Today was interesting. There was some buzz on the internet about Instagram’s post notification feature. Then, my family asked whether they should “turn post notifications on” so their followers would continue to see Instagram posts. If you are an Instagram user, does the image below look familiar?
I was curious what really happens once Post notifications are turned on. It sounded similar to when Facebook changed their Pages algorithm, and all of the pages had to remind followers to subscribe in order to show up in news feeds.
Would turning on Post notifications merely guarantee an account to show up in a news feed, or would it proactively send a Push alert to a device every time a user posts?
To test, I recruited my family to open Instagram and enable some notifications. For example, open Instagram ⇒ go to Home ⇒ click an account ⇒ tap the 3-dot “…” icon in upper right ⇒ select “Turn On Post Notifications”.
Upon selecting “Turn On Post Notifications”, this message popped up on my device:
This was a bit confusing to me. It sounds like for Post notifications to work, Push notifications must be enabled at the device level. Do I really want to recieve a text-like alert to my phone every time someone posts to Instagram?
And if I request that my followers “turn on notifications”, am I proactively alerting them every time I upload a photo to my Instagram account?
The situation deserved more testing. It was interesting that I had to delete and reinstall Instagram to enable Push notifications in my iPhone’s Settings (Instagram was not showing up in Settings > Notifications at first). It made me wonder if this was some ploy to get the masses to install Push notifications with the latest version of Instagram. Anyhow, now if I want to turn off the experiment, I could do so with a simple toggle in my iPhone’s Settings.
When I reinstalled the app, it was obvious that Instagram really really really wanted me to turn everything to ON.
We proceeded to post to Instagram. Sure enough, our posts generated alerts right to the Home screen of each iPhone.
So yes, Instagram’s Post notifications can behave like Push notifications, and may push all the way through to your device, regardless of whether the app is open or not. The end result of what you experience may depend on how Notification alerts are configured in your Settings.
My husband, who is not an avid Instagram user, appreciates the Post notification option. He is only following our family, and would like to know when one of us posts. So he will enable Post notifications for each of our accounts, and leave Push notifications ON for Instagram.
On the contrary, I open the app enough to see the activity for myself. To undo the test, I went to my iPhone’s Settings ⇒ Notifications ⇒ Instagram and turned off “Allow Notifications”. I’m hoping this keeps things quiet, for now.
Photo Credit Flicker [MoB 68]