At a session at Facebook's F8 developer conference on Tuesday, titled "Building Offline Experiences for Instagram," a software engineer described the new offline mode for Android.
80 percent of Instagram's users are outside of the U.S. — many in emerging markets where the cellular internet can be slower.
"For people in low-bandwidth regions, we’ve begun testing offline experiences that keep the Instagram experience consistent and let people consume and engage with content, even if they don’t have service," the company said in the session's description.
The company has not yet announced the feature, but at least parts of it are already deployed in various regions. I was able to use the "like" feature in New York City, but none of the others. Instead of preventing you from liking posts when offline, the app now updates your likes when you're connected to the internet again.
Instagram is currently extremely network dependent, meaning that there is very little you can do without being connected to the internet.
Offline mode features include: much more cached feed content, liking and commenting offline, visiting profiles, unfollowing and includes support for the explore, activity and profile tabs.
The feature is currently being tested on Android, with iOS likely to come next. Offline mode could be a big boost for time spent in the Instagram app especially for users in emerging markets with spotty internet access.