How to Use Instagram Effects on iPhone and Android

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

Instagram has 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 get started with Instagram Effects on your iPhone or Android phone.

How to Find and Use Instagram Effects

Instagram effects are another addition to the already crowded Instagram Stories interface. To check it, open Instagram, then swipe right from the left edge, or tap the Camera icon in the upper left corner.

RELATED: What are Instagram “stories” and how do I use them?

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

Just swipe left to preview the new effects (the top and selected effects will appear).

To open the effects gallery, swipe completely to the right of the carousel and press “Browse effects”.

You can also select any effect in the carousel, then press its name.

Tap the name of an effect to see more options.

Here, press “Browse Effects”.

The “Effects Gallery” shows you the best effects. At the top, you can move to another category. Tap an effect if you want to preview it.

If you like it and want to see what it looks like, hit “Try it”. The Instagram Stories interface opens instantly with the new ready-to-use effect.

If the effect has more options, smaller circles appear above the trigger; scroll down to try them all. Some effects also have hidden versions; tap the screen to access it.

Scroll through the additional options for an effect.

When you are satisfied with an effect, press the Shutter button to take a photo or press 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 to see more options, press “Send to”.

How to save Instagram effects

As you follow more creators and explore the “Effects Gallery”, you will likely use some effects more frequently than others. Fortunately, you can use the “Save” function to recover your favorite effects.

To do this, tap the name of the effect when you preview it.

Tap the name of the effect.

Then press “Save effect”.

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

The recorded effects appear to the left of the shutter button.

To remove an effect from your favorites, tap its name, then 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 interesting new effects is on the creators’ Instagram profiles.

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

The Effects section of an Instagram profile.

Tap a creator to preview the effect. Tap “Try it” to open this effect in Instagram stories.

If you’re looking at someone’s story and you like an effect they’ve used, tap the effect’s name at the top of the screen (under the person’s Instagram handle).

Tap the name of an effect in a story.

This opens the (now) familiar effects info screen. Press “Try it” to preview the effect.

If you are viewing a story by a creator, you can 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 to make Instagram work better for you.

RELATED: 11 tips to make Instagram work better for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.