Top Instagram Updates You Need to Know in 2021

2021 picked up where the tumultuous 2020 left off, at least when it comes to Instagram updates. 

In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic and several major social justice battles we had to fight, 2020 has brought a great deal of new features and updates to our favorite social media platform. Instagram stayed on top of the game by adding several features to help small businesses, creators, and regular folks survive the craziest year in our recent history. 

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However, as 2021 caught us all a bit languished, Instagram doesn’t seem to stop any time soon. With new and exciting updates rolling out monthly, we’ve got plenty of reasons to be hopeful about the future. 

For all of you wanting to stay on top of all the latest trends, updates, and new features, we’re breaking down all the top Instagram updates you need to know so far in 2021. 

Read on to find out all the latest features you can use for your best 2021 Instagram marketing campaign. 

And if you want a recap of top Instagram updates that marked 2020, head on over to our list on the blog.


Top Instagram updates – June 2021

June has seen some of the most requested Instagram features and updates. From Reels Ads to Exclusive Stories announcement, Instagram went into summer with a bang. 

Reels are getting ads

The wait is over. Millions of creators and brands worldwide have welcomed this amazing opportunity to reach more audiences through the captivating Reels format. 

Reels ads will last up to 30 seconds which is half the maximum duration of Reels. Users will enjoy a regular Reels experience with ads popping up between two separate Reels.

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A post shared by Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis)


Instagram is celebrating Pride Month

In an effort to show support to LGBTQIA+ communities, Instagram introduced new Story stickers along with an update to post and Stories colors. Each time a user adds Pride-related hashtags to their posts or Stories, it colors the feed post and the Story ring rainbow.

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A post shared by Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis)



More love for Black-owned businesses

Instagram continues its work to support Black communities. The latest initiative towards creating equal opportunities is aimed at giving more space to Black-owned businesses. 

From now on, every US Black-owned business can add a Black-owned label to their profile. 

It’s a small but critical step to bringing more awareness to communities affected by racial and cultural discrimination for so long.

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A post shared by Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis)



Announcing more shopping and exclusive content features 

New exciting updates are in store for content creators and Instagram shops. 

In addition to making the process of adding Instagram Shop easier, Instagram is creating more tools to support creators making more money on the platform. June announcement shows Affiliate tool testing to help creators streamline their commission earnings for each purchase they facilitate.

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Even more opportunities are rolling out later this year. As announced in June, Instagram is developing a visual search tool to improve the shopping experience on the platform. The feature will allow users to “discover products based on images that inspire them,” said Vishal Shah, VP of Product at Instagram. 

Shop Ads are another feature aimed at customizing your shopping experience. Once rolled out, Shop Ads will show a curated collection from a specific shop. 

Instagram topped off June with a bang. The rumors of Instagram developing a tool similar to Twitter’s Super Follow are finally confirmed. Tech Crunch broke the news end of June that Instagram is working on an “Exclusive Stories” feature. Though no details are yet released, the basic premise is Instagram will let creators distribute exclusive content. Exclusive Instagram Stories will be available to fans through some type of payment. The idea is to allow more opportunities for creators to monetize their content on the platform.


Top Instagram updates – May 2021

In May, Instagram introduced new updates for Reels and IG Live and addressed racial bias claims. 

Insights for Reels and IG Live 

Creators and brands using Reels and IG Live are now allowed to track major metrics and better optimize their content with data available in Insights. 

Reels are updated with insights on Likes, Comments, Saves, Shares, Plays, and Accounts Reached

Instagram Live creators can now track their performance by metrics like Shares, Comments, Accounts Reached, and Peak Concurrent

All the metrics will be available in the Account Insights section. This will give creators and businesses better insight into how Reels and Lives are affecting their overall account performance and instruct their strategy going forward.

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A post shared by Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis)


To help users get more data on content performance, Instagram has included updates to the Reach section. This will allow more detailed info on what type of accounts are reached and which ones affect the Reach peak the most. 

This is an incredibly valuable update for all Instagram users that could benefit from having more data to work with and structure their strategy around. 


Testing the “turn-off” like counts option

One of the probably most heavily publicized Instagram updates is the option to turn off the like counts on posts.  

The testing started in 2019 but was postponed due to the pandemic.  

