12 Instagram Tips and Tricks to Try

Some helpful ways to enhance your Instagram experience

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

Instagram is one of the largest and most popular social networks, but it has to continuously change and adapt to keep users interested. Gone are the days when it was just a simple little app for sharing photos with vintage filters. Today, it has all sorts of hidden features that aren't so discoverable through casual use. Here are 12 Instagram tricks and tips you need to know.

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See Who Unfollowed You on Instagram

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Automatically Filter Inappropriate Comments

his young person is hiding behind a false identity and is acting like a troll online.

 RichVintage / Getty Images

We all know that trolls love Instagram. Just take a look at any post from a user with over 10,000 followers and you're almost guaranteed to stumble across at least one very mean comment.

Instagram now allows users to hide inappropriate comments by filtering out certain customizable keywords. To use this feature, navigate to your user settings from your profile, scroll down through your options, and tap Comment Controls under the Settings section to block comments from specific users, hide offensive comments, and manually create filters for specific words or phrases.

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Pause, Rewind, Fast Forward, and Skip Through Stories

Jump backward icon abstract digital design blue background

 BlueJay / Getty Images

The introduction of Stories was quite the gutsy move for Instagram. Like Snapchat, they're meant to be over in a few seconds. If you turn your head or zone out while watching a story, you could miss out on the content.

Lucky for you, you don't have to watch a story all over again if you miss it. To pause a story, just tap and hold. To rewind, tap the top left of the screen (beneath the user's profile photo and username). To fast forward through a user's multiple stories, just tap the screen. And to skip an entire user's stories, swipe left.

You can also repost an Instagram story to your own audience if it makes sense.

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Mute Stories From Specific Users You Follow

Young woman with tape on her mouth.

solidcolours / Getty Images

The thing about Instagram is that it's too easy and enticing to follow hundreds (possibly even thousands) of users, making it difficult to find the stories worth watching. But if you don't want to unfollow the users whose stories you're not interested in, what can you do?

Instagram allows you to mute any user's stories so they won't show up in your feed. Just tap and hold any user's little profile photo bubble in the Stories feed and select the mute option from the menu that pops up at the bottom of the screen. This fades their bubble and pushes it to the very end of the feed, which you can navigate to and unmute any time you want.

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Allow Messages on Stories Only From Followers You Follow Back

Image of a catfishing message on Instagram

 Tero Vesalainen\Getty Images

By default, Instagram allows all of your followers to reply to your stories. If you have a very popular account and aren't interested in being bombarded by a flood of messages from a bunch of complete strangers, you can change this setting.

Access your user settings from your profile and select Story Settings under the Account section. Here, you can set your message replies up so that only followers you follow back can reply. Alternatively, you can turn them off completely.

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Hide Your Stories From Specific Users

A woman resharing an Instagram Story with the iPhone Instagram app in a cafe.

hocusfocus/iStock/GettyImagesPlus

If your Instagram account is public, anyone can see your stories if they navigate to your profile and tap your photo. You also may have certain followers who you don't want to see your stories for whatever reason. Go to your Story settings to enter the usernames of people you want to hide your stories from. You can also hide your stories from any user when you're on their profile by tapping the three dots in the top-right corner of their profile and selecting the Hide Your Story option from the menu that pops up.

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Open Boomerang or Layout From Within Instagram

Boomerang From Instagram app

Boomerang and Layout are two of Instagram's other apps you can download for free and use to enhance your photo posts. Boomerang lets you create a GIF-like post with short, subtle movements (but no sound) while Layout lets you combine several photos as a collage into one post.

If you have these apps downloaded on your device already, you can access them from within Instagram. When you tap the Camera tab in Instagram to upload a new photo or video from your library, look for the little Boomerang icon (resembling an infinity sign) and the Layout icon (resembling a collage) in the post viewer, which takes you straight to either one of those apps.

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Sort Your Filters to Put Your Favorite Ones First

Instagram edit tools
Instagram edit tools. Evi Abeler

Instagram currently has lots of different filters to choose from. Many users tend to favor just a couple, and it can be a pain to scroll through them to find your favorite one when you're in a rush to post something. You can sort your filters so the ones you use the most are right there at the beginning. Just scroll to the very end of the filter menu and tap the Manage box that appears at the end. You can hide certain filters altogether by unchecking them, or you can drag and drop the ones you like best to the top of the list.

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Turn on Post Notifications for Posts From Specific Users

Instagram logo

Instagram

Whether you follow too many users and don't always make it all the way through your feed or you always want to be among the first to see a specific person's post as soon as possible, you can set up notifications every time they post to avoid missing anything.

To turn on post notifications, tap the three dots that appear in the upper right corner of any user's post or on their profile and select Turn On Post Notifications. You can turn them back off any time you want.

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Share a Post by Direct Messaging One or Multiple Users

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When it comes to letting your friends know about another user's post you want them to see, the general trend is to tag them in a comment. The friend receives a notification that they were tagged in a post so they can check it out.

The problem with this trend is that friends who receive lots of likes and comments and follows may not see that you tagged them in a post you want them to see. A better way to share someone else's post with them is by direct messaging them with it, which is easy to do by tapping the arrow button beneath any post and selecting the friends you want to send it to.

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Switch From a Personal Profile to a Business Profile

A picture of someone holding up a smartphone showing an Instagram profile.
A smartphone showing an Instagram profile.

Like Facebook Pages, Instagram now has profiles for businesses where you can market to your audience and engage with them. If you already use a regular Instagram profile to market your business or organization, you don't have to create a whole new account—you can immediately change it into a business account.

Access your user settings from your profile and tap Switch to Business Profile under the Account section. You can only do this if your profile is public. A business account puts a contact button at the top of your profile and gives you access to analytics so you can see exactly how your Instagram marketing is paying off.

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See a Feed of Posts You Previously Liked

Instagram Likes
Photo Muchomor / Getty Images

One of the main interactive features of Instagram is, of course, the heart button. Tap that heart (or double-tap on the post) to let the poster know you liked it. But what if you want to return to a certain post you previously liked and can't remember where to find it? Instagram doesn't have a separate section for likes unlike other social networks like Twitter. You can access them, though, if you know how. Go to your profile > Settings > Account > Posts You've Liked.

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Zoom in on a Post for a Closer Look

Hand holding a magnifying glass
Grab the metaphorical magnifying glass to find even tiny emails in macOS Mail. StockUnlimited

Instagram is primarily used on mobile devices, and sometimes those small screens really don't do photos and videos justice. That's why Instagram decided to introduce a zoom feature. Just pinch your index finger and thumb on the area of the post you want to zoom in on and widen them apart on the screen.

You can also do this to zoom in on Boomerang posts and on videos.