Instagram’s new music-sharing status feels like the return of MySpace

What is old is now new again as Instagram is updating its Notes status tool with a new music-sharing feature.

This information comes from Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg who shared the update via the Broadcast channel on his Instagram account (which is only viewable on mobile). He states that users will soon be able to post a short 30-second clip of a song they like directly to their Notes for all their friends to listen to. It’s reminiscent of how people would post music on their old MySpace account back in the day – though it’s unknown if the songs will autoplay the moment you enter your message or if people have to tap the message first. Hopefully, it’s the latter.

Adding a song is very easy to do. Looking at the Instagram Help Center, all you have to do is tap the music note icon before writing a note. Choose the track, publish, and you’re done. People can also type in a small caption to go with the song, if they so choose. 

New translation tool

Besides the musical update, other online reports reveal that Instagram Notes will soon be able to translate non-English languages. Users will begin seeing a “See translation” notice below notes. As you can probably guess, tapping said notice will immediately translate the text into a language you can read. 

This tool is already present in other parts of the platform from post descriptions to the comment section. Meta is essentially expanding a pre-existing function to yet another part of the app.

It’s unknown when either of these features will launch. At the time of this writing, the patch isn’t available yet. We did reach out to Meta for some clarification like whether or not the tracks will autoplay. This story will be updated at a later time.

Setting up the future

It is important to mention these new tools are coming at a very interesting time for Instagram. In the time since Notes launched back in December, the social media platform has been experimenting with more socially-centric features. To be more specific, the company is developing a secret project  – “a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates” not unlike Twitter.

A company-wide meeting was recently held at Meta HQ where chief product officer Chris Cox showed off mock-ups to employees of a potential Twitter rival right on Instagram. Referred to as Threads, according to some internal documents, the future platform aims to be one “that is sanely run”, which is possibly a shot at Twitter’s current tumultuous era under Elon Musk’s ownership.

In our opinion, all of these recent additions are a part of Meta’s long-term plan to prepare both Instagram and its users for the massive upcoming shift; whenever that is. Chris Cox didn’t give any exact dates during the initial reveal.

Until then, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best Twitter alternatives.  

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Using Instagram’s time limit? Your sessions are about to double in length

Instagram has been beefing up its usage features in recent years by giving parents additional control over their sons and daughters' accounts, while also allowing users to set limits on how long they can use the app every day.

As reported by TechCrunch, the company has doubled its usage options from 15 minutes to 30 minutes, before you're greeted with a screen that limits you to use the app further for the rest of that day.

While it was assumed that this was because of new efforts by Meta, Instagram's parent company, to increase the time that users are on the app due to falling revenue, it's been dismissed by Instagram, explaining that the reason for the time increase was to give users additional time to manage their notifications.

However, while the feature can be difficult to find by going to Profile > Activity > Time Spent > Set time limit, there are other alternatives that could help limit your social media apps to any time you want on your device.

Analysis: there's better alternatives to controlling your usage

If you have an iPhone, you can use ScreenTime, a built-in feature of iOS that allows you to limit any app you have installed on your device. This can be limited to a certain time of day, or you can set a time limit. If you have more than one Apple device on the same AppleID account, you can apply these limits to all of your devices, thanks to iCloud.

But it's limited to your apps – ScreenTime doesn't currently allow you to extend your usage limits to the websites you visit. Apps like Ochi will be able to do this and will filter out certain sites if you try to go onto a social media site for example.

Android has its own take on this called Digital Wellbeing. This can do the same functions as ScreenTime, where you can set daily time limits to any app that's installed, except for website addresses.

These can easily replace Instagram's usage features, as they're arguably harder to find.

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You may occasionally spot a time when you're scrolling down your feed, and it prompts you that you've checked all the newest posts. But for usage limit options it's still hidden away.

While the increase in usage times makes sense, on one hand, there's no reason why Instagram could make another option available to set a custom time for all users, and in an area of the app where it's easier to spot.

But while the minimum is 30 minutes for the app, there's no reason why you can't use ScreenTime, Digital Wellbeing, and third-party options like Ochi to set your own time, regardless.

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