Get ready to take your short-form video skills to Instagram, because the app is rolling out a new feature that's strikingly similar to TikTok. Instagram's new Reels feature, which launched on Wednesday, Aug. 5, allows creators to combine music or original audio with videos and share them with followers — and it's all available right on the Instagram app. Here’s how to use Reels on Instagram so you can get started right away.
Instagram's Reels feature, which the company has been working on for the past year, has been testing in Brazil, Germany, France, Brazil, and India. Reels made its official debut in 50 countries, including the United States, on Wednesday. You can now edit together different visuals, AR effects, and audio clips into 15-second "Reels" within the app, which you can then share on your Feed, Stories, with select friends, or via Direct Message. If you have a public Instagram profile, you also have the option to post your final product on a new Reels Explore page, making it so easy for to share your work with a larger audience and be discovered by other creators. This allows you to control how much privacy you want as well as exactly whom you're sharing your creations with.
To check out Reels from your favorite accounts, you'll want to head to your Instagram Explore page and tap on the new Reels page, which will be right at the top of the feed. From there, you'll be taken to a TikTok-like vertical Feed where you can browse through different videos, and, if you want, use the same songs, audio, effects, and hashtags for your own Reels by tapping on them. You also have the option to tap on the song or effect from the Reel and see other videos that are also using these items.
In addition to commenting on and liking other peoples' Reels, you can also get in to the feature by sharing your own to your Story or via DM. Once you're ready to create a Reel, you can head to your Instagram Camera and scroll to select the Reel button at the bottom of your screen. You'll see countdown and timer tools that make it easy to record your video in the app. From there, you can opt to choose a song from the entire Facebook music library or add your own original audio. Keep in mind that while you can add and edit within the Reel, each clip can only be a maximum of 15 seconds long just like on TikTok.
Speaking of editing, that's where you can really flex your creative chops. You can play around with different effects from various Instagram and AR creators and edit your masterpiece, thanks to a Green Screen feature and an align tool that makes it easy to piece together your 15-second clip without leaving the app. You also have the option to choose which clip you want to appear as your thumbnail and play around with text and doodles. While you can use lyrics when you upload a song, keep in mind that it won't look exactly like it does for the Story effect and you can also add in your own text instead if you choose.
When you're ready to share, you can choose to post it on your Feed, your Story (including to your Close Friends), and, if your account is public, the Reels page in Explore. You can also save it as a draft if you're not happy with it and want to come back to it later.
You can upload video from other sources as well, but Instagram has yet to say whether it'll let users connect multiple 15-second clips. Given its similarity to TikTok, it wouldn't be surprising if the company makes some more tweaks to allow for longer video in the coming months following more user feedback.
Of course, this new feature comes as TikTok appears to be in jeopardy in the United States, after President Trump claimed on Friday, July 31, that he would ban the app over Chinese security concerns. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment or a timeline on a purported ban, but did not hear back at the time of publication. As of publication on Aug. 5, Microsoft is reportedly in talks with ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, to buy the app, but no official sale has been announced.
In the meantime you can continue to enjoy TikTok and try out Instagram's new Reels feature. If you don't see the Reels feature on your app right away on Aug. 5, try updating your app. If that still doesn't work, you may just have to wait patiently as the feature rolls out to users in 50 countries.