Social Media

How To Use The BeReal App

As close to filter-free as you can get.

A woman flashes a peace sign while taking a selfie on the BeReal app. Here's how to use the BeReal A...
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Consider this: What if a social network prompted everyone to take a filter-free picture of what they’re doing — not just the people who are doing cool things? How many of your friends would reveal that they’re, in fact, on the couch marathoning The Ultimatum, or washing dishes, or adding stuff they don’t really need to their Amazon cart? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that no, not everyone is at Coachella?

A trending app from French developer Alexis Barreyat, called BeReal, aims to take the rose-colored glasses off the social media experience. The concept behind the app, which debuted in late 2020, is simple: At a different time every day, all users are prompted to take a picture of themselves — what they’re doing in the moment — and share it, without filters or editing. Users have exactly two minutes to take their daily snap, using both the front and back sides of their camera. (Read: Be prepared to see yourself looking like a toe, but fortunately, all of your friends will, too.)

That’s sort of the point — not just to see everyone from an unflattering angle, but to get an authentic glimpse into people’s lives. Perhaps that’s why BeReal has been trending on TikTok on and off for the past three months. It’s currently the #2 social networking app on the App Store with over 18,000 reviews — many of which are rave, praising the app for giving close friends an easy way to stay in touch, filter-free.

Ready to see what all the spontaneous photo-taking hype is all about? Here’s how to get started on BeReal.

How To Set Up BeReal

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Head to the App Store or Google Play Store to download the free app. Swipe through the introductory slides and get started by filling in your full name, your birthday, and your phone number to activate the account via a texted confirmation code. Once you’ve confirmed you’re not a robot, you can create a username and decide whether or not you want to give the app access to your contacts to help you connect with friends. Next, you’ll have to enable notifications, which will tell you when it’s time to post. (If you choose note to turn your notifications on, you miss out on the essential BeReal experience, but you can create your account anyway.)

How To Take Your Daily BeReal

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When you click on your daily BeReal notification, a camera will open and a timer with two minutes will begin to count down. You have until the timer runs out to take a picture of what you’re looking at, and also a sneaky selfie of what you look like in the moment. If you don’t like your picture, you can retake it so long as there’s still time on the clock. Tap to share with friends when you’re ready.

How To Add & Interact With Friends On BeReal

Once you share your daily BeReal, you can add friends by searching for their usernames if they’re already on the app, or sharing a download link with them. Tap Discover to see other what other people around the world are doing at this very moment and tap their avatar to add them to your friends list.

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If you like someone’s post, you can tap the smiley face at the bottom right corner of their picture. You’ll have the option of sending them an emoji or a real time snap of your face doing your best emoji impression.