Instagram has launched a bumper crop of new features to mark its 10th birthday, including a hidden menu that lets you change the icon on your iPhone and Android to the classic “camera” or a number of other limited-time options. Not only that, but there is a private “Stories Map,” which lets Instagram users revisit highlights from the Stories you’ve shared over the last three years – that’s almost the entire time that Instagram has offered the feature.
But, let’s be honest, the most exciting part of this blockbuster “Birthday Update” are the new icons. Remember the furore four years ago when Instagram ditched the Polaroid-like camera from its iOS and Android app icon in favour for the swirl of purple and orange colours with that simple line drawing? Yeah, things got pretty ugly.
Well, Instagram has finally relented and allowed you to switch back to the classic icon. And that’s not all, Instagram has also included the first app icon ever designed for the photo-based social network which premiered on an early beta version of the app that was never available to download worldwide.
It’s a neat little insight into the history of the Instagram icon and how the design has evolved over the years.
If you do prefer the look of the current icon, that’s not a problem. Instagram has also included a number of colour tweaks to help iOS and Android users customise their homescreen. The new shades include orange, yellow, green, purple, black, white and more. There’s also a rainbow-coloured Pride icon.
Anyone who wants to change the app icon needs to load-up the app, tap on the icon in the lower right-hand corner of the app to see your own profile, and then hit the three-lines in the top right-hand corner. This launches a new menu from the bottom of the screen. Tap Settings (it should be at the very top of the list) and then drag from the top of the menu down to the bottom. You should start to see a number of emojis – hinting that something exciting is hidden beyond the usual menu – keep dragging until confetti explodes across the menu.
As soon as that has happened, Instagram will load a secret menu with all of the new icon variations.
Meanwhile, the new Stories feature is a little easier to find. This introduces a private map and calendar of the Instagram Stories you’ve shared over the last three years, so you can revisit some of your favourite moments. Given the ephemeral nature of Instagram Stories, the ability to dredge-up three-year-old posts might surprise some users, however, it seems that your old posts have not been deleted from Facebook’s servers.
This is not the first time Instagram has pulled older Stories to build out a new feature. For example, Instagram’s “Story Highlights” introduced in 2017 allowed users to create a permanent home for some of their favourite content, which lives on users’ profiles – just above the grid.
Another new feature included in the “Birthday update,” is timed to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month. This will automatically hide comments that Instagram’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems believe to be similar to other comments that have already been reported as inappropriate. These comments will still be visible under the label “View Hidden Comments” – as they haven’t been flagged by the moderators – should you want to see what’s been removed from the main comment feed.
The updated app is available across iOS and Android right now, so head to the respective app store to get the latest version.