Instagram’s latest additions are music to users’ ears
Instagram’s latest additions are music to users’ ears
Image: 123RF / prykhodov

Hot on the heels of Instagram’s groundbreaking IGTV, it has introduced a background music feature, which allows you to add a soundtrack to your stories. This might seem ordinary but we have to acknowledge it is the only social media app that has done this.

Snapchat users can play music in the background of uploads but they have to access the music through apps or other streaming sites. Instagram doesn’t have this drawback and allows you to access thousands of songs. Once you drag and drop this new sticker into your stories, you will be allowed to choose any music from Instagram’s selection. You can also choose which part of the song you want in your stories and record once the video starts playing.

For now, this feature is only available on iOS and in selected countries (sources at The Verge say this is presumably based on where Instagram could get licenses for the music) but it isn’t a bad starting point for such an exclusive feature.

Just when we thought Instagram couldn’t take the app any further, more updates are streaming in:

Instagram Lite is another recent addition. It is 1/55th the size of the normal app and is aimed at users who have limited data or storage space on their devices. With it, you can view stories and post photos but not upload videos or directly message friends. Unfortunately, Instagram Lite users won’t be able to use IGTV. For now, this sneaky way of attracting more users and keeping them on the “Gram” for just a few more hours is Android exclusive.

The new 4-way group-chat feature brings us closer to our friends. You can video chat with up to four friends on each call - and you can minimise the tab and browse the rest of Instagram while you chat. Users can be added while the call is in progress, instead of having to log in everyone from the beginning. This is a great way to balance your social media time with your real-life friendships, while keeping your blocked contacts out of your DMs and call logs.

The “You’re All Caught Up” feature is there for those of us who scroll far down into our IG feeds. Frequent users often end up scrolling into feeds they’ve already seen. This new feature is there to tell you when you have seen all the new posts and can stop browsing. Instagram’s feeds are still not chronological, which is why this feature was set up. With this feature in your pocket, you won’t have to worry about mindless browsing and confusion about seen and unseen posts.  It is available for all iOS and Android users.

We’ve got one more new Instagram feature to share and this one is a bit ironic, considering the above features which tempt us to stay on for longer. If you’re trying to keep off Instagram, the “do not disturb” app has just been released to assist you in your struggle. With it, you can mute their notifications for a period of time and can decide when you want to switch this feature off.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says they’re “building tools to help the IG community know more about the time they spend on Instagram - any time should be positive and intentional”. We hope this is true - and we do see their efforts to build a closer community.

Instagram is pulling ahead of the competition and shows no signs of slowing down. For those of you who are already Instagram-addicted, we hope these features will enhance your experience - or at least give you more to reflect on.

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