 hours ago. Prior to this update, Insta users could only add content if it was taken within a day of when they were attempting to post it, severely limiting the media they could share with their followers in story form.

To add an older photo or video to your story, all you have to do is swipe up or tap the small gallery icon at the bottom left of the screen to view your Camera Roll (as you would normally). Then select whatever you'd like to share by tapping it. If it's over 24 hours old, Instagram will automatically supply a new sticker showing the date the photo was taken. However, unlike on Snapchat (where adding an older photo or a photo taken outside the app gives you a telltale white frame), the timestamp isn't mandatory — you can choose to remove it if you'd like, leaving your story aesthetically uninhibited.

October 26, 2017 - ZOOM ZOOM ZOOM... with Instagram's new Superzoom feature 🙌🏼

If you're like me and you find zooms hilarious, then the latest update to Instagram Stories is going to make you so, so, so happy.

Superzoom as it's called is the latest Instagram stories record feature on the app that goes alongside features like Boomerang, Rewind, Hands-free, and Live Mode, and it does exactly what it sounds like it does:

Highlight the tool in the story camera, choose the front- or rear-facing camera, and then tap the button. If you tap once you'll create a 3-second Superzoom; you can tap and hold to create a longer one. (Verge)

The best part? All of your Superzooms will have dramatic music in the background, so now you can truly be the dramatic gopher you always dreamed of.

(http://blog.instagram.com/post/165759350412/170926-news) today that it's rolling out some new control features that allow you to keep your account a kind, safe place for you to express yourself. The new tools are as follows:

Comment controls

If you have a public Insta account, you'll now be able to hand-pick who is able to comment on your posts. According to Instagram, this can mean everyone or groups of people, such as only your followers or only people you follow. In addition, whether your account is public or private, you'll be able to block any person from commenting on your posts. The company is also expanding its offensive comments filter (which launched in June and only worked for English comments) to include Arabic, French, German and Portuguese.

Anonymous Reporting for Live Video

This feature allows you to anonymously report concerns you have for anyone streaming a live broadcast. This means that if you see that someone is in need of help or struggling with mental health concerns, you can reach out to Instagram. The user will then see "a message offering help with options to talk to a helpline, reach out to a friend or get other tips and support." The company says it has responders across the world working 24/7 in order to attend to those who require support as quickly as possible.

Kindess Walls and new Kindness Stickers

Instagram is painting murals in different cities in order to turn walls into "kindness walls." Users can visit, take a photo or video, and share kind messages with their followers. The company also released new heart-shaped stickers specifically for use at kindness walls.

For more info on Instagram's commitment to fostering a gentle and encouraging environment, you can visit the Instagram Together page.

September 21, 2017 - Instagram introduces Live Face Filters

Instagram announced on its blog today that you can now play around with Face Filters while you're streaming video using Instagram Live.

If you want to use a Face Filter during your broadcast, all you have to do is tap the icon that looks like a sparkling face in the bottom right-hand corner. You can then scroll through the Face Filters on the bottom of your screen and tap the one you like to activate it. Instagram is also offering a special sunglasses Face Filter that will be available exclusively in Live video for the next week. If you use it, after you've selected it you can tap to change the scenery that's reflected in your virtual lenses.

Once you've finished streaming, you can either choose to save the video to your story or discard it.

September 18, 2017 - Instagram for iOS changes how autoplay functions

Up until this point, Instagram has autoplayed videos on mute as you scroll through your feed, only playing the clips with sound once you tap them. However, now when you tap one autoplayed video to hear it with sound, all future videos you see on your feed will autoplay with sound. This will reset every time you close the app.

Don't worry though - even during a single Insta-scrolling session, if you don't want to hear sound on any further videos, you can silence them once again by tapping on them just as you did to hear the audio in the first place.

August 31st, 2017 - You can now watch Instagram Stories online!

Never fear, online Instagram Stories are here!

Instagram announced today that you will soon be able to watch Instagram Stories on online browsers!

Before, users could only view videos/images, comment, like, and search their Instagram accounts on Instagram.com, but now stories will appear at the top of your feed, just like they do in the app itself.

To skip or go back to a specific story, all you have to do is tap the left and right arrows.

Stories has quickly become an important part of the Instagram experience — over 250 million people use it every day to see what their friends are doing in the moment. Now we're excited to bring stories to people who use Instagram on the web. (Instagram)

August 29th, 2017 - PRAISE THE 'GRAM: You can upload portrait and landscape shots in Instagram photo galleries

Don't be such a square: upload your Instagram galleries with portrait and landscape photos ASAP!

