Instagram is working on improved, TikTok-like search features

New Instagram Search Screens
New Instagram Search Screens (Image credit: Instagram)

What you need to know

  • Instagram is making changes to the way search works.
  • The new changes are designed "for inspiration and discovery."
  • Searches will return videos and photos as well as accounts, tags, and more.

Instagram is making it easier for people to find photos and videos, even if they don't really know what it is that they're looking for. Changes to how search works will mean that the Instagram app will surface photos and videos alongside the existing tags, accounts, and more that we're used to seeing.

Announced via a blog post, the change also noted that the keywords people can use when searching for content is growing — initially in English, but with more languages coming online in the future.

In terms of surfacing more content, Instagram says that photos and videos will now appear alongside things like tags and usernames — perfect for people who just want to see photos of space, shoes, or iPhones, for example.

We're also making search results better for exploration. For example, your search for "space" will show you space-related photos and videos, too. This is especially helpful when you don't have an exact username or hashtag in mind when searching for a certain topic.

This, like many other changes, brings Instagram more in line with how TikTok works and that should be no surprise to anyone — particularly ss features continue to blur the lines between the two apps. Regardless, Instagram remains one of the best iPhone apps for sharing content. These changes are going to make it one of the best apps for finding it, too.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.