Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps worldwide, with over 1 billion monthly active users. The photo and video sharing platform is free to use for iPhone users, with the option for paid features like advertising. This definitive guide covers everything you need to know about using Instagram on an iPhone.
A Brief History of Instagram
Instagram first launched in October 2010 as a mobile app for iOS devices. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and rapidly gained popularity for its easy photo-sharing features. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion.
Some key milestones in Instagram‘s history:
- 2010 – Instagram launches on iOS App Store
- 2011 – Instagram comes to Android devices
- 2012 – Acquired by Facebook for $1 billion
- 2013 – Launches Instagram video sharing
- 2016 – Introduces Instagram Stories
- 2018 – Launches IGTV long-form vertical video
- 2020 – Hits over 1 billion monthly active users
- 2022 – Launches Instagram Subscriptions
Today Instagram is used for sharing photos, videos, Stories, Reels, live videos and more. It has become a key platform for individuals, influencers, businesses and brands.
Is Instagram Free to Use on iPhones?
Yes, Instagram is free to download and use on iPhones, iPads and all iOS devices. You can find the Instagram app on the Apple App Store. It is free to download with no upfront costs.
Once installed, you can sign up for an Instagram account and access all of the core features at no charge:
- Posting photos and videos
- Sharing Stories
- Watching Reels
- Commenting and liking posts
- Following other accounts
- Sending direct messages
- Using filters and editing tools
- Live streaming video
- Accessing public content from any account
There are no subscription fees or charges to use the main Instagram app. The company generates revenue by showing ads and providing paid advertising options to businesses.
Downloading Instagram on iPhone
It only takes a few steps to get Instagram installed on an iPhone or iPad:
- Open the App Store on your iOS device
- Search for "Instagram"
- Tap Get to download Instagram
- Once downloaded, open Instagram from your home screen
- Tap Create New Account or Log In
The Instagram iOS app is supported on iOS 10.0 and above. It is optimized for all iPhone models currently available. You‘ll need an internet connection via WiFi or mobile data to run Instagram.
The app download is around 100MB. Make sure you have enough storage space on your iPhone before installing.
Creating an Instagram Account on iPhone
Here is how to sign up for a new Instagram account on an iPhone:
- Download the Instagram app if you haven‘t already
- Open the app and tap Sign Up
- Enter your email address or phone number and tap Next
- Add your name, username, and password
- Optionally turn on notifications and share usage data
- Tap Sign up to create your account
Your username will be visible to anyone on Instagram. You can change it later.
Once your account is created, you can start editing your profile, following accounts, posting content and more.
Instagram Account Types
There are 3 main account types on Instagram:
- Personal – For individual users to share personal photos/videos
- Business – For companies and brands to promote themselves
- Creator – For influencers, public figures and content creators
Each account type has the same core features. Business and Creator accounts unlock additional analytics and monetization options like Instagram Shopping and branded content.
You can easily switch between a Personal and Business profile in the app settings. Creator accounts must meet eligibility requirements for verification.
Key Features of Instagram on iPhone
Instagram offers a wide range of features to help you share photos, videos and messages. Here are some of the most popular capabilities:
- Photo Feed – Post photos and videos to your profile feed.
- Stories – Share daily moments that disappear after 24 hours.
- Reels – Create fun 15-30 second video clips set to music.
- Live – Broadcast live videos to your followers.
- IGTV – Post long-form vertical videos up to 60 minutes.
- Shopping – Tag products from your online store and sell them directly.
- Filters – Edit images with filters and creative tools.
- DMs – Send private messages to friends or groups.
- Hashtags – Use hashtags so your posts can be discovered.
The iOS app provides full access to these and other Instagram features.
Differences Between iOS and Android Apps
The core Instagram experience is similar across iOS and Android. However, there are some differences between the platform apps:
|Stories Camera||Uses device camera API for higher quality||Screenshots display instead of camera|
|IGTV Uploads||Up to 60 minutes||Up to 15 minutes|
|Filters||Wider selection of filters||Smaller filter selection|
|Video Editing||More editing tools and options||Fewer editing capabilities|
|Notifications||More customizable notification settings||Basic on/off notification toggle|
In general, the iOS Instagram app provides a more polished experience and advanced features. But the Android app covers all the necessities.
Viewing Instagram Without an Account on iPhone
You don‘t need an Instagram account to view public profiles and posts on iPhone. Here‘s how:
- Open Safari web browser on your iPhone
- Go to instagram.com/username of any public profile
- Tap posts to view photos and videos
- Use search bar to find posts by hashtag or location
This provides read-only access without an account. You won‘t be able to like, comment, message, save or share anything.
