Ever snap an Instagram selfie (maybe a NSFW drunk one) and intend to share it with just your Close Friends... except your thumb slips and before you know it, it's been viewed by all 417 of your followers (including that one aunt you muted)? Well now, Instagram is launching a whole new photo messaging app called Threads — and it makes sharing photos with your Close Friends (and your Close Friends only) a whole lot easier.
Here's how it works: If you have a Close Friends list on Instagram, it will carry over to Threads (and if you don't already, you can make one on Threads directly). The app, which you can download in the App Store and which lives separately from Instagram, opens directly to the camera for easy photo access. But what makes it even easier to use than Instagram is that alongside the shutter button on the bottom of the camera interface are profile pictures of the accounts you interact with most. Instead of clicking the shutter, you can simply select the photo of your intended recipient and send to them with two taps only — making for a faster-than-ever photo-messaging experience. And you can also customise which profile pictures appear at the bottom of your camera screen.
And, if you want to send photos or videos to multiple recipients, you can just click on the shutter button you're already used to, which will bring you to your Close Friends list to choose from. The camera also has built-in shortcuts that Instagram doesn't — you can swipe up to send and pull down to delete, so you can capture that weird guy on the subway even more inconspicuously than you did on Instagram.
There's also a pretty standard messaging inbox, which lives both on Threads and on Instagram, where you can communicate with your Close Friends only. But what makes Threads especially different from Instagram is its new status feature. It basically works like Slack — you can choose from preset statuses (like "At Home" or "On The Move") or make your own, and that status will appear next to your name where it appears in Direct Messages for your Close Friends to see. Or you can opt into Auto Status, which sets your status for you automatically based on your location, motion, and phone information (though it will never share your coordinates). Because if Stories weren't enough, now there's an even more involved way to document to everyone what you're doing at all times.