Photo-sharing platform Instagram has recently launched a facility that will enable users to like and comment on the photos of other users, even if they have no internet connectivity.
For most users, it may not always be possible for them to take a photo of where they are, who they’re with and whatever else they feel is Instagrammable, and upload it to the platform straight away. This may be because they’re in a rush, or the landscape image they’ve just snapped is in a remote location that does not have any internet connectivity.
This is where the Facebook-owned site is stepping in through the introduction of offline mode, which has begun testing on Android devices. Although it is only available to users of the Android version of the app so far, it is expected to be tested on iOS users in the coming months.
The new capability of the app was announced at parent company Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, which took place earlier this week in San Jose, California. Instagram has said that it works by downloading images and videos over a data connection when the user is online and then storing this content so that it is available when they are offline. This is all preloaded content that is available to images on a user’s main Instagram feed, their individual profile, profiles that have been recently loaded and the explore tab.
While in offline mode, users can like and comment on content, and follow or unfollow other users. When a connection is re-established, the actions will then be uploaded to the Instagram servers.
An article from Android Police provides screenshots that show the app providing notifications informing the user that they are offline and all actions will be completed when they are re-connected. This means that all actions will be made while using the app, but only uploaded to the site when the device reconnects to a mobile network or Wi-Fi.
During the testing phase, the site has not made it possible for users to upload new images while in offline mode, but it is believed there is the potential for this feature to be added in the future, should the company decide to make this a permanent feature. Furthermore, access to Instagram Stories is not yet included, likely because of the amount of data needed for the feature to run correctly.
Facebook and many other social networks have introduced similar offline modes to their platforms, many of them doing so with countries with limited internet access in mind. In the past, Instagram has stated that around 80% of its user base is located outside of the US.