How to Use Instagram

Get started with this popular social platform

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

Instagram is a popular social app known for its easy photo and video sharing features. Less cumbersome than Facebook, Instagram's intuitive feel draws scores of younger users. Still, business accounts, brands, and users of all ages are jumping on board. Here's what you need to know to get started with Instagram.

Download Instagram and Create an Account

The first thing you'll need to do is download the Instagram app for your iOS or Android device. While you can access Instagram on a desktop, functionality is limited, and Instagram is optimized for a mobile experience.

After you download Instagram on your mobile device, create an account. Here's how it works.

  1. Launch Instagram and tap Create New Account. (On an Android device, tap Sign up With Email or Phone Number.)

    If you have a Facebook account, you have the option of selecting Log in With Facebook.

  2. Choose to register with a phone number or email address. Tap Phone and then enter your phone number, or tap Email to enter an email address. Tap Next when you're finished.

    Create an Instagram account with an email or phone number
  3. Instagram sends a confirmation code by email or text. Enter the code and select Next.

  4. Add your name and select Next.

  5. Create a password and select Next.

    Enter a confirmation code, your name, and create a password for your Instagram account.
  6. Add your birthday and select Next.

    This information isn't used as part of your profile. Instagram wants to confirm whether you're over 13, which is the required age.

  7. You created your Instagram account. Tap Next to find people to follow.

  8. Tap Connect to Facebook to find Facebook friends who are on Instagram, or tap Skip to skip this step.

    Add your birthday and choose whether or not to add Facebook accounts as Instagram friends

    Instagram doesn't add Facebook friends to your Instagram account automatically. You choose which Facebook friends to follow on Instagram.

  9. Tap Search Your Contacts to find friends who are on Instagram, or tap Skip to skip this step.

  10. Tap Add a Photo to add your profile photo, or tap Skip to skip this step.

    Add contacts as potential Instagram friends and add a Profile phoeo
  11. Instagram suggests accounts you may like to follow. Tap Follow next to anyone you want to follow. Tap Find to find Facebook friends. Tap Next to continue.

  12. You can start posting. Instagram keeps suggesting accounts to follow.

    Add followers to your Instagram account as part of the account creation process

    By default, Instagram photos are set to public so that anyone can view your posts. It's easy to change it to private.

How to Navigate Your Instagram Feed

After you create your Instagram account, have some followers, and follow other accounts, here are the basics of navigating your Instagram feed.

  1. When you open Instagram, you're automatically on your Home page, indicated by a house icon on the bottom menu. Your Home page is also called your Instagram feed. It's where you'll see and scroll through posts of people and accounts you follow.

  2. From the bottom menu, tap Explore to go to the Explore page. Instagram presents you with accounts you may like.

    Instgrams's Home page and Explore page
  3. From the bottom menu, tap Reels to see short, entertaining, and trending videos.

    From the bottom menu, tap Reels to see short, entertaining, trending videos.

    Instagram's Reels feature is similar to TikTok.

  4. From the bottom menu, tap Shop to see curated product collections that you may find interesting.

    From the bottom menu, tap Shop to see curated product collections you may be interested in perusing.
  5. From the bottom menu, tap your profile picture or icon to see your previous posts, edit your profile, access the accounts you follow and who follow you, and more.

    From the bottom menu, tap your profile picture or icon to see your previous posts, edit your profile, access the accounts you follow and who follow you, and more.
  6. At the top of the screen, tap the plus sign to add a new post.

  7. Tap the heart to see your follow requests, follow suggestions, and comments and likes on your posts.

    Tap Plus to add a post and tap Heart to see your activity
  8. Tap the direct message icon (looks similar to the Facebook Messenger icon) to see a history of your direct messaging activity. Tap Compose (looks like a pen and pad) to start a new message, then select a recipient and tap Chat.

    Start a direct message with another Instagram user

    Tap any of the round thumbnail icons of your friends' profile pictures at the top of your home feed to see their Instagram Story.

How to Engage With Instagram Posts

Here's what to do to interact with the Instagram accounts you follow.

  1. To like a post, tap the heart underneath it.

  2. To comment, tap the speech bubble below the post, type your comment, and then tap Post.

    Like and Comment on an Instagram post
  3. Tap the paper airplane to send the post to someone else. Tap the person you want to share it with, and then tap Send.

    Tap the Paper Airplane to send the post

    If the post is from a public account with sharing enabled, you can share the post to your Instagram story.

How to Post a Photo to Instagram

Here's a look at how to post a photo to Instagram.

  1. From your home feed, tap the plus sign at the top of the screen.

  2. At the bottom, tap Post to post a picture or video.

    Tap Story to create an Instagram Story, tap Reels to create an Instagram Reel, or tap Live to broadcast an Instagram Live stream.

  3. Under Recents, scroll down to select a photo or video from your Photos app. Tap Next when done.

    Add an Instagram post to your account

    Tap Select Multiple to add more than one photo to your post.

  4. Select a filter for the photo, and then tap Next.

  5. Write a caption, then tap Tag People to tag people in the photo.

  6. Optionally, add a location, and share automatically to Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. When you're done, tap Share.

    Add a filter, caption, and tags, and then share your Instagram post

Configure Your Privacy and Security Settings

Like all social networking sites and apps, security is essential. Here are a few tips for adding extra protection to your Instagram account:

  • Make your profile Private instead of Public: By default, all Instagram photos are set to public so that anyone can view your posts. It's easy to change it to private.
  • Delete a photo: To delete one of your photos, tap the three dots next to it, and select Delete.
  • Report a photo: If another user's photo seems inappropriate for Instagram, tap the three dots next to it, and select Report. You can also mute or unfollow the account.
  • Block a userBlock a user to prevent them from following you or seeing your profile. It's easy to unblock someone on Instagram.