Instagram is a place to see great photos and videos. It is not a great place to see photos and videos. But it’s becoming a better one.
Part of Instagram’s problem is that it’s hard to see the details in a great photo or video because it limits content to a fraction of the available screen real estate, unlike Snapchat’s content that’s strictly full-screen. Now Instagram will let people take a better look.
On Wednesday, Instagram rolled out a way for people to zoom into photos or videos using the same pinch-to-zoom gesture that people have been doing to get a better view of content on their phones for years — albeit an incomplete version.
Unlike zooming into, say, a photo that a friend texted you, you can’t zoom into a photo or video on Instagram, take your fingers off the screen to get an unobscured look and stay zoomed in. You have to keep your fingers on the screen. And there’s still no way to watch a full-screen video, like on YouTube or Snapchat or Twitter or Facebook. To approach a full-screen view, you have to zoom in to a photo or video to the point that it fills the height and/or width of the screen, but doing that will push some parts off-screen and require you to pan to see them.
If you’re an iPhone owner, you should be able to try out Instagram’s new zoom functionality today. If you’re on Android, you’ll have to wait for some number of “weeks,” according to Instagram.