What is Threads App from Instagram?

Josh Ochs from Smart Social provides introduction to Threads by Instagram app

This app is discontinued. Threads, the latest messaging app developed by Facebook to privately share pictures and between users and your closest friends.

What is Threads?

Threads is a discontinued app for keeping up with your close friends. It’s the place for you to quickly share photos, videos, statuses, and Stories with your Instagram Close Friends list. Instagram Close Friends allows you to share a story only with people on that list. You can create or edit your Close Friends list using the Instagram app.

Who is using it?

Since it’s launch in October 2019, it is still a relatively new app and so it is hard to suggest the age group of users. However, we do know the app is aimed at users of Instagram.

What is Threads minimum age limit?

Threads has been given a minimum age limit of 12 and over in App stores but the minimum age rating for Instagram is 13 and over.

How does Threads app work?

To share and receive messages on Threads you’ll need an using existing Instagram account or there is an option to sign up to Instagram if you don’t have an account.

Close friends only

Threads works using your Instagram Close Friends list. If you have not created a Close Friends list on Instagram then you still have the option to create this via the Threads app. You can edit your Close Friends list at any time through the settings.

Auto status

There is an option to turn on ‘auto-status’ which gives permission for Threads to track and update your status based on your location, movement, battery level and network connection when you’re not using the app. Only people you’ve selected within your Close Friends list can see your status.

Sending and receiving messages

To take photos and record videos – you will need to allow Threads to access your camera and microphone on your device. Once access is given, you can take pictures and videos as well as upload existing media from your camera roll and share with all users of your Close Friends or specific people. Your Close Friends do not need to download the Threads app in order to receive your messages.

Posts you create in Threads will appear on your Instagram stories and your Close Friends will receive an Instagram and/or Threads notification (depending on if their notification settings are enabled).

Depending on your Instagram settings, you can access previous direct messages that you’ve sent to people in your Close Friends list.


Users can give the app and icon their own look by choosing a range of themes. You can add stickers, GIFS, hashtags, location tags, mentions, texts and doodle to photos or videos, much like how you can do in Instagram.

Using settings on the Threads 

Threads features a number of functions to help your child manage who can see their profile and how they interact with others. They can also use the Report a problem function to flag any content that breaks community guides and upsets them.

Step by step instructions

  • Choose your close friends: Select who you want to add to your Close Friends list.
  • Notifications preferences: You have the option to receive notifications from your close friends by selecting ‘Turn On’. You should then see a prompt to either ‘Allow’ or ‘Don’t Allow’ Threads to send you notifications.
  • Your home camera: You can create up to 8 shortcuts on your camera of your close friends. This step is optional and you can skip this step.
  • Auto-status: Select if you want to turn on auto-status, this will let your friends keep up to date with your current status, ie., ‘At home’, ‘Shopping’, etc. This step is optional and you can skip this step.
  • Choose your Theme. Give the app and icon your own look by choosing a range of themes. This step is optional and you can skip this step.
    You’re all set!

What are the safety features of the app?

As this is a companion app to Instagram, you can use the same reporting and blocking functions to raise any concerns that you have on the app. You can also turn your ‘auto status’ on and off to manage whether your close friends can see where you are or what you are doing when the app is open or closed.

Resources document

Instagram has created a comprehensive parent’s guide to learn more about the features of the app and how to keep your teen safe on the app.


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