Just when you thought you’ve tried every form of social media imaginable, a new app shows up to change the game. Unlike Instagram and Snapchat, BeReal, as its name implies, encourages users to “be real” for a few minutes every day without the help of any filters, effects, or lenses. If you’re ready to social media au naturel, here’s the rundown on the BeReal app, including what it is, how to use it, and more.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the BeReal craze, allow me to fill you in. BeReal is a social media app that was founded in 2020 by French entrepreneur Alexis Barreyat that’s meant to bring authenticity back to social media. Rather than filtering and augmenting images and videos, BeReal focuses on real snapshots of life. To help facilitate what the app refers to as authenticity, you can’t alter your images with any filters or use a self-timer to take a photo. But the thing that really sets BeReal apart from other social media platforms is that you’re alerted at a random time each day to signify when you’re supposed to post on the app, no matter what you’re doing.
Some other aspects of the app that makes BeReal stand out among the rest is that posts don’t get added to any sort of grid — they only get posted to your newsfeed until it’s time to take your next BeReal. Speaking of posts, the app doesn’t allow for users to post videos of any kind, so every post you see is a static picture. Plus, there isn’t a Stories feature, either, and you’re only allowed to post one time a day. Not only that, but you can’t add any filters to your posts, and you can only post photos that you take in the moment.
The platform began gaining popularity in 2022, and by May 2022, BeReal had received over 10 million downloads worldwide, according to The Washington Post. With so many people gravitating towards BeReal, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the app, but if you’re fuzzy on details, here’s what you need to know.
What Is BeReal?
BeReal is a newer social media platform that encourages you to present unfiltered versions of your life. The app dictates when users should use BeReal every day by sending a notification at a random time and allowing you two minutes to post a picture of yourself and what you’re doing right at that moment. You can only post once a day, so you want to make it count.
BeReal is unique in that it’s not designed to get you to spend hours aimlessly scrolling through your feed like other forms of social media (looking at you, TikTok). Instead, BeReal is meant to be used for just a few minutes a day. After you’ve posted your BeReal for the day, there’s not much else you can do on the app except interact with your friends’ posts or scroll through the Discovery tab. The idea is to get everyone to show what they’re up to at that exact moment of the day to remind users that people are more than the “highlight reel” versions of themselves that they show on social media.
Like all social media apps, BeReal lets you add friends so you can keep up with them on your timeline. You can also browse public BeReal posts through the Discovery tab, which is a feed dedicated to public BeReal posts. There is no desktop version of BeReal, which means you can only access the platform through the mobile app.
How To Use BeReal
The specifics of posting on BeReal and how the app works can get a bit confusing, so let’s break them down one by one.
How To Post On BeReal
BeReal users across the same time zone receive a notification at a random time each day alerting them that they have two minutes to post on BeReal. When it’s time to post, the app will open your BeReal camera, and a countdown will begin from two minutes. During those two minutes, you’ll have to take a photo of what you’re looking at and of yourself at the same time. (I know, it sounds difficult, but the camera takes them at the same time for you.) You can’t add any filters or effects to your photos, and the camera only lets you view through one lens, which means you can only focus on your selfie pose or whatever it is you’re looking at when you snap your pic. It’s basically as real as social media can get.
Once you’ve posted your BeReal, your friends (and strangers, if your account is public) are able to see and interact with your post. The picture of what you’re looking at serves as the main image, and the selfie of you gets added to the left-hand corner of the main image. If you want to change the perspective, just tap the image in the corner, and the two photos will switch. After your post is sent, you can add an accompanying caption, but the app only allows you a limited amount of characters.
If you successfully take and post your within the two minutes of your alert, your post will be considered to be “on time.” But if you miss the window to post, don’t worry — it’s not the end of the world.
What Happens If Your BeReal Is Late?
Posting a late BeReal has virtually no consequences, other than the fact that your friends will be able to see how late your post was. In the right corner next to your post, you’ll see a time stamp signifying when you posted your BeReal — 20 minutes late, two hours late, 16 hours late, whatever it may be.
Nothing will happen to your account if forget to post for a whole day, either. Sometimes you’re just too busy to take two minutes out of your day for a BeReal post. It happens to the best of us.
Can You Retake Your BeReal Photo?
Though you want to try to nail your BeReal on first snap, you can retake your photo as many times as you need within those two minutes before you post. If you do, however, be warned that users with 10 or more friends will be able to see the number of attempts you took.
To view someone’s retakes, tap the three dots in the right corner above their post. A pop-up will appear at the bottom of the screen that breaks down the amount of comments and RealMoji reactions their post received, as well as the number of retakes they took.
Can You Delete A Post On BeReal?
You can delete posts on BeReal, but users only get to delete one post a day. That means if your second BeReal is worse than the first, you’re stuck with that post until the next post notification goes out and the feed is wiped.
To delete a post, tap the three dots in the top right of your post, then tap Options in the bottom right. Select “Delete My BeReal,” and select the reason why you’re deleting your post. Finally, tap “Yes, I’m sure,” and your post is gone.
How To Interact With Posts On BeReal — RealMoji
Obviously you can comment on a friends BeReal post, but the easiest and funnest way to interact with a post is by reacting with a RealMoji. BeReal lets you recreate six popular reaction Emojis — thumbs up, happy, shocked, neutral, sad, and laughing — so you can react to your friends’ posts with your own face. To take a RealMoji, tap the smiley face in the bottom right corner of a post. Tap the emoji you want to recreate, and snap a photo. Once you’ve OK’d your photo, that picture will serve as the RealMoji for that expression moving forward.
How To Make Posts Public On BeReal
Although the Discovery tab allows users to scroll through public BeReal posts, posts aren’t automatically public. To change your privacy settings from private to public, make sure to switch the privacy settings from My Friends Only to Discovery at the bottom of your post before sending your BeReal.
Can People See My Old BeReal Posts?
Unlike other forms of social media, BeReal doesn’t provide users with a public profile archive of their previous posts. Only you can see your past posts in a section called Memories.
To find your memories, tap your profile icon on the top right corner of the screen. This will take you to your profile, where you’ll be able to see your posts from the last 14 days. To see your Memories beyond those 14 days, tap “View all my Memories.”
Though it might sound confusing, BeReal is actually pretty simple to follow once you get the hang of it. I mean, hey — it’s got over 10 million downloads for a reason, right? They must be doing something right.