Instagram the second most popular photo, video social media platform after Facebook has been around for quite sometimes now and it is nothing new to most of the people. In fact, The popular socializing app has been around for nearly a decade now and is still growing in popularity today. The reason behind its popularity is its continuous efforts on bringing new updates from time to time and keep its users on their toes most of the time. It even goes to the extent of stealing popular features from other popular startups such as Snapchat(a popular multimedia messaging app) and recently TikTok(the now popular short video sharing app).
Every time the popular socializing app brings out a new update, the users are filled with joy and feel they have been served well by the platform. But the platform has added so many new features over the years that keeping up with the platform is a difficult task. If you are someone who likes to spend quite some time on the platform every day or someone with a hunger to search for news on Instagram and Google it most of the time, you might be well-updated about the small changes that keep happening on the platform. The idea of Googling might not sound very practical to the most and you are right to think so.
The platform itself is dynamic and keeps changing all the time. The new updates come and go just like “a passing cloud on a rainy day”. When the updates are big enough most of us know about it whereas if the updates are just small ones, most of us are likely to miss out on it. However, you might notice any updates happening on the platform if you pay attention to details and are familiar with the platform. So, today we have put together 21 new Instagram updates and features that you might have missed out on the platform. The list is comprised of some of the upcoming features as well. So, if you haven’t heard of them yet or cannot find them on your Instagram, have patience. They will surely be available to you in the future.
1. Dark Mode| Theme :
Dark is the new favorite color preferred by most of the people worldwide on their devices. People can’t stop themselves from falling for a dark background with white text on it. So, if you would like to join the fun as well, you need to own one of these devices with operating systems iOS-13 for iOS devices or Android-10 for android devices and you can experience a darker version of Instagram as well.
If you like the sound of Dark mode or are someone who is eagerly waiting to try the new feature out but does not know how to activate it.
Here’s how you can activate the dark mode:
For IOS devices:
- First, make sure your iOS device supports the latest version of iSO 13 in order to be able to activate the Dark Mode.
- Open the Settings option in your device and in the settings look for the Display & Brightness option and tap on it for more options.
- You can now turn the Dark Mode on, or you can also set it to switch on and off automatically either to match current daylight hours or to your own customized schedule.
- Go to your App Store and download the latest version of Instagram or you can simply update it.
- Now open the Instagram app and enjoy the Dark Mode.
For Android devices:
- Make sure you own a device with the latest android operating system i.e Android 10 in order to be able to activate the Dark Theme on your device.
- Open the Settings option in your device and look for the Display option and tap on the Advance option.
- You will see the option to select Dark from the Device theme menu. Tap on it to activate.
- Go to the Google Play Store and download the latest version of Instagram or you can simply update it.
- Now start up the Instagram app on your device and enjoy the Dark Theme.
2. The new Restrict Feature:
Instagram has recently introduced a very useful new feature called “Restrict”. The feature allows users to block other users who they believe to be annoying or not important. It is a perfect tool to use against someone who is a part of your Instagram and ruins your post by badmouthing it and yet you cannot block them completely. In that case, applying the “Restrict” feature will allow you to cut loose of such people. Restricting someone is different from blocking someone because the user whom you restrict won’t realize that they have been blocked by you. They will be able to see your posts and even comment on them as well but this time around the comment won’t show up on other’s profiles unless you yourself decide to reveal the comment.
It is a rather useful feature available on the platform and can take care of your worries dealing with bad-mouthing people and keep your comment section look good.
Here are the steps on how you can restrict someone on Instagram.
- Open the Instagram app on your device and tap on the profile option to open up your Instagram profile.
- Look for the hamburger icon located on the top right section of your profile and tap on it.
- Tap on the Settings option and select the Privacy option and then select the “restricted accounts” option. Now you can add anyone whom you feel like adding to the list and you are good to go.
- You can also restrict users who have left mean comments from your comment section. In order to do so, swipe left on the comment and select the “!” icon, then select “restrict”.
3. Instagram Stories’ Create Interface:
Instagram Stories lets you share all the moments of your day and not just the ones you want to keep on your profile and the new create interface lets you do more. You can now add Text, Gifs, Templates, Polls, Questions Countdown, Timers, and Quizzes with just a simple swipe of the finger.
