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Instagram won’t make an iPad app, but its web interface is getting better

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The new Instagram for web interface.

Instagram’s CEO has made it clear that an iPad app isn’t a huge priority for the company, but it is at least doing something to make the big-screen experience better. Some people, including a few members of The Verge’s staff, have started noticing a slightly redesigned version of Instagram for the web, which features a navigation sidebar with links to pages like search, explore, messages, and notifications instead of having those as unlabeled buttons at the top.

The design is relatively similar to how Twitter is laid out and definitely seems more at home on a bigger screen — you get more info about what the buttons are and what they do, and the options to access settings, your saved posts, or the ability to switch accounts have been moved to a “more” menu rather than being hidden under your profile picture.

Not everyone has the new UI yet, but a statement to The Verge from Meta spokesperson Christine Pai makes it seem as if the change is more than a test. Pai wrote: “we are always working on ways to improve the web experience for people. We recently made updates to modernize, including improving the navigation, optimizing the video experience, and introducing a more immersive way to DM.”

Screenshot of Instagram for web, with home, messages, plus, compass, and heart button at the top.
Some users still have the old version of Instagram for web, where you navigate via buttons at the top.

Of course, this isn’t quite the same thing as having a dedicated app that’s specifically designed for tablets, but it does seem like a step in the right direction. Instagram has slowly and steadily been improving the web experience, and the addition of bigger and clearer touch / click targets will likely be welcomed by anyone who has to interact with the desktop site.

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