Starting today, you can choose landscape and portrait formats when sharing multiple photos and videos in one post. (Instagram Blog)

When Instagram first announced their gallery idea where people were able to put multiple photos in a series into one post, the Internet went wild — and for good reason! You no longer needed to clutter people's timelines with your 10+ photos of your weekend trip to the lake.

One thing that people were bummed out about was the fact that you were only able to upload square images: this meant that if you had a beautiful portrait shot of a group of friends, or a stunning landscape shot of a sunset on the horizon, you were SOL.

Now Instagram has made some changes, and starting today, you can now upload your photos and videos in both landscape and portrait formats!

Oh, and before you ask...

To keep the experience smooth and consistent, however, all photos and videos in your post must be shared in the same format. (Instagram Blog)

August 15, 2017 - Instagram adds comment threads

Looking to improve upon the conversations that take place in the comments section, Instagram is adding threaded replies to comments.

When you hit reply underneath a comment on a post, you'll be replying directly to their comment and Instagram will nest your comment beneath theirs. The company says it's a much better way to keep track of conversations:

Comment threads help you keep track of conversations and make it easy to respond to a specific thread. This update will make your feed an even better place to share interests, get inspired and connect with others.

I'll admit I've enjoyed reading through some silly arguments in the comments of famous folks' Instagram posts. Now instead of scrolling through hundreds of comments and trying to sort through the mess, you'll be able to see all the action in one thread! Or you can, y'know, "get inspired and connect with others," as Instagram puts it.

The new feature is available in the latest versions of Instagram on both iOS and Android.

August 8, 2017 - Instagram testing new feature that'll let you broadcast live with a friend

Instagram is testing a new live video feature. The feature lets you add a guest to your broadcast, creating a split-screen viewing experience between the two of you. Instagram says live video can be a little intimidating and lonely, and this feature is meant to help with that:

Now, you can hang out and go live together, whether you're just doing homework or catching up on your day. Live video helps you share in an authentic way, but sometimes it can be intimidating when you're on your own.

Next to the switch camera icon in the bottom right corner of the screen, you'll find a new button that lets you add someone who's currently watching your broadcast. Instagram says you'll be able to remove the guest at any time, swap them out for someone else, or let them exit the broadcast on their own.

Although Instagram seems to be marketing it as a means of hanging out with a friend (while others watch?), the real value is arguably its use as a live interview tool. You can also use it to pull in a viewer for a more back-and-forth interaction.

The new feature is currently in testing with "a small percentage of [Instagram users]," but it's expected to roll out to everyone over the next few months.

Share a Replay of Your Live Video to Instagram Stories

On June 20th, Instagram announced that they're going to start rolling out the option for users to share a replay of their live videos directly to their Instagram Stories!

When your broadcast has ended, you'll be able to tap "Share" at the bottom of the screen to add your replay to Instagram Stories for 24 hours. You can also tap the toggle and choose "Discard," and your live video will disappear from the app as usual.

Instagram is letting users send links in direct messages now!

Yup, you read that right! Instagram's latest major update is for it's Direct messaging feature: users can now send links directly!

On top of that, the app is also adding automatic links to phone numbers and addresses, which is incredibly helpful while conversing with pals over Insta.

The Verge:

Additionally, the update adds support for both landscape and portrait pictures sent through Direct. So, instead of weirdly cropping your pictures, they'll now show up properly in their intended dimensions.

Instagram has introduced Snapchat-style augmented reality face filters. Here's everything you need to know!

One of the reasons Snapchat has become so popular over the last couple of years has been because of the app's AR (or augmented reality) face filters AKA World Lenses.

If you're ever been swiping through Tinder or scrolling through Facebook and have noticed a photo of a girl with a dog nose, floppy ears, and sometimes a big tongue, that feature is actually from a super popular Snapchat AR filter that blew up last year once the Kardashians got their hooks into it.

Now Instagram has announced that their following the filter hysteria and introducing their very own AR filters to Instagram stories!

Instagram:

Today, we're introducing face filters in the camera, an easy way to turn an ordinary selfie into something fun and entertaining. Whether you're sitting on the couch at home or you're out and about, you can use face filters to express yourself and have playful conversations with friends.

How many filters will there be to choose from?

There are allegedly 8 AR face filter options, but there's nothing stopping the app from (yet again) copying Snapchat and adding and updating new ones every day/week.

How does it work?

9to5Mac:

Face filters will work with Instagram's built-in Boomerang feature which creates short loops, and both rewind and hands-free mode work with the new feature. After you capture a photo with a face filter, you can use Instagram's existing markup features to draw over the image, add stickers, and more.

When will this feature be launched?

Today, apparently!

How can I find it?

There will be a new 'face effect' icon that will appear in Instagram's main camera section.

