Instagram is introducing offline features in its Android app that will enable users to in some way utilize the service without an Internet connection. The same features may make their way to the iOS version eventually, but that rollout hasn’t taken place yet. The move appears to be a new way to cater to users in developing countries where mobile Internet access is limited and where users may want to download content while on a WiFi hotspot before venturing out beyond it.
Many, possibly most, of the offline features are said to be available in the Android version of Instagram now, and the rest will follow over the coming months. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that it is looking into launching the same offline capabilities on its iOS app, but that doesn’t sound like a definite plan at this time.
The offline mode works about as you’d expect — users fire up the app while connected to the Internet, at which point the photo feed populates with the latest content. That content then remains available when the Internet connection disappears. Most of the app’s features are likewise available while offline, including the ability to leave comments, like photos and videos, unfollow accounts, etc.
Anything the user does in the app while offline will then be automatically applied once a connection is restored. So, for example, you could like a photo and leave a comment on it, put the phone back in your pocket, and both interactions will be applied to the photo once the phone picks up a data signal again. Users will also be able to pull up their own profile while offline and browse through their own content, enabling anyone to show off their photos to others (in person) even if Internet is unavailable.