Instagram testing tall photos that fill the entire screen as you scroll in your feed

Instagram’s test includes tall 9:16 aspect ratio photos that fill the entire screen of your iPhone as you scroll through your feed in the Meta-owned app.

A closeup of the Instagram app icon on the home screen of an iPhone
Image: Brett Jordan / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Instagram has confirmed it will soon begin testing much taller photos in a 6:19 aspect ratio that would fill up the screen in the feed.
  • Why care? Instagram is desperate to become more like TikTok, the most recent example being the controversial TikTok-style fullscreen navigation featuring tall videos. This new test is not about those changes. Instead, it’s  an attempt to integrate fullscreen photos alongside square ones in your feed.
  • What to do? If you loathe Instagram’s relentless copying of TikTok’s approach to mobile media, pray. Even though Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri has walked back the recent TikTok-style changes in terms of its full-screen design and recommendations, the retreat isn’t permanent—the company is looking to pivot to fullscreen mobile video once it improves its algorithms.

Instagram is testing tall photos

As The Verge reported, Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri recently confirmed the new test during his weekly Ask Me Anything. “You can have tall videos, but you cannot have tall photos on Instagram,” he said. “So we thought maybe we should make sure that we treat both equally.” Tall photos with a 9:16 aspect ratio will start appearing on the platform for a small number of users “in a week or two.”

Instagram currently supports vertical images with an aspect ratio of 4:5 that don’t fill up the screen as you’re scrolling through your feed (as mentioned, the fullscreen design that forced all feed photos to display in a 9:16 frame was pulled after mounting criticism). People disliked the TikTok-ification of Instagram to the point where Mosseri admitted that Instagram’s own data showed people began spending less time in the app because they didn’t like the changes.

“I think that we need to take a big step back, regroup and figure out how we want to move forward,” he said in an interview with The Verge. Mosseri did make it clear that the company will continue to improve its recommendation algorithms to include more content that people will like. And because there is indeed user demand for short-form video, don’t expect Instagram to give up trying to become more like TikTok anytime soon. Read: How to toggle automatic video captions on TikTok