Any questions?

Are you excited for face filters/World Lenses/Snapchat 2.0 to come to Instagram? Or would you prefer if the app would stop ripping off the original?

Let us know what you think of Instagram's latest update in the comments below!

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social media app that was launched in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger (the app was later bought by Facebook in 2012) that encouraged users to take photos, add a filter, write a caption, and post.

While the original format of Instagram was a lot simpler than the one you see today, the premise still remains the same. Videos shared on Instagram used to be limited to 15 seconds in duration; video posts can be much longer today.

How does it work?

After you set up your Instagram account and set up your profile, you can start by following a few of your favorite celebrities, BFFs, co-workers, etc. You can also see the number of followers you have on your profile.

If you want, you can set your profile to be private, meaning that people need to request to follow you and need you to approve them in order for them to see any of your content. Keep in mind that if your profile is private posts that are hashtagged will not show up on the trending/public page, no matter how many likes you get.

And speaking of likes, they're what people give you when they double-tap your post – a red heart will appear on the photo, and a like-count at the bottom of the picture will show how much love a certain photo is getting. Subsequently, videos no longer gather visible 'likes', instead displaying a view count (although you can still double-tap to like a video).

You can also comment on people's posts if they've left commenting on (you can also turn off comments on posts), share and send a specific post to a friend in a direct message, or tag and save a post so you can come back for it later.

The best advice for Instagram? Follow people you really like and fill your feed with content you love. Don't be afraid to unfollow someone at the risk of losing a follower if they're not posting content that blows you away! Instagram can get very overwhelming, and with it's latest algorithm change, you might not even see everyone you're following.

Elle Hunt, The Guardian

Controversial changes to the photo-sharing platform that were met with widespread outcry … with users around the world reporting a new algorithm-driven feed. What this means is posts appear not in the sequence they were posted by people you follow from oldest to newest, but in one of Instagram's own devising. And Instagram – owned by Facebook – works in mysterious ways.

What's the explore page?

Instagram:

Search & Explore to better tailor it to you. Posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like. You may also see video channels, which can include posts from a mixture of hand-picked and automatically sourced accounts based on topics we think you'll enjoy.

To access the Explore page, just tap on the magnifying glass on the bottom of your screen, or the compass beside the heart if you're using Instagram on your desktop.

Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are Instagram's response to Snapchat/Snapchat Stories, which are a series of photos and videos strung together in a content package that disappears after 24 hours.

While some people find this type of posting a bit redundant and silly because it's only temporary, the trend of 24-hour social media posts has taken off in a big, big way with things like Stories features (although Facebook needs to cool it at this point …)

Instagram:

You'll see stories from people you follow in a bar at the top of your feed — from your best friends to your favorite popular accounts. When there's something new to see, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it. To view someone's story, just tap on their profile photo. It's easy to view stories at your own pace: tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person's story. If you want to comment on something you see, you can tap and send a private message to that person on Instagram Direct. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.

How much does it cost?

Instagram is free as a bee! There aren't any in-app purchases or upgrades, either!

What kinds of things can I do to my photos/videos?

You can either add a filter to your photo or video and be on your merry way, or if you want to get a bit more in-depth with your photo editing, there are options like:

  • Adjust
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Structure
  • Warmth
  • Saturation
  • Color
  • Fade
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Vingette
  • Tilt Shift
  • Sharpen

… Just keep in mind these options are only available for editing photos, not editing your videos.

Other options for posting photos include posting multiple pictures in one post, so you're not flooding news feeds with photo after photo after photo. You can tell a post has more than one photo if there's a little white box in the upper right corner and dots between the description and photo once you tap on it.

What devices can I use to access my Instagram?

You can use your iPhone or iPad to log in, post, comment, like, and do pretty much everything on Instagram, but you can also access your account from a computer, too!

The only major difference is that you cannot edit and post a photo or a video from a computer – you can only look at pictures, like them, and visit the explore page.

Boomerang? Hyperlapse?

Boomerang and Hyperlapse are two apps developed by Instagram that work in tandem with the original, root app.

Boomerang works by taking a super short, super fast burst of photos and stitching them together into a mini video that plays forward and backward and forward and backward and—well, you get the idea. Think of it as a GIF of sorts, but in video mode. These types of posts are popular amongst the Kardashian-Jenner clan.

Hyperlapse works by creating and sharing smooth, clean, time-lapse videos. "It also has some pretty powerful video stabilization tools to smooth out shaky, handheld shots," says iMore's Mikah Sargent.

Where can I download the app?

You can download Instagram right here!

And while you're at it, check out Boomerang and Hyperlapse, too!

Questions?

Hit the comment section below!