Instagram has found a new way to keep users hooked to its smartphone app. The offline functionality now provides access to a number of Instagram features even when your smartphone doesn’t have Internet access. Unlike Facebook Lite, where users have to download a separate app altogether, Instagram Offline works within the existing app. It is currently available only on Android, but is expected on iOS soon.
Instagram Offline is not a separate mode or page that has to be activated by the user. It automatically downloads content when the device is online so a user will continue to see the posts in the Instagram feed all the time. When offline, you can see the images, caption, number of likes and comments received in each post. And if you like a post, you can tap on the like button, add a comment in the comments section and even share the post with a friend. You can also follow and unfollow people in the offline mode. All these actions will be saved with the app but will only get uploaded when the device is connected to a mobile or Wi-Fi network again.
The fact that you cannot stop this from saving content for offline access means it will drain up data and even the battery in the background.
Other mainstream Instagram features such as Stories, uploading images and video playback are still not available offline. However, Instagram has multiple options for saving up on data usage that have been around for a while now. There is the Cellular data use which uses less cellular data and the Basic mode which reduces image size before uploading them.
The freedom to use Instagram when offline will be helpful for users in countries such as India, where despite the presence of 4G, internet connection is often inconsistent. It can be very useful for people travelling to places where internet access is practically non-existent.
Instagram is not the only app by Facebook which offers offline access. Facebook native app also allows users limited amount of offline access. Users can like and comment on a post anytime that get uploaded when the device is online.
Twitter recently released the Lite version of its mobile website which offers a stripped down interface with access only to key Twitter features such as posting, uploading images, video playback and sending direct messages.