Instagram Redesigns Its Mobile Messaging Platform


Instagram continues to improve its exclusive tool, Threads, for messaging. The company updated the app last month to allow the users to contact anyone, instead of just “personal friends,” as was once done by its other messaging app, Direct. Today, Instagram is launching a redesigned version with an improved navigation and Status tab of the Threads app, as well as support for uploading images and videos to your Instagram story.

The changes resolve some of the Threads’ limitations in user experience. While the app provided a way to change your status or even update it automatically, it was difficult to switch between the various parts of the app depending on your location.

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The redesign intends to make it easier for users of Threads to view and communicate with the status of friends and their Stories, or turn back to the Camera app or their messaging inbox easily via a new navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. Starting on November 19, this navigation update, which adds the Status tab, will go live globally, says Instagram.

As of today’s update, the more recent improvement to the inbox, which introduced a new tab for Everyone Else is also now globally available.

Moreover, Instagram says Threads users can now take a picture or video and post it directly in the Threads app with their Instagram Story, in addition to just their Close Friends Story. This started to roll out last month, with the different inbox tabs being introduced. Everybody should have this function available now, too.

These changes reflect another step away from Threads being an app-only intended to be used to keep with close friends.

The Threads updates follow a period of redesign for the mobile messaging app family of Facebook, including Messenger and Instagram itself which in recent weeks saw another series of updates to its own inbox. Yesterday, Facebook revealed that there were more features available that were part of the major redesign of the Instagram messaging experience, including an improved co-watching feature, Watch Together, which now enables users to watch IGTV, Reels, and TV shows together through video chat in real-time.

Chat themes, including a new one that featured characters representing the seven BTS members, were also rolled out. For users who have updated their messaging experience on Instagram, the company announced cross-app contact with Messenger in September. This update included the ability, among other new features, to adjust your chat color, to answer with any emoji. Vanish mode is still about to hit Instagram, but Facebook said it should arrive soon.

Such modifications, based on the flagship apps of Facebook, may have left some wondering what will become of Threads, an app that has not gone mainstream. The app was ranked No. 66 in the Picture & Video category in the U.S. at the time of publishing. App Store, and No. 1,031 Overall. But as these latest efforts indicate, Instagram is continuing to tweak the user interface on Threads, in an attempt to appeal to those who often use Instagram for messaging.

To be clear, before today’s launch, some users may have had access to the new features, but they are now widely accessible.

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