Instagram also introduced two new fun Instagram story additions. They are the “On This Day” and “Templates”. On this day feature allows users to relive past memories by sharing events that happened on this day, years ago. This particular feature was borrowed from its parent company Facebook. Templates are pre-designed Instagram stories that leave empty spaces for you to fill out your answer. Both features make your regular Instagram stories fun.
Here’s how you can use the new features:
- Open the Instagram app on your device and tap on the “Your Stories” option or swipe from your home feed. You can also tap on the camera icon on the top as well.
- You can now select on Text, or Gif or some other options depending on what you are looking to add to your stories.
4. Hashtag Insights:
Instagram has just introduced the ability to track exactly how many impressions your individual hashtags are getting on the platform. It is a welcome update for all the Instagrammers out there since it allows users to individually determine the impressions for individual posts rather than seeing them on a bulk which makes it difficult to figure out what is working well and what’s not.
The new feature will be highly useful to influencers and brands for marketing purposes on the platform.
Steps to track your Hashtags insights:
- Open the app and navigate to a recent post.
- Tap the “view insights” button and scroll down to the impressions section. You will now be able to see the impressions fro the particular hashtags.
5. Email From Instagram:
This new feature was introduced by Instagram in an attempt to prevent email scams. Instagram has finally come up with something good that is quite useful in protecting users’ personal information from hackers who use all means to try and acquire information on users so that they can easily gain access to their accounts and hack or tamper them according to their will.
You might have received some email on your Instagram account asking you to verify, notifying about your password being changed, or telling you to click on the given link and you thaught the mail was from Instagram and clicked on it, or entered your Id and password. Later you realize that your account has been hacked or tempered. These are all scams known as “Phishing” used by hackers. Actually these emails are not sent by Instagram rather sent to you by third parties intended to collect personal information about you which they can later use against yourself.
The new feature will help to determine the users whether the email has been sent by Instagram or not. You can find this new feature in your Settings tab. It will display all the emails sent to you by Instagram in the last 14 days so you can know for certain that the email sent to you is real or fake.
Steps to view your emails from Instagram.
- Open the Instagram app and visit your profile.
- Look for the hamburger icon at the top right section and tap to access your Settings option.
- Now look for the “Emails From Instagram” section and tap to open it. You will now be able to see emails sent to you by Instagram in the last fourteen days.
6. Removing Your Instagram Followers:
This might sound off the topic since most of us will never ever do such a thing like removing Instagram followers. It applies to the majority of Instagrammers since everyone wants to see the number of their followers increasing and not the other way around. More Instagram followers mean more popularity and it feels so good to have a lot of followers as well.
However, there are times when you will actually look for ways to remove a certain someone from your list of followers. There can also be situations where bots and fake accounts are added to your list of followers and you need to get rid of them quickly since they will never like or comment on your posts and are referred to ghost followers. Having a lot of such ghost followers can bring down your engagement rate on the platform which is not a good thing at all. So, in order to avoid such situations, you need to unfollow them from your list of followers.
Here’s how you can get rid of such accounts from your list of followers:
- Open the Instagram app and go to your profile section. You will see the Followers list. Tap on it.
- Go through your list of followers and pick out the accounts you have suspicions about.
- Once you detect one, tap on the three dots on the right-hand side next to the follow/following button and then select “remove”. And that’s it.
7. Post To Multiple InstagramAccounts:
Many people have multiple accounts from which they operate. Especially the influencers, creators and brands usually have multiple accounts to their name which they operate simultaneously. Earlier when this feature was not available on Instagram, they had to post individual posts on their accounts one at a time at was a time-consuming process. I mean imagine going through the pain of editing each and every post you would like to share on a couple of accounts even though the content that you intend to share is the same. Quite a hassle right?
With the introduction of this feature, you can publish content for multiple accounts at the same time. It is perfect for businesses as well to share the same message without having to recreate the same content again and again.
Here’s how you can share a post on multiple accounts:
- First, create a post that you would like to share by visiting your profile section.
