If tweaking the saturation and exposure on your latest iPhone photo gives you a rush, or if a tiny heart icon with a double-digit number next to it makes your (actual) heart skip a beat, you may be part of the Instagram craze. The photo-editing and sharing app is clearly more the rage right now than ever, but it was popular from the get-go: just 18 months after its launch in a warehouse in San Francisco, it was snatched by Facebook for a hefty $1 billion, the New York Times reported.

Instagram had 200 million monthly users as of March of this year and the number is only growing.

Recently, the app was updated to include a host of new editing features in addition to the beloved filters (check out this guide to finding the best one for your latest food pic), such as options for tweaking brightness, contrast, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows and sharpness, as well as adding a custom vignette and tilting or shifting a photo (maybe a little competition for those other editing apps?) However, in addition to these new options, we found a few Insta features and uncovered a couple weird hacks we think you might not know about.

Check out this list to up your Insta-game:

1. Worldwide Suggested Users


Photo by Erica Sloan

Instagram chooses users to feature each week under the suggested users tab (Found by clicking Settings > Find People to Follow > Instagram Suggested). Getting on this list could lead to tons of new followers and likes, but unfortunately you have to attract Instagram’s attention first. Although apparently not like this or this or your photo might even be removed.

2. Personal Suggested Users

With the latest update, when you click to follow someone new, Instagram suggests 3 other users similar to the one you just followed. By using several common hashtags, especially popular ones like #picoftheday and #love on each of your photos, you will group your pictures with similarly categorized pictures and increase your chances of showing up on more users’ “suggested followers” lists.

3. New “Explore” Tab


Photo by Erica Sloan



Photo by Erica Sloan

The “Explore” tab is now based on an algorithm calculated by what types of users and photos you generally interact with through comments or likes. For those who desire an algorithm for Instagram (like the one for Facebook) that would allow you to see photos from people who you often tag or interact with, at the top of your feed, this is the closest Instagram has gotten so far. Now, instead of the “Explore” tab consisting of photos with the most likes, such as those of models or random places in Thailand, it will show photos from friends of friends and photos with hashtags that you commonly use. After checking my own Explore tab, 4 of the first ten pictures were of food… #noregrets

4. Airplane Mode Feature

Switch your phone to airplane mode to filter photos without posting them. In this mode, the phone does not connect to 4G or wifi, so pictures will not be able to be posted, but all the photos that you edit can be saved to your camera roll. (Seems like Instagram really is trying to take over all the other photo-editing apps!)

5. Instagram Direct

photo 1

If you don’t want to share certain Instagram masterpieces with all of your followers, you can send any picture(s) to a certain user(s) through Instagram Direct, by clicking the icon in the top right corner on the homepage. This is ideal for those days when you’ve already posted a food pic to Insta and then come across the most delectable ice cream sundae or juicy hamburger and just have to share it with someone; it’s perfect for avoiding the multiple-foodstagram-per-day shaming.

6. Comments on Comments

To easily reply to someone’s comment, tap and hold on their username and it will appear in a new comment box. You can also swipe to the left on any comment and click the gray arrow to reply quickly that way too. Just in case clicking @ and writing the username is too much work. (You can also delete the comment by swiping the left, too. Go away LB LB LB LB LB!)

7. Instagram Statistics App


Photo by Erica Sloan

In addition to the slew of ever-popular editing apps from which you can share edited photos directly to your Instagram, you should check out another complimentary app to Instagram called GramPro. It allows you to view clear metrics, charts and graphics displaying your Instagram history, providing you with useful info, including which users like the most of your posts and which users have un-followed you.

Still not impressed?

  • You can even hire these people to print Instagram pictures at your next party and send Instagram pictures as post cards directly through the app postagram.
  • For more Instagram fun facts, refer to this sweet infographic.

Check out our favorite #spoonfeed Instagrams from this past month and tag your food pictures with #spoonfeed for a chance to get on the list!