Check Out Instagram's 4 Newest Stories and Reels Features Now

Instagram has a bunch of new and improved features, and you can use them now.

Katelyn Chedraoui Associate Writer
Katelyn is an associate writer with CNET covering social media and online services. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in media and journalism. You can often find her with a paperback and an iced coffee during her time off.
Katelyn Chedraoui
4 min read
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Instagram is dropping new features for Stories, Reels and Notes. Two of them are brand-new on Friday -- Add Yours Music and Reveal -- and two others are getting major updates. Frames, the digital polaroid sticker, is now available globally, and Instagram's custom sticker-maker Cutouts will now let you share and repost other people's public stickers.

The first new feature puts a musical spin on a user favorite. Using Add Yours Music, you can now respond to questions and prompts with songs instead of just photos and text. Instagram teamed up with Dua Lipa to show off the new feature and celebrate Lipa's newest album, Radical Optimism, also released Friday. The second new feature, Reveals, brings an aura of mystery to your stories. Using this feature will blur your story except for a message you add. Your friends will have to DM you to see the whole picture.

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There are also a few updates to Instagram Notes, too. Notes are also now visible on your profile, right above your profile picture. A new Notes Prompt feature -- think Add Yours but for Notes -- will be rolling out soon, Meta confirmed to CNET in April.

Instagram also announced new changes to its recommendation algorithm on April 30. The updates will prioritize small creators and original content in what it suggests to you. In addition to supporting small creators, this update is meant to thwart aggregators or accounts that reshare content that isn't their own -- like meme accounts that only post screenshots of viral tweets and videos. Instagram will mark original content with a new label and will boost those posts on its explore and Reel pages. Nothing will happen to the meme or aggregator accounts you follow -- you'll just see them less on your explore page.

With these changes, you're going to want your Stories and Reels to really shine. Here's how to best use each new feature.

How to use Instagram's Add Yours Music

With Add Yours Music, you can share any song in response to a prompt you see your friends sharing on their Instagram Stories. For example, an Add Yours Music prompt might ask you to share your favorite Taylor Swift song, then you can tap in, search for and select a song from your favorite era. The template -- the way the question is formatted, including the text's font, color and size -- will fill in on your story like other Add Yours. Here's how to use them.

1. Open Instagram and swipe left to start a new story.
2. Take or select a photo you want -- this will be the background added to your template that anyone can use.
3. Tap the smile icon in the upper menu.
4. Tap Add Yours Music.
5. Tap Add music.
6. Search and select the song you want to post.
7. Tap Done.
8. Resize and adjust as needed, then share to your story.

Any text, icons or other elements you add to your photo will also be part of the template. In my example below, everyone who taps in will share my photo of the field and the text, alongside their song choice.

To tap into someone else's prompt, you can do that easily by tapping Add Yours from the widget on their story.

How to use Instagram's Reveals

Reveals is a new feature that blurs your Instagram story so it's only revealed if your followers DM you to see the whole picture. Here's how to create one.

1. Open Instagram and swipe left to start a new story.
2. Take or select a photo you want to be hidden behind Reveal.
3. Tap the smile icon in the upper menu.
4. Tap Reveal.
5. Type your message -- this will be the only thing your followers see.
6. Tap Done.
7. Tap Preview in the lower left corner to see what your followers will see.
8. Resize and adjust as needed, then share to your story.

three screenshots showing how Instagram Reveals look

Here's the process of creating a Reveal. This is what it it looked like for me while creating the story (left and middle) and what my followers would see (right).

Screenshots by Katelyn Chedraoui/CNET

All your followers will have to do is tap Message to reveal to see the hidden photo.

How to use Instagram Stories Cutout stickers

Cutouts are stickers you can make from your pictures and add to your Instagram Reels and Stories. You choose the picture, highlight the area you want, then you can save and add it to any future stories you create. Here's how to create an Instagram cutout.

1. Open Instagram and swipe right to create a new story.
2. Select your background image.
3. Tap the sticky note icon from the top menu.
4. Tap Cutouts.
. Select the picture you want to use. A sticker will automatically generate. If you don't like the sticker Instagram generates, tap Select Manually to highlight the area you want in the sticker.
6. Tap Create sticker to finish the Cutout. 
7. Add the sticker to your story or use it later, where it will be saved next to Cutouts under Stickers.

To delete a custom sticker, tap and hold until the Delete option appears.

How to use Instagram Stories Frames

Create a digital Polaroid on your Instagram stories using Frames. Here's how.

1. Open Instagram and swipe right to start creating a new story.
2. Select your background photo.
3. Tap the sticky note icon from the top menu.
4. Tap Frames.
5. Select the photo you want to be in the Polaroid frame.
6. Add a caption.
7. Tap Done.
8. Move and resize as needed, then share your post.

three screenshots of how to create an Instagram Frames on your story

This is where you can find the Frames feature, either as an icon (left) or as a smaller widget (middle). I also included my final result, with my custom caption and automatically generated timestamp.

Screenshots by Katelyn Chedraoui/CNET

For more on social media, check out how to join the fediverse through Threads and what to know about Meta's AI warning labels.