May 2021 saw the update finally come to life on Instagram and Facebook. 

Users are given the option to customize their experience on the platforms. You can choose to hide likes on your profile, but also decide if you want to see them on other people’s profiles too.

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A post shared by Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis)



Adding Pronouns to Instagram profiles

May was an exciting month for Instagram users who’ve been waiting for the opportunity to express themselves freely on the platform.

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A post shared by Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis)


The option is available in the Profile section, under the Name field. To add your pronouns:

  • Tap the Edit Profile button
  • Add your pronouns in the Pronouns field
  • Toggle the Show to Followers option on, or leave it off depending on your preferences.


More equity updates 

Instagram has made a significant effort to update the algorithm to better support racial equality and give equal opportunities to all creators. 

The latest update addressed the shadowban scandal that affected the content by activist movements in East Jerusalem, Colombia, and content commemorating the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in early May.

The statement claims the algorithm is now updated to prevent any unintended bias towards specific communities.




Top Instagram updates – April 2021

April has been a busy month for people at Instagram. With 4 new features and updates added and a lot more to come, we’ve got a lot to recap. 

Audio and video control during IG Live

Instagram Live now allows its users to turn off the video and mute audio during the live session. As the head of Instagram Adam Mosseri mentions in his tweet, the feature will allow for “more flexibility and lessens any pressure to look or sound a certain way during a Live.”

Not feeling great about your look? You can simply turn off your camera and still enjoy your best Instagram Live experience. Living in a busy street, and you feel the noise is too distracting? Mute your audio and lessen the unnecessary stress. 

The buttons can be found on the Live screen on your phone, just like with any other video chat apps. 

The audio and camera control options for other users are still not available for the host to moderate. 

Caption Stickers

Another cool update rolled out for Reels and Stories users. 

Caption Stickers are here to disrupt the way we do captions. 

By automatically translating verbal speech into captions, the Caption Stickers allow brands and creators to have their message shared to wider audiences, especially those who usually have their audio on default mute. 

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A post shared by Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri)

One huge disadvantage of the feature is that it’s currently only available to English-speaking users. Still, there are plans to expand it to include more languages. 

Reels Remix

Just when you thought Reels couldn’t be more exciting, there’s a new kid in town to add to the fun.

Starting April 2021, Reels is getting the Remix option. Creators have jumped on the bandwagon, and every minute we’re seeing new takes on the remix frenzy. 

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A post shared by Instagram’s @Creators (@creators)

Reels Remix allows users to create Reels remixed with other people’s content to create a new, unique piece. 

The option is allowed to all public accounts, but you can choose to keep your privacy and turn it off. 

To create a Reels Remix:

  • Tap the reels you want to mix with your content
  • Tap the three-dotted icon in the upper-right (or the down-right if you’re in the Reels app)
  • Tap the remix button (in case you are unable to locate the option, the user probably switched off the option for that reel)
  • You’ll notice the reel you chose on the left side of the screen, while the right side will show your reel once you start filming it.


Important note: The creator of the original reel will get a notification each time someone creates a Remix using their reel. 

The latest Reels update provides a ton of new opportunities for regular users and business and creator profiles alike. You can express your creativity, offer a unique perspective on the trend, or simply have fun and show your goofy side. It all depends on your branding and what you’re trying to achieve. 

Instagram launches a digital magazine

Something very few of us saw coming – Instagram launched its very own magazine. 

Instagram Insider, currently available only in PDF, features all the latest news and trends on the app together with the best creators to draw inspo from. The FAQ section at the end answers all the most common questions regarding the platform’s top features and options.


Top Instagram Updates – March 2021

As promised, March was all about Live Rooms, and users were here for it. 

Live Rooms Launched

March 2021 brought a fresh new feature to the Live experience. Live Rooms were launched, allowing users to invite up to three people to a Live chat on the app. 

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A post shared by Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri)

The new, highly anticipated feature is geared towards content creators and businesses who can now do Live Q&As, or tutorials with industry leaders, partners, or community members. Of course, it’s also available for group Live sessions with your friends. 

The new experience is an extension of the previous feature that allowed Live sessions with two hosts. 

Here’s how you can start a group Live Room:

  • On your Instagram app, swipe left to access the Live camera button
  • Insert a title and tap the Rooms button 
  • Next up, you need to select guests/co-hosts either by searching in your follower list or adding people who have requested to appear in your Live sessions.


