Getting started with Instagram for Android

Are you one of the millions of new Instagram for Android users? Let us show you how to get started with the popular photo-sharing app.

Ed Rhee
Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.
Ed Rhee
2 min read

Instagram for Android

Instagram is finally available for Android users and hit 1 million downloads on its first day. If you're one of those new Instagram for Android users, we're here to help you get started.

After you've installed Instagram from Google Play, sign up for the free service from within the app. Make sure to fill out your profile, either from the app or from the Instagram Web site.

Getting and taking photos
To get photos into Instagram, click on the camera/share button. You can either import photos from your Gallery or take a new one. By default, Instagram will use your phone's camera app, but you can also use Instagram's advanced camera. The advanced camera allows you to take photos without leaving the Instagram app and automatically crops the images to the Instagram format, which lets you skip the cropping step required when using an alternate camera app.

Instagram camera/share button
Home tab | Popular tab | Camera button | News tab | Profile tab Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

To enable the advanced camera, go to the Profile tab and click on the context menu in the upper right-hand corner (three vertical dots). Then, go to Camera Settings and check the box next to "Use Instagram's Advanced Camera." Keep in mind that the advanced camera does not work on some phones.

Editing photos
Once you've imported a photo or taken one (and cropped it), the editing screen will appear. From the editing screen, you can apply one of the 18 filters, add or remove borders, apply the Lux effect, or rotate the image.

Instagram edit screen
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

Sharing and engaging with the Instagram community
After you've edited your photo, the next step is to upload it to your Instagram account. Tap the double-right bracket in the upper right-hand corner to get to the sharing screen. Just add a caption and hit the big green upload button. If you don't select any of the social networks, your photo will only upload to your Instagram account. If you decide later you want to delete your photo, just bring up the photo, then tap on the three horizontal dots below the photo and select Delete.

Instagram sharing screen
Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

As Jaymar Cabebe noted in his review of Instagram for Android, Instagram's real appeal is the user community, not its camera or filters. To fully benefit from Instagram, you should engage the Instagram community by sharing photos, following users, commenting, and liking other users' photos.

You can search for people to follow from the Profile tab or look through the photos in the Popular tab (star icon) to find new people to follow. To like a photo, either click on the heart button located below the photo or simply double-tap on the photo. You can also use the comment button, to leave comments.

Instagram commenting and liking
Like and leave comments easily with the buttons directly under the photo. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

That's it. After you've had some time to build up a collection of some of your best Instagram photos, check out Sharon Vaknin's DIY post on how to create your own Instagram photo strips.