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Instagram initially made a name for itself with its filters, but it’s come very far from its early days. The social network keeps adding new features, and some of the latest ones look awfully familiar.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the newest Instagram features and see if they remind you of another photo-sharing app.
1. Face Filters
Face filters is the newest feature in Instagram Stories. Just like in Snapchat, these filters apply goofy effects to your face. Whether Instagram copied it or not isn’t a matter of concern for consumers like you and me. All that matters is how well it works.
Instagram face filters execute perfectly. Even in Stories, it works in selfie mode, and ideally, you need a good front-facing camera. As long as the camera can track your face, the filter will move in real time.
To see your face filters, start a new story, switch to selfie mode, and tap the face icon next to the camera button. Flick through the different filters to check them all out.
2-3. Rewind and Hashtag
Rewind and Hashtag are the other new features, and again, these are only available in the new Instagram Stories. Hopefully they’ll come to the regular mode soon enough, but there’s no guarantee.
Record something as you normally would, then swipe right in the “modes” in Stories. Thankfully, neither Rewind nor Hashtag are restricted to the selfie camera. You’ll find Rewind and Hashtag after Boomerang.
Rewind, as the name suggests, plays any video in reverse. Hashtag lets you add a new sticker to any Story, and type a hashtag in it. Your Story is then tagged with that hashtag. Don’t overload the Story with multiple stickers — use only the best hashtag.
4. The New Eraser Brush
Instagram Stories also added a new brush: the eraser. It’s yet another creative tool to edit images.
Take a photo in Stories and use the other brushes to add anything you want. Tap the eraser brush and erase just the parts that you want. It can be a cool way to highlight something by darkening out all the other parts of the image.
5. Save or Bookmark
When you come across a photo that you like, you can save it for later. Instagram now has bookmarks, and in many ways, this is like a better version of Pinterest.
You can save any image with a single tap on the bookmark button, found at the bottom-right corner below an image or video. But the cool part is that you can make “collections” like you used to on Pinterest.
Tap and hold the bookmark button to add the post to a collection or create a new collection for photos like it. It’s one of the best bookmarking solutions I’ve seen.
6. Add Multiple Photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes, you need a series of images to tell a story. Instagram now lets you add multiple images to a single post.
To do this, start by uploading an image from Gallery or Camera Roll. Once you’ve selected it, tap the “multiple images” button. You can add up to 10 images or videos. Tap the “Next” arrow to add filters or rearrange the order of the images.
There are two benefits to this. First, you no longer spam your followers with a series of images on their timeline. And second, you no longer have to use the Layouts for Instagram app to create collages. As good as that app is, it’s not the ideal way to narrate a tale.
7. Use Instagram Offline
Android users, your Instagram app has something the iPhone app doesn’t: offline mode. It hasn’t rolled out to all Androids yet, but if you have a smartphone with Android 7.0 Nougat, it should be working by now.
Instagram’s offline mode means you can take photos and edit them, and they’ll be posted automatically the next time you go online.
You can also interact with your timeline while you’re offline. Like an image or comment on a post, and it will all be updated when you are online.
8. Instagram Windows Desktop App
For a long time, Windows and Mac users have had to make do with third-party Instagram clients. The social network has finally released an official app for Windows 10, which works on both phones and desktops.
But bad news, folks. You still can’t upload images from the desktop app. You can browse your feed, comment and like photos, and even send direct messages to friends. But how dare you want to upload photos to a photo-sharing social network? Even now, the workaround hack site Gramblr seems to be your best bet to upload photos to Instagram from a desktop.
Download — Instagram for Windows 10 (Free)
9. Two-Factor Authentication
Instagram has a lot of your data, so don’t let anyone else gain access to it easily. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the essential security protocols to use for any service. And Instagram now supports it, so turn it on.
In the app, go to Your Profile > Menu > Two-Factor Authentication > Require Security Code and flip the toggle to switch it on (it will turn blue). You will need to associate your account with your phone number, after which you’ll get a code to enable access.
Here’s a little bit more on what 2FA is and why you should use it. Think of it as the gatekeeper to deter anyone from gaining access to your account.
10. Self-Destructing Messages
In its constant quest to replace Snapchat, Instagram also added a way to send self-destructing messages to friends. It’s what made Snapchat so popular in the first place.
Go to Direct Messages in Instagram, and tap the blue camera button at the bottom. Only the blue camera sends disappearing messages, the regular grey camera (next to any person’s name) will send permanent photos.
One of the ways people cheat with disappearing images is by taking screenshots. Instagram will keep an eye out for this, and notify you if the recipient takes a screenshot of your disappearing chat.
Instagram vs. Snapchat
Instagram keeps copying Snapchat, and Snapchat keeps copying Instagram. The two apps are almost clones now. And neither of them seems like they’re going to stop anytime soon.
Some features, like seeing who unfollowed you, are still nowhere to be seen. But it’s nice to see more features being added to Instagram. Do you use Instagram or Snapchat? Or maybe both? What do you like about one more than the other?