Instagram Threads’ first update brings iOS 17 support and enhancements

Jul 13, 2023, 3:53 PM UTC
3 mins read
Instagram Threads' first update brings iOS 17 support and enhancements
(Photo by Azamat E on Unsplash)

Instagram‘s Threads app for iOS has received its first update, introducing several small improvements and bug fixes, as well as support for the recently released iOS 17 public beta. The app, which garnered over 100 million users within just five days of its public launch, has quickly gained popularity among Instagram users.

Instagram software engineer Cameron Roth took to Threads to announce the update, outlining the new features and changes that users can expect. One of the critical updates is the app’s compatibility with iOS 17, ensuring a crash-free experience for those using the latest beta version of Apple‘s operating system.

Although the update doesn’t include major features like a chronological feed or multiple account support, it does introduce valuable quality-of-life enhancements. For instance, users can now initiate a search by double-tapping the search tab and expanding pictures on profiles. Additionally, the update brings support for fully viewable extra tall photos and a refined “facepile pill” at the top of the screen, displaying a list of people with new posts to read.

Threads have also addressed various bug fixes, including improved scroll dismiss handling on profiles and fixes for random image issues on the threadline, which refers to the app’s timeline. Furthermore, Roth mentioned that the app’s binary size has been reduced, optimizing its performance and download speed.

In response to user inquiries, Roth confirmed that alt text, a feature aiding low vision and blind users by describing photos, will be implemented soon. He also mentioned that an indicator to determine if you are following someone in your follower’s section will be available next week. Additionally, Roth reiterated Threads’ plans to introduce a following feed, fulfilling a promise made by Instagram head Adam Mosseri. He assured users that continuous improvements are being made in the areas of accessibility and the app’s algorithm.

Addressing concerns about the absence of a desktop version of Threads, Roth explained that the development process is more complex than simply enabling it. He clarified that building a desktop version from scratch is necessary and indicated that this feature is further down the road.

Threads was launched as a work-in-progress to capitalize on the turmoil faced by Twitter. Elon Musk‘s implementation of limits on viewable tweets resulted in an exodus of users from the social network. The reduced accessibility to Twitter’s data, caused by increased pricing for its API, prompted developers to seek alternative platforms. Mastodon, a decentralized Twitter rival, experienced a surge in monthly active users, growing from 1.4 million to 1.9 million in a matter of days.

Threads aim to integrate with the decentralized social networking protocol ActivityPub in the future, allowing users to migrate their profiles from Threads to other ActivityPub-connected servers and interact with Mastodon users. This move aligns with Mastodon’s commitment to providing users with an alternative social media experience.

Twitter, on the other hand, has contested reports of declining traffic. Linda Yaccarino, the new CEO of Twitter, claimed that the platform witnessed its highest usage day since February, although specific metrics were not provided to substantiate the claim.

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