As someone who’s been an OG Instagram user for around 7 years now, it’s been crazy to see the evolution of things both inside and outside the world of Instagram.
From makeup trends (wut is contouring), to restaurants designed specifically for Instagram enthusiasts, to sunflower farms having to shut down, Instagram has changed a lot of things in our everyday lives.
I thought it’d be fun to share some of the things y’all might remember from old school Instagram.
Most of these things are from like 2012 to 2015, so depending on when you joined or started using Instagram, you’ll probably recognize different trends and things.
If I’m missing anything, feel free to let me know in the comments.
Here are things only old school Instagram users will remember!
1. When Instagram was only for iPhones
Yep, Instagram was only available on iPhones until sometime in 2012 when they released it on Android as well.
Apparently it was a boring app anyways.
2. Taking photos on the actual Instagram app
Remember when you actually had to take photos within the Instagram app, edit them using Instagram’s filters, and post them right away?
Good times, good times.
3. Using the Valencia filter
As we all know, Instagram’s filters ain’t that pretty.
The single one that we could always rely on was the Valencia filter.
Combined with the low, pixelated quality of our old school iPhones, we looked better than we actually did IRL.
4. Using the Layout app to compile multiple OOTD angles
Before there were carousels and Instagram aesthetics, fashionistas compiled multiple photos from different angles of their outfit into little grids.
I did this everyday with my horrible high school OOTDs (lol) but unfortunately don’t have any photos out there on the internet anymore. *shivers*
It’s probably for the best, anyway.
5. Adding white borders
Ah, the white borders – the most popular aesthetic of 2013.
Not all photos look great cropped as a square, so many of us feed-obsessed OG Instagram enthusiasts resorted to using apps to add white borders on either side of our portrait or landscape photos to turn them into a square crop for Instagram.
Thankfully, we can now post normal portrait or landscape photos, but some people still do the white border thing.
6. When you couldn’t edit captions after posting a photo
Ahh, the good ol’ days when you had to delete and repost a photo if you made a typo in your caption or just didn’t like the caption.
We couldn’t even add or change the geolocation after posting.
Thankfully we’re able to edit our Instagram captions now, but I’m still waiting on Twitter to let us do the same with tweets.
7. The faded aesthetic was cool
Any photo you took looked good enough for Instagram as long as it had some sort of faded filter on it.
My favourite filter was Russ on the Afterlight app (I paid for it before it became free, grr).
8. Planning out our feeds with VSCO
Does anyone else remember the outrage when VSCO got rid of their square feed?
Back then we all used to export our edited photos into VSCO and re-upload them alongside our already uploaded photos to see how our feeds would look.
No worries VSCO, at least we have UNUM now.
9. Fisheye lenses for iPhones were cool
Fisheye lenses and effects were v cool at one point.
I had two for two different iPhone generations, and I stopped buying them because it felt unnecessary to keep buying a new one every time I upgraded phones.
I don’t see anyone using fisheyes anymore, but I still think they’re cool.
10. It was actually embarrassing using hashtags
Everyone and their mother is using hashtags on their photos now, but this wasn’t always the case.
Back in the day, it looked try-hard to have any hashtags on your photos unless it was a joke.
The joke was on us, because we missed out on probably 5 years of potential growth #GG.
11. It was all just photos
There were no videos or stories back then.
And then it suddenly became a Instagram/Vine/Snapchat compilation.
12. The algorithm wasn’t a thing
Last but not least, we used to have chronological feeds!
The time that you posted actually made a difference, and you could scroll down all the way until the last post you liked so you’d never miss a post from your friends.
RIP to all of our engagement ratios.
I unfortunately don’t have any photos before 2014 on my Instagram feed – I deleted them all for the sake of #aesthetic before the archive function came.
Idk why I didn’t save any photos before deleting, but these are the few I found on my computer or on Twitter.
How long have you been using Instagram? Do you remember what OG Instagram was like? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!
Be sure to keep up with me on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!
Feel free to subscribe to my weekly newsletter to get my blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.