How Instagram works : Everything you need to know

Instagram is a social network founded in 2010, currently belonging to Facebook, which is based on the exclusive sharing of photos and videos accompanied by a caption. In this guide we will talk about how Instagram works, especially useful for those who recently joined and wants to better understand how this application works. Every user registered in this social network has his own personal profile in which the photos that the user himself decides to upload to Instagram, collecting them in fact in a great personal album are stored.

Instagram also offers the ability to edit their photos, offering filters of various kinds and providing the user a wide range of parameters (contrast, brightness, sharpness) to retouch the image.

Download and start using Instagram

To start using Instagram, you must first download the app.

  • if you have an Android device, download it from the Play Store
  • if you have an Apple device, download it from the App Store
  • if you have a Windows device, download it from the Microsoft Store

Once you have downloaded the application and when you will open it for the first time and you will be asked to register: you can choose to do it with your email, setting a password, or you can log in via your Facebook account (if you have one).

After completing these steps, you will be in effect Instagram users and you can start to enrich your profile with photos. To insert a photo on Instagram, just click on the icon at the bottom center with the symbol “+“, which will allow you to take a picture directly from the app or upload a previously taken by clicking on the “library” or “gallery“. Once you have chosen/taken the photo, you can decide whether to upload it as it is, clicking on “Next” at the top right, or modify it, using the filters that the social offers or via the option at the bottom right, for play with the parameters. After this, it will be time to write your caption and choose on which other social media you want to share your picture (Facebook, Flickr, Twitter). When you have completed all the steps, you just have to click on the “Share” option and you’re done: you’ve just shared your first photo on Instagram.

Followers and Hashtags

Like any self-respecting social media, Instagram also maintains the basic logic that feeds this type of platform: sharing. We can summarize in two mechanisms the functioning of Instagram:

  • Followers: These are those who follow us, or rather, are interested in our photos and our profile. When we are “followers” of someone, his photos appear on our home screen along with photos of other people we follow, and the same thing happens to those who follow us.
  • Hashtags: we could define them as “keywords”. In the captions of the photos you can enter the hashtags, simply typing “#” followed by the keyword (for example #picoftheday, #estate), which will act as a link: by clicking a hashtag, you will be redirected to a page that collects all those photos published from the Instagram community who have the aforementioned hashtag in their caption. In short, they work as indexers in the large photo library on Instagram, grouping all those images that bind to it under a single keyword.

The stories of Instagram

A new feature has recently been added to Instagram, and it is precisely that of stories. The stories are photos or movies that are uploaded to the social “temporarily”, or remain online for only 24 hours, after which they are removed. There are effects also applicable to stories (Boomerang, Rewind, Superzoom), but also stickers with which you can make your story funny: among the most popular are the stickers that indicate the place, stickers for hashtags, stickers for the weather or even polls.

A peculiarity of this function is that the author of the stories, for the entire duration of the history of the social, has the right to see who has viewed it.

Like, Comments and Private Messages

You will notice that below every picture that appears in the Home there are three icons (Heart, Speech Bubble and Arrow), which represent the three actions that can be performed in relation to that photo.

  • Clicking on the heart add a “like” to the photo, or you are saying that you like that photo.
  • By clicking on the Speech Bubble you can leave a comment about that picture.
  • By clicking on the arrow you can send that image to another user via the Direct window.

The Direct window is nothing but Instagram chat. You can also access it starting from the Home and clicking the same arrow at the top right, thus accessing all your already active conversations or starting new ones.


On Instagram, in parallel with what happens on Facebook or Twitter, it is possible to “tag” people, simply by typing an “@” followed by the username or by his Instagram nickname. You can tag people in comments, photos (through the appropriate function) and also in the stories.

Private profile

If you are a lover of privacy and do not want an indiscreet eye to browse through your photos, Instagram comes to meet you offering the option to make your profile private. By setting the private profile, you actually make it accessible and visible only to those who follow you. In addition, not everyone will be able to follow you, but only those to whom you will allow it, responding to a request that will arrive between the notifications every time someone wants to become your follower.

Download photos and videos from Instagram

If you particularly like a photo on Instagram that is not yours, or you are particularly attached to a video that your friend has published, now you have the possibility to save it directly in your gallery. Instagram does not offer this possibility directly, but there are alternative ways to do it. We’ll explain it better here.

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