How to Use Instagram

Three Parts:Installing InstagramUsing the Tabs on InstagramAdding Photos to Instagram

Instagram is a popular social network application that allows you to upload, edit, and caption your own photos. This simple guide shows you how to manage your account, take pictures and use Instagram.

Part 1
Installing Instagram

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    Download the Instagram app. Go to the app store on your device, click on the search button, and type in "Instagram". Scroll until you find the app, select it, and click ‘Install’.
    • If you download the app from iTunes you will have to sync it to your iOS device before you are able to use it.
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    Launch the Instagram app. Tap the Instagram icon (a small camera with rainbow stripes) from your device’s home screen.
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    Create an account. Click the “Sign up” button at the bottom of your screen and enter your email, username, password, phone number (optional), and upload a photo (optional) to create your account. You can choose to add a bit of personal information in the “about” section as well, including a personal website.
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    Follow friends. You can now optionally choose to import contacts and find friends from your contact list, Facebook account, Twitter account, or simply search for names and usernames. Following people allows you to see their posts in your newsfeed, and similar to Twitter, you can follow anyone including people you don’t know personally if you choose. Click “Next” when you are finished.
    • You will be able to add friends at any time from within your account, even after you create your account.
    • You can choose to follow suggested Instagram users by clicking the “Follow” button next to their name. Click “Done” to complete the process and continue directly to your account.[1]
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    Instagram Direct. With Instagram's new update, you can also choose if you want to share your photo with all your followers or just a few. Click on the "Direct" tab, and select the followers you would like to share them with. The picture will not show up in your public feed, and just the users you selected will be able to see your photo.

Part 2
Using the Tabs on Instagram

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    Scroll through your feed. To get to the Feed tab, tap on the icon that looks like a house to the very left of the bottom toolbar. From within the “Feed” tab you can scroll through recent posts by all of the users you are following.
    • Click the refresh button in the top right corner to reload the tab.
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    Look at the Discovery tab, which shows you photos based on what you've liked and followed. The discovery tab is visualized by a magnifying glass icon.
    • To search for users and hashtags, go to the discovery tab and type into the search bar at the top.
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    View your news and updates. Anytime someone likes one of your photos, comments on one of your photos, follows you, or tags you in a photo, you will be notified under your ‘News’ tab. This is the small comment-box icon with a heart in the center, the third tab over. If someone actively likes, comments, or follows you while you are on Instagram, a small orange heart, comment bubble, or profile shape will appear just above your ‘news’ tab.
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    Like and comment other people’s photos. Whether you are scrolling through your news feed or viewing images under the popular tab, you can show your interest by liking or commenting on them. To like a photo, you can either press the heart shaped button just under the photo, or you can double tap the image. To comment on a photo, click the small comment-bubble icon and type your comment when the keyboard appears.
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    View your own profile. To see an archive of your uploaded photos as well as a complete list of who you’re following and who your followers are, you can visit your profile tab on the far right side (a square icon with a bubble and stripes inside of it). Here you can see all your photos, edit your Instagram user profile, and add or disable social networks under “Edit sharing settings”.

Part 3
Adding Photos to Instagram

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    Add your photos to Instagram. Clicking the “Share” tab will allow you to snap photos or select photos from your device’s photo albums.This is the large camera-shaped tab in the center at the bottom of the screen.
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    Take a new photo for Instagram. If you don’t have the photo you want to post in your photo albums, you can take a new photo and upload it directly to Instagram. After clicking the ‘share’ button, click the camera icon in the center to snap a photo. (This requires a device with a camera such as the iPhone or an Android phone.) Click ‘next’ to move onto the next screen.
    • You can also click the small icon on the bottom right to enable and disable your device’s flash, if supported.
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    Upload a photo from your photo albums. Take a great photo already? You can add this by clicking the layered photo icon from the bottom left to select a photo from your photo albums. Scroll through until you find the photo you want to add, and then tap it to select it. Click ‘next’ to move onto the next screen.
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    Edit your photo. Instagram has minimal editing abilities, but it does give you some. You can choose to rotate your photo, add a frame, create a blurring effect, or brighten the photo by selecting each of the corresponding icons (in that order) on the screen. If you decide you don’t like the edits you’ve done, simply click the icon again to revert the edit.
    • You can change the shape of the blurred effect by clicking the icon multiple times - you have the option of blurring the entire image except for a stripe or except for a round space. These can be moved by touching the photo and moving the blurred areas.
    • Frames will only appear if you use a filter from the provided selection.
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    Apply a filter to your photo. Instagram provides multiple filters that you can use to edit your photos. Click on the intertwined squares at the bottom left to choose a picture to work with, then select a filter from the choices that appear. You can only select a single filter, and to test them you simply tap each filter icon and your image will be altered. If you decide you don’t want any filters, the tile on the far left will revert your image back to the ‘normal’ settings. Click ”Next” when you are finished.
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    Add information to your image. Enter a brief description of your photo in the “What?” text input field. You don’t have to include anything, but are only able to add a description before you post the photo. Add hashtags here to provide a searchable query for others to find your photo with.
    • You can also optionally select the “Where?” tab to add location info to your photo.
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    Share your photo outside of Instagram. Click any of the social networks underneath “Sharing” that you want to post your photo on. Enter the username and password associated with your account to link it with your Instagram account. If you don’t want to share your photo anywhere except on Instagram, simply skip this step.
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    Click "Done" to complete the process and post your photo. Your photo will appear in your “Feed” and also the feed of other Instagram users that are following you. It will also be posted to any of the social networks you selected.[2]


  • Don't post violent or inappropriate pictures.
  • If you want to get lots of followers, try taking pictures of you and your friends and unique things. Be different.
  • You can view Instagram on a computer, but you cannot update your account or add photos via the internet. You can only do this from within the app.
  • If you would like to require authorization before other Instagram users can follow you and view your photos, click the “@(YourUserName) tab, scroll to the bottom of the page, and switch the “Photos are private” toggle to ON You will be prompted to confirm the decision, click “Yes, I’m sure”.
  • When commenting on photos, there might be a delay if you have a weak internet connection. Some people just keep pushing send when this happens, but this might cause your account to send the message as many times as you had pushed send. Instead, press dismiss when the dialogue comes up and try again once and if that doesn't work, it's better to try again later.


  • Do not steal or screenshot other peoples photos as it may get your account deleted!
  • Avoid sharing photos containing personal information, especially if you have not configured your Privacy settings adequately. This includes anything with your home address, contact details, etc. (e.g. a picture of your new driver's license).
  • When attempting to add location data to photos, the Instagram app will prompt you to "Allow" or "Don't Allow" access to your device's location information.
  • The Instagram app requires an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad (running iOS 3.1.2 or later) or an Android phone. Ensure that you have a compatible device before attempting to download the application.
  • To share and post photos to social networks you may be required to create an account for the service.

Things You'll Need

  • An iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.1.2 or later or Android device or laptop
  • The Instagram app
  • An Instagram Account/Login
  • An email account

Article Info

Categories: Tech Articles Needing Updating | Instagram