Instagram’s new Reels feature takes aim at TikTok with short-form videos set to music

Instagram today launched a direct competitor to TikTok, called Reels. The new service is available within the mobile Instagram app starting today, on both iOS and Android, in more than 50 countries worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

Reels are 15-second videos that can include audio and effects.

The reels can be shared with your followers on the Instagram feed. And those with a public account can make their reels available to the wider community via a new space in the Explore tab. “Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage,” the company noted.

“I think TikTok deserves a ton of credit for popularizing formats in this space, and it’s just great work,” Instagram product director Robby Stein told The Verge. “But at the end of the day, no two products are exactly alike, and ours are not either.”

To get started with this feature, choose Reels at the bottom of the Instagram camera.

When capturing reels, you can take advantage of the following creative editing tools:

  • Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library. You can also use your own original audio by simply recording a reel with it. When you share a reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you have a public account, people can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.
  • AR effects: Select one of the many effects in our effect gallery, created both by Instagram and creators all over the world, to record multiple clips with different effects.
  • Timer and countdown: Set the timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Once you press record, you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown, before recording begins for the amount of time you selected.
  • Align: Line up objects from previous clip before recording your next to create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding new friends into your reel.
  • Speed: Choose to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected. This can help you stay on a beat or make slow motion videos.

You can capture a reel as a continuous 15-second video or use a video upload from your gallery as a new reel. Reels can include multiple clips, in which case you’ll need to record the individual clips one at a time. Simply hold the capture button to start capturing the first clip.

Keep an eye on a progress indicator at the top of the screen and stop recording to end each clip in the series. When your reel is ready, you can save it as a draft or keep working on it. You can adjust a reel’s cover image, add a caption and hashtags, as well as tag your friends.

The reels that you share on Instagram are distinguished from your regular Instagram videos because people access them through a separate Reels tab on your profile. In addition, reels that are shared to your Instagram feed will appear on your main Instagram profile grid.

You can find some cool reels in Instagram’s Explore tab. You can like, comment or share reels like you would any other Instagram media. If your reel is chosen by Instagram and featured in Explore, you’ll receive a notification and that reel will have a “Featured” label.

For more information on using the Reels feature, visit the Instagram Help center.

Instagram is a free download from the App Store.