Chronological IG Feeds Are Back, Baby!

Scrollers of the world rejoice.

A woman scrolls on Instagram using the new chronological "Following" view. Instagram tests new feed ...
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Allow me to paint a portrait of a simpler time. The year is 2012, maybe 2013. Your iPhone 5 opens with a simple thumbprint scan. Your Instagram feed shows you exactly the photos the accounts you followed posted in the order that they posted them. But nothing gold can stay, can it? In 2016, the social media platform switched to a non-chronological feed, where you were served photos based on how likely you were to engage with them. Though users continuously complained about the change, over the years, it seemed like the chronological Instagram feed was a thing of the past.

Then, on Jan. 5, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced that the app was officially testing the return of time-based feeds, along with two other options for seeing posts on your homepage.

“It’s important to me that people feel good about the time that they spend in the app,” Mosseri said in a video statement. “I think giving people ways to shape Instagram into what’s best for them is one of the best ways to pursue that goal.”

Mosseri went on to describe the three feed options that Instagram is testing. The first, called Home, is essentially how the app appears today: You’ll see content based on whether Instagram’s algorithms think you’ll be interested in it. This option will also include suggested or recommended posts, which Mosseri noted will become more common over time.

The second option is called Favorites. Like Close Friends, Favorites will be a list of accounts you don’t want to miss anything from. You might add your actual IRL friends to this list, or the cast of a reality TV show you’re currently obsessed with.

The third option is Following, Mosseri said. It will just be the posts from the accounts that you follow, in the order that they’re posted. That’s it! A return to the halcyon days of the chronological Instagram feed.

Why Don’t I Have A Chronological Instagram Feed?

The original chronological Instagram feed was scrapped in 2016, with the intent being to make user’s time spent on the app better spent. (Let’s face it — you don’t really want to see every post from your middle school best friend, do you?) But after the change, users complained about seeing photos that weren’t exactly timely. After receiving feedback on that version of the feed, in 2018 Instagram released an app update that prioritized newer posts first, though they still showed up in an order based on the algorithm.

The latest test comes as Instagram has been rolling out more ways to modify how you use the app. In December, the app launched a “Take A Break” feature that sends you notifications when you’ve been scrolling longer than you might have meant to.


Customizable feed views appear to be the next frontier. Mosseri noted that the three different feed options are currently just in testing mode, with the goal being to launch the full experience in the first half of 2022. If you’re one of the lucky few that get to test the chronological Instagram feed, you’ll be able to do so on your homepage. Simply tap Home and select your desired feed view from the drop down menu. This is also where you’ll be able to add accounts to your Favorites.