Instagram brings back chronological feed but continues to default to algorithmic sorting every time you launch the app

Instagram has launched two chronological feed options that won’t show you suggested posts. However, its app still defaults to the algorithmic feed.

Marketing image showcasing the Following and Favorites feeds in Instagram on iPhone
Image credit: Meta
  • Instagram for iOS now provides two chronological feed options, the company announced via a press release published on the Meta website.
  • “Following” shows you posts from people you follow while the “Favorites” feed lists only the latest posts from a custom list of specific accounts.
  • Unfortunately, the app still defaults to showing you the standard algorithmic feed in the “Home” tab, which is littered with ads and posts from people you don’t necessarily follow but Instagram thinks you might want to.

Two chronological feed options on Instagram

Instagram head Adam Mosseri argued on Twitter that the two new sorting options “give you more choice and control over what you see.” These new chronological feeds include either only posts from specific accounts or your followers. They won’t show you any suggestions based on what Instagram’s algorithm thinks you might like. One of the new feeds lets you browse the latest posts from accounts that you follow—in the exact order they were posted—which is something that the Instagram community has been demanding for years now.

These chronological feeds are now available in Instagram for iPhone:

  • Favorites: This is a new list on Instagram. You can add up to 50 accounts to your “Favorites” list and the app will show you only the posts from those accounts when you switch to the “Favorites” feed. This is a great option to stay on top of your top 50 favorite accounts and explore their posts in chronological order. Your “Favorites” list is visible only to you.
  • Following: This feed includes posts from the accounts you follow but no suggested posts whatsoever. It starts with the most recent posts on top.

So far so good, but the devil is in the details—Instagram still defaults to showing you its algorithmically-based feed. What’s more, switching between “Favorites” and “Following” is only possible from the algorithmically-sorted “Home” feed, by hitting the Instagram logo. Read: How to post longer videos to your Instagram stories

Why Instagram won’t open with a chronological feed

Featured image showing a menu in Instagram for iPhone toi choose between the Following and Favorites chronological feeds
Image credit: Meta

Users have been criticizing Meta-owned Instagram ever since the service made algorithmic sorting the new default. Making chronological feeds harder to access is something that Twitter has tried as well, much to the dismay of its user base.

So that’s where we stand today: Those who prefer to browse their feed chronologically will need to manually switch to the “Home” feed every time they launch the app. Instagram clearly wants you to stay in the “Home” feed where it could show you ads and have its algorithm decide which posts to show you first.

When asked why the app defaults to algorithmic sorting, a spokesperson told CNET that folks have “a better experience on Instagram with a ranked feed.” We’re sure someone at Instagram has put together a research paper to support that extremely unlikely conclusion, but ranked feeds are pretty much universally hated everywhere.

“We won’t be defaulting people into a chronological feed”

Sadly, that won’t be changing anytime soon. A spokesperson has stated that Instagram “won’t be defaulting people into a chronological feed.” Hmm, why wouldn’t you at least let us set which feed we’d like the app to launch into by default?

While none of the above is ideal, at least we got two new feeds with chronological sorting options. As for the “Home” feed, looks like it might soon shove even more content you don’t care about down your throat. According to Mosseri, Instagram will over time “add more recommendations to your feed based on your interests.” Read: How to permanently delete your Instagram account