What is Byte and How Does it Work?

The short-form video app that's also known as the new Vine

Looking for an alternative to TikTok? Try Byte.

What is Byte?

Byte is a short-form video app from the creator of Vine that’s available for Android and iOS. The premise is simple: Users create 6-second looping video clips and share them with their followers.

You can upload a video you’ve already shot to the app or create clips using the built-in camera. Likewise, you can also download videos you like and share then on other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

While Vine had very little competition when it launched in 2012, Byte arrives in a more crowded marketplace, with TikTok as one of its biggest rivals. The biggest thing Byte has going for it is the nostalgia factor. Vine, its now-defunct predecessor, is much loved. That app has lived on in a way through compilation videos posted to YouTube and other video sites.

What Does the Byte App Do?

Once you sign up for Byte (all you need is a Google account to connect it to), you can start viewing and posting video clips. You also have a profile, which can include a picture, display name, and an about section. If you don’t add a display name, other users will only see your username. Once you start posting videos, those will also appear on your profile.

The app also curates content for you. Tap the magnifying glass icon, and you’ll see a bunch of categories, including Popular Now, Comedy, Animation, Pets, and Food. While viewing videos, you can Rebyte stuff you like (similar to a retweet on Twitter) and share content via messaging, email, other social media apps, or download it to your phone.

When you share a Byte video with someone via text message, they can view the video right from their messaging app. If they have a Byte account, tapping the video will open up the app.

Byte app interface.

You can also flag content for different reasons, including you don’t like it, it’s stolen, it’s spammy, or it’s harmful. If you select "I don’t like it," you're prompted to block the user. If you select another reason, you’ll have to tap through a few screens to complete the report.

Users can also like and comment on videos. The app prompts you to "say something nice," which is a neat touch. To follow someone, tap their username. That brings you to their profile page with a follow button the top right.

The company plans to roll out a partner program in which creators can earn money from the app.

What Happened to Vine?

Founded in 2012, Vine quickly became a hit. Four months after its launch, Twitter acquired the six-second looping video app. Four years later, Twitter discontinued the app, due in part to increasing competition. At the end of 2017, Dom Hofmann, a co-founder of Vine, announced that a successor was in the works; Byte officially launched in early 2020 after a closed beta period.

Who Are Byte's Competitors?

Byte's direct competition three of the most popular short-form video platforms available. Here are the key differences:

  • Instagram Reels: 15-second clips; built into the Instagram social network.
  • TikTok: 15-second clips; can link multiple clips together for up to 60 seconds.
  • Triller: up to 60-second clips; 16-seconds is the default.