Instagram added a feature on August 2 called Stories. Instead of posting carefully chosen photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos throughout the day. And at the end of that day, those photos disappear.
That’s because it’s very, very much like Snapchat’s My Story feature. Only, with fewer filters and lenses (at least for now). Here’s how it works.
Making your stories is a lot like Snapchat
Stories are temporary videos or photos that are strung together to form a gallery that, well, tells a story.
Here’s how to create one:
- Tap on the plus button found on the top left-hand side of your homescreen or swipe left in your Feed. You can also quickly launch Stories by swiping right from the main screen.
- Tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video.
- Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as you normally would. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.
- Tap Done to save your Story.
- Tap the check mark button to share to your Story.
While you’re at it, why not use your saved snaps from Snapchat as Stories? After you take a snap, tap the Download button. It will save to your camera roll. Then, open Instagram, start a story and swipe down. A gallery with all of your recent photos will pop up. Tap on your snap and post as usual. You can only use photos that you’ve added to your camera roll in the last 24 hours, so be quick.
The photos and video you chose for your Story will now be a series that people can swipe through for 24 hours. A colorful circle will appear around your profile photo to let your followers know you have a Story for them to view and the profile picture will also pop up at the top of your followers’ Feeds. All they need to do is tap on your face to see your sSory.
If you have a habit of adding things to your social-media accounts that you later regret, good news! Stories can be removed. Tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video you’d like to delete, hit Delete and then confirm.
You can upload photos, Boomerangs and Hyperlapses, too
Any photo you shot (or Boomerang you made) in the last 24 hours can be uploaded to your Story. To upload, swipe down on the screen and choose your videos or photos. You can also choose Hyperlapse content for your Stories, as well.
And yes, there are filters!
Well, not the puppy face you know from Snapchat. Or the rainbow barf. But there is a way to add filters. After shooting a photo or video, swipe across it add a filter. There are seven filters right now, but we expect Instagram to add more later on.
Add stripes and polka dots for more photo fun
Tap on the Drawing Tool, tap on the pointed marker at the top of the screen, choose your color and tap on the three-dots button on the bottom left side of the screen. Toggle the line that appears upward toward the top of the screen. This will make your marker huge. Now, to make polka dots just tap your finger on the photo, wherever you want them to appear.
To make stripes, go through the same steps, but choose the angled marker instead of the pointed marker. Then just tap the screen. Perfect little stripes will appear on your photo.
Flipping through Stories is pretty easy
Navigating through Stories is super easy. While browsing the Stories of your friends, swipe right to go to the previous one, left to go to the next one and tap to skip a photo or video.
There’s a way to hide Stories from frenemies
You can choose who gets to see your Stories and who doesn’t. Want to prevent Mom from seeing your Friday night out, for example? Go to your profile and tap the sun symbol (iOS) or the three dots (Android) in the top right of the screen. Choose Story Settings from the menu and then tap on Hide My Story From. Select your mom from the list and tap Done. Mom will still be able to see your posts and profile, but won’t see your Story.
You can’t comment on Stories, but you can message
You can send a message to your friend directly from that person’s Story. At the bottom left-hand corner of the screen you’ll see Send Message. Tap on it and type out what you would like to say and hit Send. This only works for people who have comments enabled, though.
Keep those haters at bay
You can prevent certain people from commenting on your Story, too. Go to your profile and tap the sun symbol (iOS) or the three dots (Android) in the top right of the screen. In Story Settings, select an option from the list. You can choose Everyone, which will let everyone comment, People You Follow to let just those you follow comment and Off to prevent anyone from commenting.
Save your Stories from disappearing forever
If you’ve become attached to your Story and don’t want it to disappear forever you can download it to your phone. Open your Story and tap on the three dots on the bottom right of the photo or video. Then, tap Save Photo.
Or post them as regular photos
If you decide you want everyone to see your photos or videos more permanently, you can add them to your profile grid.
Simply open your Story, tap the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video and tap Share as Post. You can then add filters, captions and locations to jazz it up a little. Once you’re done, tap Share.
The photo or video will appear in your profile grid. Just beware, whoever can see your profile grid will be able to see the photo or video. It will no longer have special protections that you can add to Stories.
See who’s checking out your Story
Curious to see who’s looking at your story? Open your story and swipe up on the screen. At the bottom of the screen will be a view counter and the names of the people who viewed your Story. Shy about your numbers? Don’t be. Only you can see this information.
If there’s someone viewing your Story and you decide you don’t want that person to see it, just tap the three dots beside the person’s name and select Hide Story From [username].
That’s it — for now
If you remember the first version of Snapchat Stories, it didn’t have all the crazy stickers, geofilters and lenses you’re so used to today. Unless Instagram chooses to stick with a minimalist approach, expect more features to be added later on.