Instagram begins testing new portrait mode feature for Stories

A new icon appeared in the latest Instagram APK (application code files), sparking rumors that an Instagram portrait mode is (finally!!) coming.

Instagram this week confirmed to TechCrunch that they are testing a new camera format called “Focus”. While it did not announce a specific release date, it appears to be approaching launch. Focus is the latest in a series of additions that challenge similar features available on popular social media competitors like SnapChat.

instagram portrait mode icon
The icon recently noticed in the app’s code would appear as the shutter button on Instagram’s in-app camera.

Instagram portrait mode: The “Focus” Effect

Focus will provide Insta photographers the power to imitate the stylized portrait capabilities of a traditional DSLR camera. Many phones like Google’s Pixel 2 have a portrait mode built in to the camera. Focus gives all Instagram users the ability to use the effects from any device. Lighting and depth effects like bokeh will make your selfies look like professional headshots.

Instagram portrait mode bokeh
With the bokeh effect, the subject is in focus while the background is blurred.

While it’s certainly no guarantee, Instagram has a history of quietly launching new features after testing. Like the Giphy Stickers which became available in January, shortly after curious Android developers noticed a file in the app’s APK. Barring a fatal error during testing, there’s no reason not to believe Instagram will deliver.

What else is new?

Also spotted in the APK were hints of support for in-app audio and video calling, which would rival similar features currently available on Facebook. While any of these features could be scrapped during the testing phase, it’s exciting to see Instagram offer more tools for users to express their creativity.

What do you think about the tools currently available on Instagram? Is there a feature you’d like to see added, or removed? Let us know in the comments!