Skip to main content

Instagram's secret new feature lets you change app icons — here's how

Instagram app icon
(Image credit: Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Today marks Instagram's 10th birthday. To celebrate, an update for the social networking app went live today including a few neat features, like the ability to view past stories on a map, as well as an automated filter for hiding abusive messages. But one secret new addition in particular should excite longtime Instagram users — or those eager to customize their iOS home screen.

Beginning with this update, users on iOS can change the appearance of Instagram's app icon between a few different choices. There are versions with alternate gradients, including a Pride rainbow, as well as stark black and white. But four of the most interesting inclusions are actually past Instagram app icons.

Instagram's old Polaroid-inspired icons appear here in a few different flavors. There's the classic skeuomorphic brown-and-beige camera that went into use in 2010, as well as the revised version that the app employed between 2011 and 2016.

But even earlier than that, there are two app icons that, personally speaking, I don't ever remember seeing before. One shows that familiar Polaroid camera in its entirety, while the other — appropriately titled Codename — is a nondescript black camera icon that was only used while Instagram was in development.

These icons will lend a nostalgic feel to your home screen if you choose to use them. And that'll be especially true if you've been hard at work customizing your iPhone's home screen to resemble one from the early days of Apple's smartphone, as some have done since iOS 14's release last month.

To change Instagram's icon on your phone, make sure the app is updated to the latest version and then head to settings within the app, which is accessed by going to your profile, tapping on the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner and tapping Settings at the top of the subsequent list of options.

Once you're on the Settings screen, scroll up, even though you're already at the top of the page. As you scroll, you'll see a few cheeky emojis encouraging you to continue scrolling, and when you get to the top, you'll be taken to the secret App Icon page.

Unfortunately — though hardly surprisingly — this feature is exclusive to iOS users, at least at the time this is being written. We've updated to the latest version of the app on Android, and the ability to change icons doesn't appear to be present yet. Hopefully, Instagram will extend the same love to Android owners in due time.