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Instagram Just Got Live Video: Here's How to Use It

Following a brief testing period, Instagram's live video feature is finally rolling out for all U.S. users. However, you might not even notice the option exists, as it's somewhat buried in a section that you might not use often.

To see if you have live streaming (I didn't, but a colleague did), tap the camera icon at the top left of Instagram's home screen. If you see a Live option on the bottom, swipe right to move to it or tap "Start Live Video" button to begin streaming.

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The Facebook-owned service's live video differs from Facebook Live broadcasts and Snapchat stories in that live videos on Instagram can only be seen during the broadcast. So if you weren't there to see it live, you won't see it at all. If you're already in the app, you'll notice someone is streaming live by the label next to their icon and name at the top of the timeline.

To make sure you know when someone you follow is doing a live video, tap the profile tab, tap the settings gear, tap Push Notifications Settings and set Live Videos to On.


In our early testing, it felt a lot like every other live-broadcasting service, with familiar options including a comments section and tap-to-like. Users can hit the double-arrow icon in the bottom right corner to switch between front and rear cameras, and then tap End to stop the show.

With such a similar feature-set to Facebook Live, it's likely Instagram Live's success as a platform will depend on its more-than-500 million active monthly users.