How to use Instagram Stories (spoiler: it's a lot like Snapchat)

Instagram's new Snapchat-like feature lets you create photo stories that expire after a day.

Instagram just added a new feature called Stories. Instead of posting carefully-chosen photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos throughout the day. And at the end of that day, those photos disappear.

Sound familiar?

That's because it's very, very much like Snapchat's My Story feature. Only, with fewer filters and lenses (at least for now). Here's how it works.

Making your stories is a lot like Snapchat

Stories are temporary videos or photos that are strung together to form a gallery that, well, tells a story.

Here's how to create one:

1. Tap on the plus button found on the top left-hand side of your homescreen or swipe left in your Feed.

2. Tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos or tap and hold to record a video. You can also upload photos or videos. To upload, swipe down on the screen and choose your videos or photos.

3. Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as you normally would. If you hit the pen icon, there are three types of pens. The third one makes your sketch look like a neon sign.

4. Tap Done to save your story.

5. Tap the checkmark button to share to your story.

The photos and video you chose for your story will now be a series that people can swipe through for 24 hours. A colorful circle will appear around your profile photo to let your followers know you have a story to view and profile picture will also pop up at the top of your followers' Feeds. All they need to do is tap on your face to see your story.

If you have a habit of adding things to your social media accounts which you later regret, good news! Stories can be removed. Tap on the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video you'd like to delete, hit Delete then confirm.

There's a way to hide stories from frenemies

You can choose who gets to see your stories and who doesn't. Want to prevent Mom from seeing your Friday night out, for example? Go to your profile and tap the sun symbol (iOS) or the three dots (Android) in the top right of the screen. Choose Story Settings from the menu and then tap on Hide My Story From. Select your mom from the list and tap Done. Mom will still be able to see your posts and profile, but won't see your story.

You can keep haters at bay

You can prevent certain people from commenting on your story, too. Go to your profile and tap the sun symbol (iOS) or the three dots (Android) in the top right of the screen. In Story Settings, select an option from the list. You can choose Everyone, which will let everyone comment on your story, People You Follow to let just those you follow comment and Off to prevent anyone from commenting on your story.

Save your stories from disappearing forever

If you've become attached to your story and don't want it to disappear forever you can download it to your phone. Open your story and tap on the three dots on the bottom right of the photo or video. Then, tap Save Photo.

Or post them as regular photos

If you decide you want everyone to see your photos or videos more permanently, you can add them to your profile grid.

Simply open your story, tap the three dots at the bottom right of the photo or video and tap Share as Post. Then, you can add filters, captions and locations to jazz it up a little. Once you're done, tap Share.

The photo or video will appear in your profile grid. Just beware, whoever can see your profile grid will be able to see the photo or video. It will no longer have special protections that you can add to stories.

See who's checking out your story

Curious to see who's looking at your story? Open your story and swipe up on the screen. At the bottom of the screen will be a view counter and the names of the people who viewed your story. Shy about your numbers? Don't be. Only you can see this information.

If there's someone viewing your story and you decide you want them to stop, just tap the three dots beside the person's name and select Hide Story From [username].

That's it -- for now

If you remember the first version of Snapchat stories, it didn't have all the crazy stickers, geofilters and lenses you're so used to today. Unless Instagram chooses to stick with a minimalist approach, expect more features to be added later on.

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