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How to Use Instagram Effects on iPhone and Android

The new Effects interface in Instagram Stories on an iPhone.
Khamosh Pathak

Instagram is having yet another Snapchat moment. This time, it’s with Augmented Reality (AR) Effects. And while they’re incredibly fun, they’re also a bit confusing to use. Here’s how you can start using Instagram Effects on your iPhone or Android phone.

How to Find and Use Instagram Effects

Instagram Effects is yet another addition to the already crowded Instagram Stories interface. To check it out, open Instagram, and then either swipe right from the left edge or tap the Camera icon in the top-left corner.

RELATED: What Are Instagram's "Stories", and How Do I Use Them?

Make sure you’re in “Normal” mode. The Shutter button should be in the center, surrounded by a carousel of circular icons, which are Instagram Effects.

Tap "Normal" if you're not in that mode and the Instagram Effects appear.

Simply swipe left to preview the new Effects (the top and curated Effects will appear).

To open the Effects Gallery, swipe all the way to the right of the carousel and tap “Browse Effects.”

Tap "Browse Effects."

Alternatively, you can select any Effect from the carousel, and then tap its name.

Tap the name of any Effect to see more options.

Here, tap “Browse Effects.”

 Tap "Browse Effects."

The “Effects Gallery” shows you the top Effects. At the top, you can switch to a different category. Tap an Effect if you want to preview it.

Tap an Effect in the "Effects Gallery."

If you like it and want to see how it looks, tap “Try It.” The Instagram Stories interface opens instantly with the new Effect ready to go.

Tap "Try It" on the Effects menu.

If the Effect has more options, smaller circles appear above the Shutter button; scroll through to try them all. Some Effects also have hidden versions; tap the screen to access them.

Scroll through an Effect's additional options.

When you’re satisfied with an Effect, tap the Shutter button to take a photo or tap and hold to record a video.

On the next screen, tap “Your Story” if you want to add the image or video to your Story. To send it to a friend or see more options, tap “Send To.”

Tap "Send To."

How to Save Instagram Effects

As you follow more creators and explore the “Effects Gallery,” you’ll likely use some Effects more frequently than others. Luckily, you can use the “Save” feature to collect your favorite Effects.

To do so, tap the name of the Effect when you’re previewing it.

Tap the name of the Effect.

Next, tap “Save Effect.”

Tap "Save Effect."

Your saved Effects will appear to the left of the Shutter button.

Saved Effects appear on the left of the Shutter button.

To remove an Effect from your favorites, tap its name, and then tap “Saved.”

 Tap "Saved."

How to Discover Instagram Effects

While the “Effects Gallery” is a good place to start discovering Instagram Effects, the best place to find new and interesting Effects is on the Instagram profiles of creators.

To get started, just search for AR- and Effects-related hashtags. When you find a creator you like, tap the Smiley tab. This shows you a list of all the Effects that person has created.

The Effects section of an Instagram profile.

Tap a creator to preview the Effect. Tap “Try It” to open that Effect in Instagram Stories.

If you’re looking at someone’s Story and like an Effect they’ve used, tap the name of that Effect at the top of the screen (below the person’s Instagram handle).

Tap the name of an Effect in a Story.

This opens the (by now) familiar Effects information screen. Tap “Try It” to preview the Effect.

Tap "Try It" in an Effect's info screen.

If you’re viewing a Story by a creator, you might see a Swipe-Up button with the name of an Effect. Swipe up to go directly to the Filter screen in Instagram Stories.

Swipe up to try an Instagram Effect.


Now that you’ve discovered the new Instagram Effects, keep browsing, trying, and collecting! When you’re ready for a break, check out our guide on how you can make Instagram work better for you.

RELATED: 11 Tips to Make Instagram Work Better for You

Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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