One of the most popular camera and photo sharing apps for Android is Instagram — downloaded more than a million times in less than a day when it was launched in April last year. Already a big hit on iOS, Instagram for Android has created a huge ripple among Android users.
Although the app sports simple controls and settings, many users still scratch their heads in wonder as to how the app works and what wonders it can provide.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to use Instagram on Android. It is very easy to set up and it won’t take you long to realize how much of a joy it is to use.
Feel free to skip the post for now, if you like, and jump to our video tutorial at the end of this post.
If you haven’t installed the app yet, download Instagram from the Google Play Store for free.
If you already have an Instagram account, just sign in to your account and start using the app. If you need to create a new account, here are the steps:
You now have an Instagram account! You will be taken to the Home tab where a stream of images from you and from your followed users will appear.
Aside from the stream of pictures on the Home tab, you’ll see five buttons at the screen’s bottom. What are they and what are they for?
The first button is the Home button and takes you home whenever you get lost anywhere in the Instagram app or whenever you just want to start over from the beginning. The Home tab displays photos from the people you follow, as well as your own published photos.
Tap the second button to see the Explore tab where a bunch of awesome photos recently shared by random users are displayed. From there, you can follow other users, especially when photos shared are interesting to you. You can also search for users here by tapping the Search button (magnifying glass icon) and typing in the username or name on the search bar. You can also search for photos with specific tags.
The third button is the heart of Instagram. It opens the Instagram Camera so you can take a photo or select a photo from your gallery, and, thereafter apply filters/effects before sharing the photo to the rest of the world.
Although not shaped like a newspaper, the fourth button opens the News tab, which shows news from the users you follow and of course, notifications from your own account. Interactions made by the people you follow will appear under the Following tab. Friend requests and other interactions related to you are all found under the You tab.
You won’t miss this button at the rightmost part, shaped like a calling card. Tapping this button opens your Profile page, which shows your profile, stats, and your photos. This page is also where you can edit your profile, including changing your profile picture, changing your password, and even changing your username and display name.
To start enjoying the wonders of Instagram, you need to take a photo first or select an existing one from your albums. It doesn’t even end there. You may want to apply filters that complement your awesome photo and then, share it simultaneously to other social platforms. Here’s how all of that happens:
Use prudence and caution when adding photos to your Photo Map; this feature divulges your whereabouts. If there are photos taken in locations that should remain private and you accidentally added them to your Photo Map, worry not. You can edit the photos that show up on your Photo Map. Here’s how to do it:
You can also share your Instagram photo to other apps installed on your device. You can do this by pressing the three-dot icon found below your published photo on the Home screen or on your Profile page. Press Share and the photo will be shared to the app you specified. Some apps will only allow you to share the URL of the photo but some, like Google+, will share the whole photo itself.
Following fellow Instagrammers can be done in several ways. Following users make their photos appear on your Home tab and you’ll also be notified about interactions they may have on Instagram.
See an awesome photo on your Home tab and want tell the author how great it is? How do you do it? There are actually two ways to do so — by liking the photo and/or by leaving a comment.
Liking Instagram photos can be done in two ways. The ordinary way is through pressing the heart button below the photo. Tap on the heart button until it turns red.
The not-so-ordinary way of liking an Instagram photo is through double-tapping on the photo. A heart icon will quickly appear on the photo, signaling that you’ve successfully liked the photo. If you accidentally liked a photo, you can unlike it by pressing heart button again.
There are times when liking a photo is just not enough. Why not throw in a comment instead? Leaving a comment for an Instagram photo is simple. Just tap on the speech bubble icon found beside the heart icon and type away.
Be extra careful when leaving comments because you cannot edit them. The only thing you can do is to delete the comment completely. You can delete comments that you own. But, you can’t delete comments left by other users for a photo that isn’t yours. However, if you are the owner of the post or photo, you can delete any comment for it.
You can delete your comment by pressing the speech bubble icon then tapping on the Edit button at the upper-right corner. Tap on the “X” mark beside your comment, then tap the red Delete button that appears.
Instagram encourages its users to be responsible service users. If you see inappropriate content or a certain user has been spamming you, you have the option to report these to Instagram and authorized agents will immediately take action.
If you find a photo appalling or deem it inappropriate for circulation on Instagram, you can report the photo as inappropriate. Under the photo is the three-dot button. Tap on it to bring out the Report as Inappropriate button. Tap on the button and select a reason why you are reporting the photo as inappropriate. You will receive confirmation upon successfully reporting the photo.
If you are getting annoying spam and/or abusive comments, you can report them to Instagram. Here’s how to go about it:
If you don’t want a particular user to follow you on Instagram, you can block the user entirely so that she or he can’t find you in search results and follow you.
Head to the user’s Profile page and tap on the Options button on the upper right corner. From the popup window, select either to block the user or to report the user for spam.
To unblock a user that you blocked previously, repeat the same steps, but tap “Unblock user” from the popup.
If, for some reason, you want to change your profile photo, name, username, password, and other information, Instagram allows you to freely do so. You can also set your account’s privacy by preventing others from following you without authorization; you can also set your photos to private.
If you don’t want strangers to snoop around your photos, you can set your photos to private. When Photo Privacy is enabled, new followers will need to be authorized by you before they can follow you and view your photos. Here’s how to set your photos to private:
Your photos will now be visible only to people whom you authorize to follow you. The next time someone wants to follow you, you will be prompted to grant her or him approval.
Earlier versions of Instagram for Android didn’t have a dedicated option for clearing
search history. But, this important function arrived a few updates ago. In the past, you’d have to log out and then back in just to clear your search history. But, in recent versions, you’d only need to go to your Profile page, tap the
Options button, and select Clear Search History from the menu. Next time you use the search function, you won’t
see a list of your previously searched usernames or tags.
Instagram newbies realize that the log out button is not very accessible but not hard to access either. You won’t find it on the Home tab. It’s neatly tucked away in the Options menu on the Profile tab.
To log out of Instagram, open the Profile tab. Tap the Options button (three dots). Tap Log Out from the menu. Confirm that you want to log out.
Watch our video tutorial about how to use Instagram for Android:
Instagram is easy to use and easy to love because of its simplicity and function. After setting up an Instagram account and sharing your very first photo, you may find yourself using the app more often than not, especially when you have a lot of friends who also use the app. The charm of Instagram lies in its simplicity and its ability to make photo sharing more interesting and fun than it already is.
What’s your say? Does Instagram tickle your fancy and nudge the inner photographer in you? What filter is your favorite? Let us know your experiences with this most talked about and most preferred photo sharing and social networking app in Android by leaving a comment below.