Skip to main content

Instagram adds two new rather significant video features in quiet update

instagram stories explore users
Gannon Burgett
Yesterday, Instagram released an app update for both iOS and Android users — and while the quiet announcement may seem minor in the wake of the addition of the Snapchat-esque Stories, the update adds two pretty significant video features to the app’s camera.

The update now allows users to zoom while recording a video by swiping up or down. The feature is similar to what Snapchat has had for over a year, but it’s new to Instagram’s 3-to-60 second video clips. The feature was added to both the iOS and Android versions.

Apple users get one more feature — during a recording, users can double tap the screen to switch between the cameras. That means users can swap from the front-facing selfie camera to the back camera, shooting both themselves and something else of interest in the same clip.

While the update was a quiet one — without even an official Instagram blog post announcing the changes — the change could be a significant one for users that use the app’s built-in camera to shoot video.

The update is one of several changes the platform has made lately that are rather similar to Snapchat’s features. Earlier this month, Instagram introduced Stories, which, unlike a traditional post, allows users to post several things from their day, and it disappears after 24 hours — a sort of over-sharing protection that’s not unlike Snapchat Stories. The earlier update even allows users to draw on their photos, a characteristic Snapchat trait.

While Instagram’s traditional posts remain for the big moments, the Stories feature is designed for a more casual sharing, which is one of Snapchat’s defining traits.

Both the mid-recording swap between front and rear cameras and the option to zoom while recording were features introduced on Snapchat last year.

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
Meta plans to bring Avatars to Reels and video chat
A Meta Connect 2022 screenshot showing Mark Zuckerberg avatar.

Meta has announced further plans to expand one of its VR features to its other social media and messaging apps.

On Tuesday, during the keynote of its Meta Connect 2022 event, the parent company of Facebook announced that it would be working on bringing its Horizon social VR avatars to Reels, WhatsApp, and Messenger.

Read more
TikTok pivots to photos while its competitors are still chasing its viral videos
Smartphone with TikTok's Photo Mode all on a white background.

TikTok's competitors have been all over the news recently for essentially copying the short-form video sharing app's  most successful moves. But while everyone else is pivoting to video, TikTok is now taking swings in the other direction: photos.

On Thursday, TikTok announced a slew of new editing and creation features, but the one tool that caught our eye was Photo Mode. Because the image that TikTok shared in its official announcement depicted a photo carousel-style image post that looks a lot like Instagram.

Read more
Get ready: there could be more ads in Instagram’s future
Instagram app on the Google Play Store on an Android smartphone.

It's possible that Instagram users will see more ads in their favorite photo- and video-sharing app going forward as parent company Meta is apparently experimenting with new kinds of ads.

MarketWatch reported on Tuesday that Meta announced that Instagram would see "three new advertising types." These new ad types are Explore ads, profile feed ads, and the third type was described as a "multi-advertiser ad."

Read more