Instagram Ads and Paid Features
Instagram offers powerful advertising and commerce capabilities through paid features:
- Advertisements – Promoted photo/video ads targeted to your desired audience.
- Shopping – Sell products directly on your Instagram profile.
- Boosted Posts – Pay to increase reach and engagement on specific posts.
- Subscriptions – Offer exclusive content to subscribers for a monthly fee.
- Badges – Earn money from fans through paid badges on live videos.
- Branded Content – Get paid by brands to promote their products.
These provide ways for businesses, creators and influencers to monetize their Instagram presence. Most require setting up an Instagram Business or Creator account.
Instagram Subscriptions on iOS
In January 2022, Instagram launched a Subscriptions feature for creators to offer exclusive content and experiences to their followers for a monthly fee:
- Pricing – Creators can choose their own monthly subscription price.
- Exclusive Content – Subscribers get access to exclusive Stories and Live videos.
- Community – Subscriber group chats and badges provide a closer connection.
- Monetization – Creators earn monthly income based on their subscriber count.
Subscriptions are processed through in-app purchases. iOS users can subscribe by going to a creator‘s profile and tapping the green Subscribe button.
Troubleshooting Instagram on iPhone
Here are some tips if you run into issues using Instagram on your iPhone:
- Check for Instagram app updates in the App Store
- Reinstall the Instagram app
- Restart your iPhone
- Ensure you have a stable internet connection
- Try connecting on mobile data vs WiFi
- Disable VPN if enabled
- Reset phone network settings
- Contact Instagram support if issues persist
Reinstalling the app, restarting your device, and ensuring a strong internet connection will resolve most problems.
Instagram on iPhone vs Android
While the core Instagram experience is similar, there are a few differences to note between using Instagram on iPhone vs Android:
|Photo Quality||Higher resolution||Slightly lower resolution|
|Stories Camera||Native camera API||Screenshot from display|
|Filters||More editing options||Fewer filters available|
|Notifications||More customization||Basic notification settings|
|Video Upload||60 minute IGTV limit||15 minute IGTV limit|
|Design||More polished look and feel||Less consistency in design|
In general, the iPhone app provides higher photo/video quality, more advanced editing tools, better notifications, and a more refined design. But core functionality remains the same.
Pros and Cons of Instagram for iPhone
- Free to download and use
- Built-in camera provides high-resolution photos/videos
- Editing tools and wide selection of filters
- More customizable notifications and settings
- Supports longer IGTV video uploads
- Streamlined and user-friendly interface
- Can consume battery and mobile data quickly
- No iPad optimized app
- Can be distracting and addictive
- Privacy concerns being owned by Meta/Facebook
- Teen user base raises safety concerns
Data Privacy and Security on Instagram
Instagram collects large amounts of personal data from its users. Here are some key facts about Instagram and privacy:
- Owned by Meta (Facebook), which has a poor track record on privacy
- Automatically gathers data including usage info, posts, localtion and more
- Uses data for ad targeting and analytics for marketers
- Encourages linking Facebook account for data merging
- Suffers frequent data breaches, hacking and security issues
- Faces many controversies over privacy violations
Users should be cautious about how much personal information they share on the platform. Make use of privacy settings to lock down your account.
Recent Changes and Updates
Some notable changes Instagram has made recently include:
- Chronological Feeds – Letting users switch to chronological order for their feeds.
- Sensitive Content Control – Giving users ability to reduce sensitive content recommendations.
- Verification Reform – Removing public verification badge for personal accounts.
- Age Verification – Requiring users to verify their age when signing up.
- Communities – Allowing users to join interest-based communities.
These updates aim to provide more control over the user experience. But Instagram will likely continue its push into video content and shopping features going forward.
The Future of Instagram on iPhone
Instagram is poised to remain one of the top apps on iPhone for the foreseeable future. Here are some predictions around Instagram‘s future on iOS:
- Pivot toward short-form video and livestreams
- More shopping and ecommerce functionalities
- AR filters and features using Apple‘s ARKit framework
- Closer Instagram/Facebook integration
- Focus on younger demographics like Gen Z creators
- Expansion of subscriptions and monetization
- Advertisements becoming more personalized and prevalent
- Further embracing influencer and viral culture
Expect Instagram on iPhone to keep evolving rapidly, while maintaining its identity as a premier destination for photo and video sharing.
Instagram offers a top-tier photo sharing experience on iPhone, with its class-leading camera support, creative tools, and diverse features. While best suited for visual content, the app provides countless options for engagement and discovery.
The platform does face valid concerns around data privacy, time management, and social pressures. But used mindfully, Instagram can be an effective way to express oneself, connect with others, build communities and even drive business value. Understanding the full capabilities available for free on iPhone is key to getting the most from it.