Instagram's new Co-Watching feature lets friends browse together via video chat

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Scrolling through your Instagram feed has, until now, been something you do on your own. However, with more and more people staying away from friends and family to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Instagram has rolled out a new feature called Co-Watching to help users feel, well, less isolated.

The new feature allows friends on a video chat (even a group chat) to browse through posts that one of them has 'liked' or 'saved' in their Instagram feed. It even allows participants of the video call to view others' Instagram recommendations.

This gives friends and family a way to talk about different posts on the photo- and video-sharing platform, giving them a way to stay connected.

Instagram Co-Watching

(Image credit: Instagram)

How it works

Using Co-Watching is real simple: Head to Instagram Direct (the direct messaging feature on the platform) by tapping on the 'paper plane' icon on the top right corner of the app. 

Then start a new video chat by searching for or selecting a contact in the inbox, then tapping the video camera icon on this direct messaging page. Once you've begun chatting, just tap on the photo icon at the bottom of the pane to view all recently liked, saved and Instagram recommendations available on your feed.

The one you select will appear on the screen for all participants on the video chat.

That's not all

Co-Watching isn't the only new update to be rolled out to all users – Instagram has also begun highlighting more educational resources about Covid-19 in the search tab, while also ramping up its efforts in removing unofficial coronavirus content and accounts unless it's a credible source.

See more

Instagram is also expanding the Donation stickers to more countries so users can search for and ask for contributions to genuine and relevant non-profit organizations.

To help connect users practising social distancing, shared Stories will feature a 'Stay Home' sticker on all posts within the network.

It's easy to see how Co-Watching will become popular in the coming days, and these efforts add to Instagram's Covid-19 prevention initiatives that began about two weeks ago, when the platform started listing posts from credible health organizations at the top of the search tab. 

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.