How To Get That "Best 9" Photo Collage Everyone's Posting On Instagram

Each December, between the photos of adorably misshapen snowmen and glittery holiday attire, social media is flooded with end-of-year retrospectives. How are we supposed to remember what happened in the past year without a bunch of artful photo collages to remind us? Naturally, this means you'll want to know how to make your own Instagram best nine for 2017. Even though 2017 could charitably be described as a flaming garbage dumpster of a year for many (most?) people, these photo grids are quickly becoming an annual tradition as important as New Year's champagne. Grab your phone, folks, because it's time to create a visual representation of your coolest, most popular moments from the last 12 months. No pressure or anything, right?

As it turns out, the collages were actually an elaborate marketing scheme to get you interested in an Instagram-based dating app, Nine, which launched in February 2016. The idea is to showcase your personality with your most popular photos rather than creating your own profile. (Given Instagram's reputation for shiny, perfect facades, that may or may not have worked out as anticipated.) But regardless of the success of the dating app's launch, the #BestNine has quickly become a staple of the holiday season.

With the holidays in full swing, it's back again — and just as easy as ever. The only noteworthy difference is a small redesign allowing the grid to display vertically. (The better to post to your Instagram Story.) Without further ado, here's your step-by-step guide to creating your own best nine collage.

Make Your Account Public
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The generator only works on public accounts, so make sure yours isn't set to private. You can change it to public by heading to your profile, tapping on the settings button, and scrolling down to find the "private account" button. If it's set to private, tap on the switch to change it to public.

Head To The Generator
Claire Warner/Bustle

This year, you can find the generator at There are desktop and mobile versions, so it doesn't matter whether you use your phone or computer. (I'd suggest going with the phone, though, so you can post straight to Instagram without having to email the photo to yourself.)

Input Your ID
Claire Warner/Bustle

In the bar marked "Instagram ID," type in your username — or the username of any public account, if you're curious. Tap "get" to start the generator, and be prepared to wait. Depending on traffic, it could take a few minutes to create the collage.

Claire Warner/Bustle

Voila! You now have photographic proof that 2017 did, indeed, take place. There are options underneath the collage to share it immediately on Twitter or Facebook. To share on Instagram, you need to save the image and share it like any other photo on your phone. If you're feeling nostalgic, you can even head to last year's best nine at

You might be surprised by the contents of the photo grid. The generator goes by the popularity of posts, giving us a glimpse into what other people find interesting about our public persona. Things you might see as forgettable — selfies, other people's cats, blurry photos of that time you took an aerial silks class — may make it into the collage, while photos that hold personal significance are nowhere to be seen. If you're interested in how your online persona stacks up to your day-to-day self, there's no better illustration than the #BestNine.

It's also just plain cool. Navel-gazing has never been so delightfully filtered.