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How to Use Instagram’s New App for Close Friends: “Threads”

Hold the presses: Instagram just announced a brand new standalone messaging app called Threads!

According to Instagram’s announcement, the new app was designed to help you stay connected with your closest friends and includes several appealing features, like the ability to create “statuses” and let your friends know what you’re up to. 

If you like Instagram’s Close Friends feature, you’ll definitely love Threads!

Here’s everything you need to know:

instagram threads

Instagram Threads: Moving from Global to Local

Kevin Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder and former CEO, once said at a conference in 2013, “Our mission is to capture and share the world’s moments.”

Well, that’s certainly how it used to be.

With the launch of Instagram’s new Threads app, the social media giant seems to be moving in the exact opposite direction, favoring localized, interpersonal communication over global dissemination.

Instagram says as much in their announcement of Threads: “Over the last few years, we’ve introduced several new ways to share visually on Instagram and connect with people you care about  from sharing everyday moments on Stories to visual messages on Direct.”

“But for your smaller circle of friends, we saw the need to stay more connected throughout the day, so you can communicate what you’re doing and how you’re feeling through photos and videos.”



We can’t say we’re that surprised. Over the last year-and-a-half, Instagram has launched several new features that were built with small communities in mind — like Close Friends and group Video Chat.

But nothing quite compares to Instagram’s latest venture, which, according to their communication, was built for the sole purpose of providing a “dedicated, private space” to message with close friends. 

How to Use Instagram’s Threads App for Close Friends:

Instagram’s new messaging app Threads is designed to make it easier for you to communicate with your closest friends.

First and foremost, it’s a messaging app that lets you quickly (and privately) share photos or videos with specific friends on Instagram.

When you open the app, you’re immediately met with a camera view that “allows you to add shortcuts, so you can share what you’re doing in just two taps.”

instagram threads app

Even though the app makes creating stories to send to your close friends quicker, it also makes them a lot simpler.

One major feature missing from the Threads app is the ability to add any kind of filters at all – whether that’s an AR filter or just a pretty photo filter.

There’s also only one font option, so this isn’t the app to use if you like to use filters or design creative stories – but that doesn’t mean you should write off the app.

The entire app is built around your Close Friends list, so if you are using that feature and loving it, then this app is great.

When you open the app, it will ask you to pick your people: if you “uncheck” someone from this app, it will also remove them from your close friends list.

If you don’t have a list set up yet, you can make one directly from Threads when you download the app.

instagram threads app

Messages from your close friends list will appear in both Threads and Instagram Direct, which may sound a little confusing at first. What is the point of the app, then?

Since Threads acts like an extension of Instagram’s Close Friends feature, the app is like an extra special DM inbox filled with just your favorite friends.

Instead of having to check Instagram all the time, where you might get distracted by other messages or endless scrolling, Threads allows you to stay focused on your real friends and respond quicker to their messages.

instagram threads app
Depending on how much you use Instagram messaging, you might find it hard to keep up with all of your DMs, or you might have Instagram notifications turned off on your phone.

With Threads, you get a special notification (a cool feature is that you can pick the color of your app icon and notifications) that is separate from Instagram.

After using the app for a few days, we asked Taylor from Later whether it was worth downloading: “Instagram’s ‘Close Friends’ feature is my personal favorite part of Instagram, so I am actually loving this app for staying in touch with my friends and not losing their messages in my crowded DM inbox.

I personally wouldn’t create stories in it, but I do love the messaging aspect. If you are actively using your Close Friends list, or you find your Instagram DM inbox to be overwhelming, then this is the app for you.”

One of the unique features in the Threads app is your “status”, which feels like a total throwback to Instant Messenger statuses from the 90s and early-00s.

According to Instagram, you can choose from a suggested status (📚 Studying), create your own (😅 Procrastinating), or turn on Auto Status  (🚗 On the move), which “automatically shares little bits of context on where you are without giving away your coordinates.”

You can learn more about Threads’ privacy controls here.

instagram threads app

And that’s pretty much it! You can download the new Threads app from Instagram by searching for “Threads from Instagram” in the App Store (it can be a bit hidden for some people).

Have you tried Threads yet? Let us know what you think of Instagram’s new messaging app in the comments!

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Written By

Benjamin Chacon

Benjamin is a Content Marketing Strategist at Later and recent transplant from Toronto. You can follow his day-to-day on Instagram @benjaminchacs.