After successfully cloning Snapchat's Stories, Instagram is pushing hard to break into the next market. Not too long ago, it introduced its TikTok copy Reels, which is currently rolling out to users worldwide. To put the new format front and center, Instagram has formally announced that it will now get a fixed place in the bottom bar along with a new Shop section.
The Reels section gets the spot of the new post button of old, and the Shop tab replaces the heart-shaped activity icon. The two older shortcuts remain available, though: They've been moved to the top right corner of the app bar, next to the DM/Messenger button. Some other variations have been floating around earlier, including one where the search button was put up top.
The new Shop section isn't a full-blown integrated online shop. Instead, it lets you browse through a brand's products and gives you a "View on Website" shortcut that links to a store. You'll also find celebrities and influencers in this section to "get inspired" by them, as Instagram puts it. Additionally, you'll find personalized recommendations, editors' picks, shoppable videos, and new product collections.
There are also minor revisions to the iconography and the app design. The gray status and navigation bars are now white in light mode, blending in with the rest of the interface. The Instagram logo has grown in size and the icons have become ever-so-slightly bolder all over the app.
Left: Old app design. Middle & Right: New design and bottom bar.
The Reels shortcut has been floating around in one way or another, with some users seeing it in the bottom bar and others having some of the looping videos inside search or their timeline. Similarly, the Shop links have long been part of Stories and Explore, helping brands integrate shopping links into posts.
I have the new design, but not the new sections on my OnePlus Nord.
The new bottom bar and the retouched interface is rolling out as a server-side update, so it could take some time until it hits your phone — you might want to try restarting your Instagram app by swiping it away on your Recents screen. Some people also only see the bolder icons and the white status and navigation bar without the new Shop and Reels sections, so the rollout seems to consist of two independent updates.
- Gurkanwal Singh and Armando