How to Create, Share and Watch Instagram Reels

The social network's take on short videos

What to Know

  • Create: In Instagram, tap the Camera icon. Set the horizontal scrolling menu to Reels. Record (or upload) a video. Add effects and share.
  • Share: Add to your story or tap the message icon, select followers and choose Send, or tap the three-dot menu and select Copy Link.
  • Watch: Watch users' stories. View users' Reels tab on their profiles. Tap any reel to view it.

This article explains how to create, share and watch Reels, 60-second videos that can be set to music and posted to your Instagram Stories feed.

How to Create Instagram Reels

Follow these instructions using the Instagram app for Android or iOS to create your own reel video. The steps are exactly the same for both mobile platforms.

  1. From the main Instagram feed tab, swipe right to access the camera.

  2. The horizontal scrolling menu at the bottom should be set to Story by default. Scroll left so that it's set to Reels instead.

  3. Decide whether you want to film a reel in the app or upload one from your device.

    • To film in the app: Tap the action button to start recording and tap it again to stop recording. Alternatively, tap and hold to record and lift your finger when you want to stop recording.
    • To upload a video: Tap the media icon in the bottom left to select a video from your device.

    Once you choose a video, slide the video viewer along the timeline to get the clip you want or trim it shorter by tapping and dragging on the ends. Then select Add.

    An Instagram user records a new Reel
  4. Use the tools that appear on the left side of the screen to enhance your video and add effects.

    • Music: Tap the music symbol button to select a video clip or alternatively search for one using the search bar at the top. Select the play button to hear it first, then select the song to apply it. You can actually choose the part of the song you want to include by using the audio tool at the bottom to drag the audio selection into place. Tap Done in the top right.
    • Speed: Tap the arrow button to either slow down your video (.3x or .5x) or speed up your video (2x or 3x).
    • Effects: Tap the smiley face icon to scroll through and choose from a number of filter effects (similar to Snapchat filters) at the bottom of the screen. Tap any effect to apply it.
    • Timer: Tap the clock icon to set a timer to choose how long a clip will be. When you go back to your clip, a countdown begins before the clip starts recording.
    • Align: Tap the frames icon to view the end of your last clip and then use the transparent image to align with your next clip.

    You may not be able to access some of the above tools if you've reached the recording limit.

  5. Use the left and right arrows on either side of the record button to go back and forth between clips and tap the trash icon if you want to delete a specific clip. If you don't want to delete any clips, simply tap the right arrow button multiple times until you get to the end of all your clips to view the preview of your reel.

  6. Optionally add extra effects by tapping the stickers button, draw button or text button in the top menu.

    An Instagram Reel being edited, with the various options highlighted
  7. Tap the right arrow button again to get ready to post it.

  8. Type a caption in the caption field and then tap Share to post it to your Reels.

  9. Optionally tap the Stories tab at the top to post it to your Stories.

    An Instagram user can share a new Reel on their feed or add it to their Story

    If you're not ready to post yet, tap Save Draft at the bottom. You can access your saved drafts by tapping the drafts/video icon in the bottom left corner of the main Live/Story/Reels tab.

How to Share Instagram Reels

You can easily share reels with others on Instagram or on the web. Here's how to do it in the app, with a link or with a different app.

  1. To share a reel with your followers on Instagram, tap the Reel icon.

  2. Tap the Share icon next to the reel you want to send to others. You have two sharing options:

    • Select Add reel to your story to post it to your stories; or
    • Choose to send the reel to one of your followers by tapping Send next to their name.
  3. To share a reel with anyone on the web, tap the three dots in the bottom left, then you can tap:

    • Copy Link to copy a hyperlink and paste it anywhere on the web; or
    • Share to to select an app where you want to share it.
    An Instagram user shares a Reel with a follower

Reels also give Instagram users a boost in exposure if they show up in the Reels section on the Explore page.

Where to Watch Instagram Reels

You have to know where to look to find Instagram reels. Here are the two main ways you can browse and view them:

  • Go to a person's profile. If you want to watch a reel from a specific Instagram user, tap on their profile, then tap the reel icon to see all the clips they've posted.
  • Explore the Reels tab. Tap the Reels icon on the home screen to see random clips. This works similarly to the Explore tab.
An Instagram feed and user profile with the Reel icon highlighted
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