After topping 100 million users just five days after its public debut, Instagram’s new Threads app for iOS is out now with its first update, bringing a handful of small changes and tweaks, added features and various bug fixes, including support for the recently released iOS 17 public beta.
The news of the app’s update was shared on Threads itself by Instagram software engineer Cameron Roth. He offered a list of what features and changes the new build brings, which thankfully includes the ability to use the app on iOS 17 without crashing — a critical update.
Other changes are smaller quality-of-life improvements, not major features like the addition of a chronological feed, an edit button, multiple account support or the ability to search posts, among other promised changes Instagram head Adam Mosseri has said were in the works.
Instead, the app update introduces things like the ability to double-tap the search tab to begin a search and expand pics on profiles, plus support for extra tall photos that are fully viewable, a newly polished “facepile pill” (the display of a list of people that appears at the top of the screen when there are new posts to read), among other bug fixes. For instance, Threads now features better scroll dismiss handling on profiles and fixes to random images on the threadline (Threads’ word for the timeline). It has also fixed other, smaller bugs, noted Roth. The binary size of the app has been trimmed, too, he added.
In replies to the post, the engineer commented on other questions from users about features they’d like to see, responding that alt text — an accessibility feature for low vision and blind users that adds text to describe photos — would be coming soon, while the ability to see an indicator as to whether you are following someone in your followers section would be coming next week. He also reiterated Threads’ plans to introduce a following feed, as Mosseri had previously promised, and noted that there were “continuous improvements” being made in other areas of accessibility as well as the app’s main algorithm.
Responding to a complaint about the lack of a desktop version — where Threads could be used via a web browser, for instance — Roth replied that it’s not as simple as “turning it on.”
“It didn’t exist and needs to be built,” he said. So that change seems to be further down the road for the time being.
Threads was launched while still a work-in-progress because Meta wanted to capitalize on the chaos at Twitter, which was sending users once again fleeing from the Elon Musk-owned social network after he implemented limits on the number of viewable tweets, claiming the reduction was necessary due to an increase in data scraping activity. (The scraping had increased because Musk upped the pricing for Twitter’s API, leaving some developers without the ability to properly pay for Twitter’s data.)
As a result, other Twitter alternatives gained traction, including decentralized Twitter rival Mastodon, which saw its monthly active users increase from 1.4 million earlier in June to 1.9 million as of June 11. Mastodon founder and CEO Eugen Rochko had commented on the increase in early July, noting active users rose by 294,000 over the weekend and posting activity had tripled. Yesterday, he boosted a post that noted Mastodon had now hit 2 million monthly active users — a suggestion that the Twitter exodus is continuing.
Like Mastodon, Threads plans to integrate with the decentralized social networking protocol ActivityPub in the future, which would allow users to move their profiles from Threads to other ActivityPub-connected servers and interact with and follow other Mastodon users.
Twitter, meanwhile, has pushed back at reports of traffic declines with new CEO Linda Yaccarino claiming, without metrics, that Twitter had its largest usage day since February last week.