In Depth

Instagram redesign: all the new features in the latest update

Photo sharing app adds iOS 13 ‘dark mode’ and ditches ‘Following’ tab

A major update has been released for Instagram on smartphones and tablets, bringing with it a revamped design and a host of usability improvements.

The update, which began rolling out yesterday afternoon, introduces a new look that’s designed to work with the latest versions of Apple and Google’s mobile operating systems, as well as a vastly improved camera mode.

There have also been tweaks that improve privacy, as users will no longer be able to monitor their followers’ likes and comments. 

Here are the key new features and how to manually update the app:

What’s new?

The most notable difference, particularly for iPhone users running the latest iOS 13 software, is the addition of a new “dark mode” function. As the name suggests, it switches the app’s white background for a black backdrop with dark grey panels at the top and bottom of the display. 

The mode is activated automatically for smartphone owners using a dark theme for the mobile’s background, says 9to5Google. Apple introduced dark mode with iOS 13, which launched last month, while Google added the option to its Android devices last December. 

Users will also notice that the app’s built-in camera mode has also been reworked. Older versions of the app had the shutter button at the bottom of the screen, with different filters and effects “tucked away as small icons”, The Sun notes.

Now, in a similar fashion to Snapchat’s interface, users can flick through “loads of cool filters” and “animations” by simply swiping across the display, the paper says. There’s also a new “Create” feature, where users can “quickly find GIFs, countdowns, polls and memories”.

The “Following” tab, described by TechCrunch as a feature that “became better known as a stalking tool than one to aid with new account discovery”, gets the axe in the update. The feature let users track the activity of people they followed, such as which pictures a person liked and who’s following who.

“It was often a place where ‘micro-cheating’ activity was caught,” the tech site says. “That is, it could reveal when a person in a committed relationship was spending just a little too much time liking someone else’s posts.”

How do you update Instagram?

Those who have automatic app updates activated won’t have to worry about installing the latest version of Instagram. But for those who don’t, here are the steps you need to follow:

For iPhone, iPod and iPad users, head to the App Store on the device and press on the account image in the top right-hand corner of the display. Once there, scroll down and press the update button next to the Instagram logo. 

On Android devices, go to the Play Store and click on the three horizontal lines next to the search bar at the top of the screen. Once there, select My Apps, then press the update button next to Instagram. 

If the option to update the app doesn’t appear, it could mean that the new software has already been installed or your device is too old to run the upgrade.

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