September 1, 2016 Last updated on January 19th, 2018
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Ever dreamt of being able to zoom on Instagram? The frustration is over! Instagram announced yesterday that you can now zoom on photos and videos within the app. Here is how it works and as a bonus we will show you how to do this on the desktop version as well.

As you can see this feature is only available to iOS yet. But Instagram explained “Zoom will be available on Android in the coming weeks.”. So far you can zoom on pictures and videos on feeds, profiles and Explore (i.e not on Stories and Direct Messages yet)

How it works?

To zoom on Instagram pictures and videos is pretty simple – you just need to pinch and hold to zoom on different parts of the photo or video. Below is a short demo posted by Instagram to show you how it works. To be honest we regret the fact that you must hold the gesture (this is really annoying) and that you can not rotate your phone for landscape images.

Une vidéo publiée par Instagram (@instagram) le

Let’s be honest – the feature is a good start but it’s not exactly what we expected.  As you can see below the resolution (1080px) is too low and as soon as you zoom in things (and people) become very blurry. With smartphones now equipped with 4K and QHD, Instagram needs a serious upgrade.

Instagram without zoomInstagram with zoom

What does it mean for you?

With users now being able to zoom on your Instagram photos and videos you will have to make sure that the quality and the resolution of your media is optimal. You will have to focus even more on media edition if you don’t want products and people to look blurry or noisy. Your attention to detail will be crucial.

Another interesting thing regarding this new feature is that it will allow new call-to-actions in the captions and so a better engagement with your content. For instance you can tell people to “zoom in to see something very special” or ask them “have you seen this tiny little thing“. We can also image some “Where’s Wally” challenges.

BONUS – How to zoom on Instagram desktop version?

As you’ve probably seen the zoom option is not available on desktop yet. This is a shame because the HD version (if available) of the photos are easily accessible. This means you could easily zoom in and get a MUCH higher resolution than the one you get on the app or the classic desktop version.

Here is the same example that we’ve seen in the Instagram app but this time from desktop using the trick I will show you. As you can see the quality is really poor, I wish a could better see the details of this photo.

Instagram desktop classic resolution

Click on the image to see the real resolution

Now this is what the HD version looks like.

Click on the image to see the HD version

Click on the image to see the HD version

So how to  access the HD version of Instagram photo (if available)?

  1. Browse Instagram until you find an image you would like to zoom in (we will take this one)
  2. Right click on the image and click InspectInspect to zoom
  3. In the console that opens click on the arrow on the left of div class=_jjzlbClick here
  4. On the new section that appears hover the link. Here you can see that the image is displayed in 479*598px but the native (or Natural as so called) file is 1080*1349 (much better resolution). Please note that If the Natural resolution is similar to the display resolution then you won’t be able to access a better version of the image so you can stop here.Image resolution on
  5. If the Natural resolution is better then right click on the link and select Open in Open Link in New TabInstagram zoom open in new tab
  6. Boom! This opens a new tab with the image in full resolution that you can zoom in by simply clicking on it.Instagram zoom on desktop

So what do you think of the new zoom feature on the Instagram app? If you enjoyed our tutorial on how to zoom on Instagram please share it with your community!

Header image courtesy of Thomas Pumford (Smart Photo Courses)

About the author
Romain Ouzeau

Romain Ouzeau

Romain is the CEO at Iconosquare, based in Limoges/Berlin. There are not enough words in the English vocabulary to describe the list of his responsibilities. He’s also the owner of Nova, the cutest puppy in the world, and he sometimes loses passports as a hobby.

More posts by Romain Ouzeau

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