Instagram users will now be able to video chat with their closest friends after the company announced new updates to its popular photo-sharing app.

With Instagram Direct, you can now video-chat with one to four people on both iOS and Android smartphones, all without a phone number.

Video calling

"Video chat gives you the experience of realtime video in a private space and helps you feel close and connected to friends when you can't be together," the company wrote in their announcement.

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The easy-to-use live video feature is available through your Direct Inbox: Open the Instagram app, swipe the screen to the left, and head to your Inbox, where you can click message chains with specific people.

Within that screen, there will now be an icon in the top right allowing you to start a video call.

"While on the video chat, you can minimize the video and multitask on Instagram, sending messages and photos in Direct, browsing your feed, posting a story and more. Video chat is perfect for groups. You can video chat with up to four people at a time, and the video will expand as more friends join," they wrote. You can also switch between front-facing and rear-facing camera and mute the chat.

Group video calling

If you are in a group thread with other people, the camera icon will light up with blue and once you tap that, you will join a group video chat.

Instagram emphasized that you will only be able to video chat with people you have direct messages with and anyone who is blocked or muted will not be allowed to initiate a video call.

The social media app also added new camera effects and filters designed by celebrities and companies like Buzzfeed and the NBA. It also tweaked the Explore section of the app, making it easier for people to customize the page, find things closer to their interests, and block out anything they don't want to see.

The "For You" section is tailored specifically to things you like and will include sections covering specific topics like Art, Sports, and Beauty for the nearly 200 million daily users of Instagram.


  1. Instagram will now allow users to video chat with friends through the direct message section.
  2. You can video chat with up to four people, and the feature is available on both iOS and Android smartphones.

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Jonathan Greig is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.