New to Instagram Threads? How to Use the App

Instagram Threads launched on July 6, 2023. Since then, millions have signed up. Since it's a new social media platform, many are asking the same question: how do I use the Threads app? This tutorial shows you everything you need to know.

What You Need to Get Started

All you need to get started with Instagram Threads is an Instagram account and the Threads app. This is available for both Android and iOS. If you visit the official Threads website, there's a QR code to scan to download the app. No Web version is available.

If you have questions about the new social platform, check out everything you need to know before signing up for Threads.

Signing in to Threads

Once you've downloaded the Threads app, there are two methods for signing up:

  1. If you already have Instagram on your device, Threads will automatically pull your account details.
  2. If you don't have Instagram on your device or an Instagram account, you'll need to download Instagram to create an account. At the time of writing, you can't create an Instagram account in the Threads app.

Let's start from scratch and assume you don't have an Instagram account. If you have an Instagram account, skip to step 3. If Instagram isn't working for some reason, use these tips to fix it.

  1. Download Instagram (iOS / Android) on your device. At the time of writing, you can't create an Instagram.
  2. Tap "Create new account," and fill in the details. Follow the prompts to complete the process. If you have Facebook on your device, you can also log in using Facebook.
  3. Once you've logged in to Instagram, open the Threads app.
  4. Tap "Log in with Instagram" at the bottom. If you have multiple Instagram handles, tap "Switch accounts" to create a Threads account with the appropriate handle.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Signin
  1. Set up your profile, or just tap "Import from Instagram." Tap "Skip" at the top if you don't want to be bothered at this point.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Import
  1. Choose between a Public or Private profile. Instagram users 16 and under are automatically set to Private, but you can change this once you're logged in.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Public
  1. Choose which accounts to follow. By default, all the accounts you currently follow on Instagram are listed. Tap "Follow all" to follow all of them or "Follow" beside individual user accounts to follow them.
  2. Read over the "How Threads Works" details to learn a little more about it, then tap "Join Threads."
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Join

You should start seeing a scrollable list of "threads" as the app calls them. They look similar to tweets.

Good to know: we can show you how to send disappearing tweets in Twitter.

Starting a New Thread

Once you're in, you'll see threads from various accounts. At the bottom of the screen, there are four buttons:

New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Buttons
  • Home – takes you back to the list of threads at any time.
  • Search – search for accounts. You cannot search for topics or hashtags at this time.
  • New Thread – start a new thread.
  • Activity (Heart) – see your activity.
  • Profile – view and edit your profile. You can also get to your account settings from here.

If you want to start a new thread:

  1. Tap the "New Thread" icon (middle icon) at the bottom of the app.
  2. Enter your thread text (up to 500 characters). Tap the attachment icon to attach up to 10 images per thread. You can also share videos. Note that you will need to give Threads permission to access your device's media.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App New Thread
  1. Tap "Add to thread" to add additional text and images. This is ideal if you want to create a longer thread than 500 characters. Tap "Post" when you're finished.

Interacting With Instagram Threads

There are several options to interact with a thread:

  • Heart (like)
  • Reply
  • Repost or Quote
  • Share
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Reply

You can also tap replies to see all the replies to a thread, and even reply to other replies.

Tip: learn who unfollowed you on Instagram.

Follow and Unfollow Accounts

If you're looking for new accounts to follow, there are two ways to do this. First, Instagram Threads throws a bunch of random accounts into the mix of accounts you follow. If you see one you like, tap the user's name, then "Follow."

New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Follow

Otherwise, use the Search icon (magnifying glass) at the bottom of the app.

  1. Tap "Search." By default, you'll see popular accounts, such as celebrities and news outlets.
  1. Type all or part of the user's name.
  2. Tap any account to see their content, or tap "Follow" to follow them.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Search

To unfollow an account:

  1. Tap the account/username in your feed, or find it using the Search option.
  2. Tap "Following" to unfollow the user. If successful, the button will change to "Follow."

Mute and Block Users

If you see an account you don't like or find offensive, you can mute, block, hide, or report the user and/or thread.

  1. Tap the three dots beside a user's name when viewing a thread.
  2. Select one of the following:
    • Mute – hides posts from your feed but doesn't block the user.
    • Hide – hides that particular thread.
    • Block – blocks the user from interacting with you, and you from them.
    • Report – send in a report if you believe the content goes against Instagram's terms.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Block
  1. Confirm your option.

FYI: want to mute people just for a time on other social media? We show you how – without unfollowing or unfriending.

Limit Your Account

While privacy settings aren't the best right now in Instagram Threads, there are several things you can do to limit your account and who can interact with it.

  1. Tap the Profile icon in the bottom-right corner of the app.
  2. Tap the Settings icon (two horizontal lines) in the top-right corner of the app.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Profile
  1. Tap "Privacy."
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Privacy
  1. Set your profile to "Private" if you don't want to be found publicly. You can always share your profile manually with others from the Profile section of the app.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Private
  1. Tap "Mentions" to set who can and can't tag your profile in their own threads.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Mentions
  1. Tap "Muted" to view muted accounts.
  1. Tap "Hidden Words" to restrict users and threads with specific words from showing up on your feed.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Hidden

Managing Your Account

Instagram Threads doesn't let you delete your account without deleting Instagram as well. But you do still have a few options to manage your account.

  1. Tap the Profile icon and the Settings icon.
  2. Tap "Account."
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Account
  1. Tap "Deactivate profile" to deactivate Threads without interfering with Instagram. Tap "Deactivate Threads profile" to confirm. All your threads, replies, and likes, along with your profile, will be hidden until you reactivate your account in the app.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Deactivate
  1. On the Accounts screen, tap "Take a break" to manage how long you use the app. You can set reminders to take a break every 10, 20, or 30 minutes.
New To Instagram Threads How To Use The App Break

For other account management details, you'll be taken to Instagram to take care of things, like downloading your information, setting security preferences, and editing personal information.

For now, that's about all you can do with Instagram Threads. You can't send direct messages or customize your home feed. However, many users are requesting these features, so they may be added in future updates.

Good to know: see who shared your Instagram posts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I seeing so many accounts I don't follow?

If your home feed seems to be mainly accounts/users you don't follow, you're not alone. Meta (the company behind Threads, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) wants you to discover other accounts. However, these recommendations have seemed to take over feeds and are limiting how often you see people who you really do follow.

You'll also see threads from any user that someone you follow has replied to, reposted, or liked.

The only way to get rid of accounts you don't want to see is to mute or block them. Sadly, these recommended accounts often have nothing in common with what you're already following, so be ready to mute and block often.

If I follow someone on Threads, will they show up on Instagram?

Unless you imported that user/account when you set up Threads, any new accounts you follow on Threads won't impact Instagram and vice versa.

All images by Crystal Crowder.

Crystal Crowder

Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.

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