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Hidden portrait mode in Instagram could up your selfie game

Unused code hidden in the Instagram APK points to some sort of portrait mode integration, which would let you put a bokeh effect on your selfies.

Published onMarch 6, 2018

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  • Unused code discovered in the Instagram APK points to a portrait mode feature possibly coming soon to the popular social network app.
  • Using this hypothetical feature, users could add a bokeh effect to selfies and other Instagram images right in the app.
  • The source of information is the same person who found the voice and video call code in the Instagram app last week.

At the end of last week, we posted some exciting news about the potential of Instagram integrating voice and video calling into its app. The source of that information was the Instagram app itself; unused code buried in the APK points to a future rollout of such a service.

Now, Ishan Agarwal, the enterprising individual who discovered that hidden voice and video calling code, has found some new code that points to Instagram supporting portrait mode in photos.

Portrait mode is a popular feature in the camera apps of newer smartphones, like the Google Pixel 2, the Motorola Moto X4, and the OnePlus 5T, among others. It digitally creates a bokeh effect, focusing on one aspect of a still photograph and blurring out the background. Traditionally, this kind of effect could only be done with professional-grade gear like DSLR cameras, but advancements in software and hardware within smartphones enables a digital facsimile.

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If Instagram supported this feature in the native app, it would enable users to create bokeh photos within the app itself, rather than taking a picture with their phone’s native camera app and then uploading that pic to Instagram. Eliminating that extra step would certainly make things easier.

Since Instagram is all about photography, it makes a ton of sense for it to introduce this feature. However, the discovery of the unused code doesn’t mean that the feature is coming soon or at all. Sometimes developers will put code into APKs for testing purposes. If the function doesn’t pan out, they just remove the code later on.

With the portrait mode trend pretty hot right now, it seems unlikely that Instagram would insert this code and not use it. If the company can figure out a simple way to integrate portrait mode into the user experience, it would undoubtedly put it one more step ahead of rival Snapchat, which isn’t doing so hot right now.

Would you be excited about an Instagram portrait mode feature? Let us know in the comments.

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