The exciting new addition allows for more engagement and brand promotion opportunities. In addition to this, it also provides additional monetization options for creators and brands who can make money from Live badges.  

Stay tuned for more updates to the feature. There are some announcements about audio and moderator options in the future.


Top Instagram updates – February 2021

The year started quite promising, so we were all excited to see what Instagram had in store for the February round of new updates. 

Suffice to say – they didn’t disappoint. 

The Cross-App Messaging Between Instagram and Facebook

As announced last year, Instagram and Facebook have joined forces to allow a unique joint experience for all users on the two most significant platforms. 

What this actually means is that starting February 2021, you can, for example, use your Instagram account to search for and message users on Facebook. And vice versa. What a way to streamline all your business or creator communication. 

Moreover, the new feature allows for content reposting and even cross-app video chat. 

But that’s not all. You can stay clear of unwanted messages as well. There’s a valuable option available in Message Delivery Settings on your Facebook where you can select users whose messages you want to receive. 

Also, the feature automatically picks up your Active Status and shows it on both platforms. 

Although really a no-brainer given that the two platforms are a part of the same company, it is beneficial for users to have seamless cross-app navigation. More importantly, it opens up a whole new possibility for a future of social media and possible app cross-functionalities. 

Live Rooms

Following the 2020 soar in Instagram Live usage, people at Instagram decided to take it up a notch. And add more people to the experience. 

In February, Instagram announced the launch of Live Rooms to allow up to 4 people a Live chat experience on the platform. 

The feature allows you to invite your friends for a Live catch-up session and spice things up with cool filters. We could all definitely use some time with friends we haven’t seen in the longest time. 

Or, you can use the feature as an award to your long-time customers. You can organize a monthly chat with three different users and offer a unique experience to your devoted audience. In addition to making them feel special and appreciated, you can also turn it into a valuable experience and share your expertise. Or, use it to talk about your products or offer industry advice if you’re an influencer. 

Recently Deleted feature

Ok, this one is long overdue, am I right? Who among us can say we haven’t regret hitting that delete button just moments after it’s too late?

Good news for all of us indecisive folks – Instagram has rolled out the Recently Deleted feature to help us store all of our content until we make a final decision. Moreover, it’ll serve as a backup plan if a hacker gets hold of our account and starts deleting our content. 

The feature is not to be confused with the archive, and it works differently depending on the content format. 

  • For Instagram Stories you haven’t archived, the Recently Deleted folder will store it for 24 hours.
  • For other content formats like photos, videos, Reels, or IGTV, the feature stores it for 30 days, after which it’s gone for good.


You can access your deleted content at any time throughout this period. Simply follow the 3-step process:

  • Go to Account under your Settings menu 
  • Navigate to the Recently Deleted folder
  • Select the content you want to keep and restore it or choose the permanently delete option.


Instagram added another safety layer by asking you to confirm the account owner before the content is deleted or restored for good. 

A super helpful feature no matter what type of account you own. Everyone from mega influencers to regular Joes is thanking Instagram for launching the Recently Deleted feature.


Top Instagram updates – January 2021

Instagram started 2021 with a bang. With none other than a full-on Professional Dashboard

Professional Dashboard

In an effort to further support business and creator accounts (and keep them on the platform), Instagram has introduced a completely new feature to help them track progress more efficiently. A single Professional Dashboard is all you need to get all the key data on your account and content performance. 

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A post shared by Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri)

The Professional Dashboard allows content creators and business accounts:

  • Use their profile performance to get insights and trends.
  • Discover new tools, and reach the existing ones more efficiently to help their businesses and careers grow better and faster. The new feature also allows access to monetization status and eligibility info. 
  • Access additional customized resources to spark inspiration, find answers, and the latest tips and guides on how to best capitalize on their Instagram efforts.


Stay tuned for more features to be added to your Instagram Professional Dashboard. There will be new additions as the feedback and user reviews roll in. 

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With only half the year in and Instagram didn’t disappoint when it comes to all the new additions and updates. And there’s still so much more cooking in the lab. We can’t wait for the next round of the top Instagram updates for 2021. Be sure to check back for our next roundup soon. 

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