- Do all the necessary touch-ups and editings as you prefer and when you reach the share post section, you will see a section titled “post to other accounts”
- Toggle the accounts which you like to share your post on and tap on the “Share” button to share your post.
Instagram also prioritizes its users with visual impairments and have introduced a feature called the “alt text” feature. This feature provides users with visual impairments an easier way to enjoy the platform. When you enable the alt-text on your posts, anyone, using a screen reader will be able to listen to your image description in detail. You have the option to customize your alt-text or have Instagram auto-generate the description for you instead. The auto-generated description might not go well with how you would actually like to define the image. So, it would be much better to have your alt-text customized to provide a better feel with a personal touch.
Here are the steps on how to add the alt-text on your posts:
- When you post a new photo, select the “advanced settings” option.
- Look for the “accessibility” option and there you will see the option to add your alt-text on your image.
- And if you want to add alt-text to your image that you have already published to your feed, navigate to your feed and then navigate to your image.
- Tap on the three dots and tap on “edit” then tap the “ass alt-text” button that appears in the bottom right of your photo.
9. Close Friends:
It feels to have someone as a close friend in both real-life and virtual life. A virtual life close-friend is someone who understands you well, someone who cares what you post on your Instagram feeds, someone who comments all the good stuff on your post and likes every post that you share on the platform. And how about rewarding such people in your close friend list.
The all-new Instagram feature allows you to create a list of people whom you can send your exclusive stories when you do not want others to watch what you have shared except for those selective few special ones in your close friend list. The list can be made up of your real-life friends who are very important to you and are also a part of your Instagram friends list or people whom you met on the platform whom you admire and have a very close understanding with. And if you are a business person your list of close friends may include the most frequent buyer of your products and services so that you can provide a sneak-peak at new products before they get launched.
How to add someone to your close friend’s list:
- Launch the Instagram app on and go to your profile section.
- Tap on the three-bar icon located at the top-right corner.
- Select the “Close Friends” option from the list.
- On the Close Friends list screen, you can add by using the search to find people that you want to add to this list.
How to share exclusively for your close friend list:
- Navigate to your Instagram story camera and create some exclusive content to share.
- Make do of all the editing and when you’re ready to share, tap the “close friends” icon in the bottom right to make sure your story gets shared within your close friends only.
10. Sharing Posts To Stories:
This is one of the most anticipated features on Instagram and is finally here. This new feature allows you to share any post either your own or someone’s else post to your Instagram story. That’s not the only thing, but the image on the story itself becomes a clickable link and takes any user who taps on it, from your story, straight to that particular image. This makes for a great way to divert traffic according to user preferences either to own posts or to someone’s else posts.
Steps on how you can share posts as stories:
- Launch the Instagram app on your device and navigate to your profile to see your posts. Open the post that you would like to share on the Instagram Story.
- Tap on the paper airplane button located below the post as if you would like to send a direct message.
- You’ll then see an option on the following menu to “Add Post to Your Story”.
- Tap on the “Add Post to Your Story” option to see the feed post as a sticker ready to be shared to your story. You have the option to move, resize or rotate the photo or video. Or you can use the drawing tools or add text and stickers to make it appear more interesting.
11. Uploading Multiple Images and Videos To Instagram Story:
Being able to add multiple images and videos was one of the most awaited features and it’s finally here. The new Instagram feature now allows you to upload multiple images and videos to your stories at once. Earlier users could only upload one picture or video at a time and in order to upload multiple images or videos users had to repeat the process. The process took a lot of time and effort and was not suited for multiple uploads.
Now you can select and upload up to 10 images and videos at a time to add to your stories. Also, you have the option to simultaneously edit each and every photos and video before uploading.
Steps to upload multiple images and videos to your stories at once:
- Launch the Instagram app and navigate to your Instagram Stories camera by swiping right from your home feed or by tapping the camera icon located on the top left.
- Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to access your gallery. Select the multiple posts icon in the top right.
- Now select the images and videos that you would like to upload as your Instagram story and create a new post.
- Make do of all the necessary editing and touch-ups of individual images and videos and share to your story.
