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Instagram will soon test ultra-tall photos to match its full-screen reels

Instagram may have halted its controversial redesign, but that doesn’t mean the company plans to stop focusing on full-screen content. During his weekly Ask Me Anything today, CEO Adam Mosseri confirmed that Instagram will start testing 9:16 ultra-high photos “in a week or two.”

“You can have great videos, but you can’t have great photos on Instagram,” Mosseri said. “So we thought maybe we should make sure we treat both equally.” Currently, Instagram exceeds around 4:5 when displaying vertical images that have been cropped accordingly. But the introduction of support for thinner and taller 9:16 photos will help them fill the entire screen as you scroll through the app’s feed.

Instagram’s TikTok-like redesign has been criticized by some photographers for the way it forced all photos to display awkwardly in a 9:16 frame. The new feed also added overlay gradients to the bottom of posts so text is easier to read. But this clashed with the original appearance of the photographers’ work. Here’s a great look at that first experience courtesy of Thomas Fitzgerald.

During Instagram’s flimsy redesign test with users, Mosseri admitted more than once that the full-screen experience isn’t ideal for photos. Now we see that Instagram still intends to present this ultra-high photo experience, but without forcing it on all levels.

The company’s own data showed Instagram’s revamped design was hated by some people so much that they started using the app less frequently. “I think we have to take a big step back, regroup and figure out how we want to move forward,” he said in an interview last week. Instagram also said it will reduce the number of recommendations presented to users until it is more efficient at curating content that they will actually enjoy.


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