In March, Instagram made a promise to users: After almost two years of seemingly endless complaints about the loss of the chronological feed, the app said it would introduce changes to ensure “the posts you see are timely.” At the time, this seemed like a thinly veiled effort to stall the sudden viral interest in Vero, a short-lived competitor that replicated the chronological feed users missed. In the three months since, Vero has faded into the background and Instagram has continued to make good on its word.
Today, the app is rolling out a small, but important, update that helps clarify which posts are recent and which are older.
When you have scrolled through all the posts from the past two days in your feed, you will see a new “You’re All Caught Up” message. You can continue scrolling past that notification to see posts that went up more than two days ago, as well as posts you’ve already looked at. That means everything above the notification will be "new" posts, in the sense that you will not have seen them yet and they are less than 48 hours old. However, to be clear: That does not mean these newer posts are in chronological order.
This change arrives in addition to another new feature you might have noticed while scrolling through your feed: A "new posts" button towards the top of the screen that you can tap to see everything just posted at the top of your feed, or ignore to stay where you are. This tool was originally launched as a test to prevent a common user issue: A sudden app refresh that pushed you to the top of your feed and caused you to lose your place mid-scroll.
Although Instagram is not bringing back the chronological feed in its entirety, today's update is a welcome compromise. Users will get to see more recent posts and Instagram can stick with the algorithm that prioritizes moments from family, friends, and brands you interact with the most.
However, don't be alarmed if you don't see the notification: If you follow 5,000-plus accounts, all of which regularly post every 48 hours, it's unlikely you will ever be "all caught up." But at least you can bid mid-scroll interruptions farewell.