12. Top Posts:
The new Instagram update has made a correction to the “Top Posts” section. Earlier the top post section was customized according to user preferences and users would see only those top 10 posts for a hashtag which the algorithm thought the user would like to watch. But in reality, those posts weren’t the actual top trending posts on the particular hashtag. Users often would see their posts on the top post when searching for a hashtag on the “Top Posts” section.
But now since the recent update, the “Top Posts” section is no more user-customized and actually features the top trending posts on from a particular hashtag i.e all the users see the exact same posts on the “Top Posts” section when searching for the same hashtag.
13. Tracking Your Activity:
Instagram has recently added a new feature on the platform that shows users the actual amount of time that they spend on the platform every day down to the minute. It is quite an interesting feature that allows you to keep track of your time on Instagram each day. This new feature is useful when you want to achieve a certain target on the platform and would like to know the exact time needed for you to achieve your set target.
This feature is more useful to influencers and brands whose every minute counts on the platform. It allows users to set up a daily reminder that will notify the user when they have reached a pre-defined time limit on the platform. One can also set standard notification settings that will notify the user only when the time comes and thus help prevent users from unnecessary distractions from notifications every now and then.
Steps to track your activities on Instagram:
- Launch the Instagram app and navigate to your profile.
- Tap on the hamburger icon located on the top right corner and select the “Your Activity” tab.
Note:This new Instagram update is only available for personal accounts.
Most of you might be well familiar with the QR codes and its scanning process. It was a cool feature, to begin with, and now Instagram is trying to make it even cooler with the new Instagram update. The new QR codes like feature is called the“Nametag”. The new feature allows you to share your Instagram account with others by creating an image that can be scanned. It is amazingly cool to be able to share your Instagram account with others in such a unique way.
Steps to create your own Instagram Nametag that you will be able to share with others:
- Launch the Instagram app and navigate to your profile.
- Click on the hamburger icon located at the top right section of your profile page and select “Nametag”.
- You can now create your own customized name tag and download it to your phone to share it with others. Or you can use this page to scan Nametag.
15. Verification badge:
A verification badge is a checkmark that appears next to the user’s Instagram account name. In the past, there was no way for commoners to get a verification badge on the platform and was strictly for celebrities and brands. But now anyone can apply for the verification badge but there’s a catch to it. You need to meet the verification criteria in order to receive one on the platform. As a result, you can now see many users bearing the blue checkmark on their Instagram username which symbolized them being verified Instagram users.
16. Activity Status:
It is quite upsetting when you do not get a reply from someone whom you constantly message and it is even more upsetting when you do not actually know whether the user is ignoring you on purpose or haven’t read your message at all.
Things have changed now ever since Instagram has introduced the “Activity” status on the platform. now you will see text beneath each user on the list that states for how long they have been active on the platform just like Facebook. You will see a green dot next to the username if they are currently active on the platform.
This is a useful feature when it comes to catching those who ignore your messages even though they were active on the platform. Not just that but you can actually send messages to those who are online for better conversation opportunity rather than messaging someone who is offline and waiting for their response once they get on.
You also have the option to turn off your active status if you want to avoid any conversation while being active on the platform.
Steps on how to turn your activity status on or off:
- Launch the Instagram app on your device and navigate to your profile.
- Tap on the more options icon located on the top right corner.
- Look for the “Settings” tab and tap on it.
- Look for the “Privacy” option and tap on it.
- Once you find the “Activity Status” option, tap on it.
- Now toggle to either turn it on or off according to your preferences.
17. Countdown Timer For Instagram Stories:
The new countdown timer for Instagram stories is a welcome addition on the platform. You can now add a functioning countdown timer to your stories to give an urgency feel to the viewers when they see your stories. This is a great strategy when you want people to notice you and respond to your post in real-time. This has been a tried and tested strategy, to begin with. The countdown timer can come in handy in the following situations:
• When you want to announce an upcoming new event on the platform.
• When you want to remind your audience of an ending deal.
This feature also lets your audience to subscribe to the countdown timer and they will receive a reminder as notifications when the countdown is complete.
Steps to create a countdown timer for your stories:
- Launch the Instagram app on your device and swipe right to create a story.
- Create a new story of your preference and tap on the sticker icon located at the top.
- Look for the “COUNTDOWN” sticker and tap to add it.
