Instagram's Sensitive Content Controls break free of the Explore tab to help more people

Instagram logo on phone
Instagram logo on phone (Image credit: Joe Maring / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Instagram is expanding its Sensitive Content Controls feature.
  • The content blocking feature was previously limited to the Explore tab.
  • Instagram is rolling the feature out to Reels, search, and more.

Instagram is expanding its existing Sensitive Content Controls beyond the currently limited implementation, according to a report. The protections are designed to prevent people from seeing content that isn't suitable for them but were previously only available via the Explore tab.

Instagram first announced the new Sensitive Content Controls feature last year but then left it hamstrung by limiting its scope. Now, TechCrunch reports that the social media outfit is doing something it should have done a year ago — bringing the same protections to the rest of the Instagram app.

According to the wording in a Help Center post, the protections will soon apply to search, Reels, hashtag pages, "accounts you might follow" and suggested posts that appear in users' main feeds. The report notes that it could take weeks for everyone to see the change implemented, however.

While Instagram doesn't specifically say what the Sensitive Content Controls look for, it does say that "content that may depict violence, such as people fighting" is one example of something the feature will block if asked to. "Pictures of people in see-through clothing" and content that is "sexually explicit or suggestive" will also be axed.

In terms of the controls themselves, users can either choose to have such content removed from their feeds, leave things as they are, or specifically say that they are fine with things. The button is actually called "more" which is interesting, although those who are under 18 will not be able to select that option at all.

Instagram has long been one of the best iPhone apps for those who want to share and enjoy photos and short videos, but the limiting of content controls to the Explore tab has been a strange decision since it was made. This latest change is a welcome one, and one that Instagram users should definitely consider checking out if they're concerned about the content they or their teens are seeing.

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.