Looking Back On The History Of Instagram On Its 10th Birthday

Emeric Brard
on 9 October 2020

Instagram is, for millions, their go-to place to post photos of our life events, trips, holidays; the place we use to follow our heroes, keep in touch with friends from afar, discover recipes, and occasionally find a laugh. It seems like Instagram has been around forever, but we’re only now just jumping into its 10th year. What started as a simple photo-sharing alternative to Facebook, Instagram has reached the zenith of social media. In 2020 it’s ranked as the 5th most downloaded app in the entire world!

In celebration of 10 years of Instagram, Women Love Tech decided to go back to the very start; when the social media giant began taking its very first baby steps.

2010 Instagram Launches

Instagram Logo 2010
Instagram Logo 2010

Believe it or not, this is what the Instagram logo looked like back in 2010, when it was first launched. After Kevin Systrom worked on a project originally called Burbn for about a year, with Mike Kreiger joining halfway through, the two released the app to the public on the 6th of October. The goal was to attract users who wanted to communicate with one another via images. They received 100,000 users within the first week.

In December of that year, Instagram hit one million users.

2011 Version 2.0

Instagram logo 2011
Instagram logo 2011

The following year, Instagram released version 2.0 which included a newly designed logo, live filters, high-res photos, and the famed hashtags.

This was also the year where the 150 millionth photo was uploaded.

Instagram also racked up 10x the number of users that they had at the back end of 2010 with a gargantuan 10 million users!

2012 Facebook Takes Over

Facebook buys Instagram
Facebook buys Instagram

In 2012 Facebook released the purse strings by acquiring Instagram for US$1 billion and in stock.

Days before this acquisition, the app had gone live on Android phones.

Clearly, the influence of Facebook greatly increased the number of users. By the end of that same month as the acquisition, Instagram had a reported 50 million active monthly users!

2013 New Features

Instagram Logo 2013

2013 was a year of growth for Instagram with the introduction of photo tagging, taking and sharing of videos, and Instagram Direct (which let users communicate and share with other app users from within the app itself.)

This was also the year that Instagram announced a whopping 150 million active users per month.

Notice the small change to its logo (if you can spot the difference, tell us in the comments).

2014 More Control

Instagram editing tools
Instagram editing tools (credit: TheNextWeb)

2014 saw more control given to Instagram users. With more tools for editing, people could add extra spice to their posts.

Instagram also hit 300 million active monthly users.

2015 Boomerang

Boomerang logo

In 2015, Instagram launched Boomerang – a feature that let users shoot a one-second burst of five photos that plays forward and reverses in a loop.

Instagram hits 400 million active monthly users.




2016 Stories

Instagram stories
Instagram stories (credit: TechCrunch)

Stories is arguable the most popular release to date. The stories feature let users post 24-hour ephemeral photo and video slideshows that disappear. The idea was openly based off of Snapchat’s Stories feature after its immense success.

Also introduced was:

  • Zooming into posts
  • Instagram live
  • New logo
Instagram logo 2016
Instagram logo 2016
  • Turn off comments

Instagram also reached 600 million monthly active users.

2017 Multiple Photos

Instagram Multiple photos

Instagram released the Multiple Photos feature which let users post more than one photo in a slideshow fashion.

2018 IGTV


IGTV – a video platform where users can upload videos of up to 10 minutes, while creators and accounts with larger audiences can upload videos of up to one hour – was released.

2019 Following

Instagram removes the “Following” tab that would allow users to see what the other users they were following would like, comment on and other such activities.

2020 Reels

With TikTok exploding on the scene, Instagram released Reels as a means of being competitive.

For Instagram’s 10th birthday, the app has released several product updates:

  • Stories Map: A private map and calendar of the stories you’ve shared in the last three years, so you can look back and remember all your favourite moments. This feature is very similar to Snapchat Memories.
  • Shopping Updates: Instagram will be launching shopping on IGTV this week, and testing shopping in Reels later this year. This will make it easier for people to shop across all of our video surfaces, and easier for creators to continue making a living on Instagram.
IGTV Shopping
IGTV Shopping
  • A surprise in the app….did you find it?

For Instagram’s birthday, let us know what your favourite memory of the app is in the comments?

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