- Enter a title for your countdown and choose the date and time for your countdown to expire.
- You can also customize the countdown by tapping on the color wheel located just above the “COUNTDOWN” sticker.
- Once you are done with all your customization, tap on Done to share it to your Instagram stories.
18. Q&A Section of Stories:
Most of you might be familiar with Instagram’s live feature that was introduced a while back on the platform and now there’s a new addition to the Instagram live feature that basically combines Instagram live feature and Instagram Stories question sticker. Answering questions live on your Instagram has become much more easy and more fun as well.
The new addition allows you to add a question box where users can tap and type in their questions that appear clearly on your screen and when you type in your answer, your audience can clearly see what question you are currently answering.
Steps to add Q&A to your Instagram live:
- Launch the Instagram app on your device and swipe right to access the story tab.
- Now post a question to your story as you would normally do.
- Wait for some of the questions to come in, then start your Instagram live.
- To go live, go to your stories section and select the “LIVE” tab by swiping on the texts below.
- Once you start your Instagram live you will see a question mark icon on the bottom left of your screen.
- Tap on it to reveal all of the questions you have been asked.
- Now, simply tap on the questions that you would like to answer.
19. About This Account:
This is probably the most important and biggest feature introduced by Instagram, a popular social media platform owned by Facebook. This new feature will allow users to get a better understanding of other user accounts on the platform. Users now will be able to access information such as the joining date of a user on Instagram, the country where the account is based in, accounts with shared followers, the former usernames in the last one year and all the advertisements that the account is currently running.
You can now easily know if the account had different users at some point of time or the types of advertisements that the account is currently running if it is a brand account.
Steps to access the about this account information of an account when you come across one that you would like to know more about:
- To know more about any account that you come across on the platform, you will have to go to the user profile.
- Tap on the “Menu” and then select the “About This Account” option.
20. Shoppable Posts:
Instagram’s shoppable posts were first launched in the United States. It allowed a small number of companies to tag products in their posts. Later in March 2018, Instagram rolled out shoppable posts to more than 45 countries worldwide. In addition to companies, brands and influencers can also make use of this feature to tag products in their posts.
Once you find a shoppable post on the platform you can tap on individual images on the post and you can find the details about the products including the price. And when you click on the product, you will be provided with the companies website from where you can make an online purchase of the product.
This feature is quite useful for brands and companies to market their products on the platform and also provides users with the opportunity to get in touch with brands and companies through the company website provided on the details section of the products. It boosts sales of the products advertised and revenue as well.
21. Instagram Data Download Tool:
If you are someone who likes downloading your social medial platform data to your device for keeping them safe or to view them offline, this new feature introduced by Instagram is perfect for you. You can now export your photos, videos, archived Stories, profile, info, comments, and non-ephemeral messages, for the platform to your device. But it takes quite some time for you to be able to download all the contents from your Instagram depending on the amount of information that you hold on the platform.
Here’s how you can download your Instagram data to your device:
- Launch the Instagram app and navigate to your profile section.
- Look for the more options tab located at the top and tap to expand it.
- Select the setting option located at the bottom of the screen.
- On the Security tab, you will find the “Download data” feature. Tap on it and you will be asked to enter your registered email address.
- Enter your email address and click on the “Request Download” button to download your Instagram data.
All the above-listed updates and features are quite interesting and prove useful at the same time. You will start seeing Instagram with a new perspective once you get to know all these features. There is no doubt that Instagram is trying its best to woe its users with the best possible service that they can offer.
Instagram is a go-to socializing app for most of the teenagers and youths. It is equally popular among users of other age groups. Users find it quite fun to be on the platform. The platform offers a wide variety of features and services from across different socializing platforms such as Snapchat, TikTok, etc. But the majority of their features are borrowed from its parent company Facebook. Instagram is known to roll-out new updated and new features more frequently than any other platform.
Instagram allows users to be expressive but not as expressive as TikTok. You can still do a lot more on the platform without being over-expressive such as add stories, share it with your friends or to everyone. The platform is safer and consists of a healthy bunch of users from around the world making it a great marketing platform. You can find a huge diversity of content on the platform.