While Snapchat is busy experimenting with its funky spectacles, Instagram has been practicing some engineering gymnastics to make its service more accessible. At Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference today, Instagram announced a new update, making it possible to browse and use most parts of the photo-sharing service without access to the Internet.
The way it works is quite simple: there is a cache. If you open a section of the app, it will keep the latest version of it stored on the device. If the section is then revisited without access to the Internet, the app will display the preloaded content. This works with various parts of the app, including the feed, explore section, and even profiles that you have previously visited.
In addition, it’s also possible to leave a comment, like, save, follow, and unfollow without an Internet connection. The app will simply queue these actions to perform as soon as a connection to the Internet is restored.
The first time a user performs an action while offline, the app displays a message explaining how the offline interactions work. This feature is already live for the Android app, but Instagram did mention that it's exploring the possibility of bringing it to the iOS app as well.
Instagram says that 80% of its users are outside the US and many of them lack access to a stable or affordable connection to the Internet. This feature will help such users not only access the service but also interact with it, despite the woes of a dodgy connection.