Instagram's Snapchat rival is very real, but its initial availability is very limited

Instagram Bolt
Snap, bolt, sling - so much verbage

It seemed inevitable that Instagram would eventually launch its own Snapchat competitor, and today the company proved the rumors true with the announcement of Instagram Bolt.

The new iOS and Android app lets users send photos and videos to their friends with a single tap.

Much like in Snapchat and other apps like Taptalk and Facebook Slingshot, the content then disappears as soon as it's viewed.

There's just one problem if you want to get your hands on Instagram Bolt right now: it's only available in three countries.


Instagram Bolt has launched in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa, and an Instagram spokesperson told TechRadar that the company expects to release it elsewhere "soon."

"We decided to start small with Bolt, in just a handful of countries, to make sure we can scale while maintaining a great experience," the spokesperson said.

In additio, The Verge received a statement noting that 65% of Instagram users live outside the US, "so an international launch, while different, is actually not all that out of order with what we do."

"This isn't a side project," that spokesperson promised. "We are totally behind this thing."

How Bolt works

The Bolt app appeared first in a banner ad inside the Instagram app for Android on July 24, but now we get to see its features fleshed out.

Using the app is dead simple: tap on a friend's face to open the camera, shoot and send them a photo, or long-tap to send a video. You can add overlay text, or reply to content you've received. Content disappears once it's viewed and swiped away.

Instagram bolt

Have as much fun as these guys (credit: TechCrunch)

Despite Instagram being owned by Facebook, Bolt will only import friends from your phone contacts, not from your Facebook friends.

And users can set up to four favorites that will stay on the app's main page, though Bolt only lets users send content to one friend at a time.

It's a pretty app, but time will tell whether Instagram Bolt has what it needs to compete with the glut of other quick-and-dirty photo messaging apps popping up.

Michael Rougeau

Michael Rougeau is a former freelance news writer for TechRadar. Studying at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Northeastern University, Michael has bylines at Kotaku, 1UP, G4, Complex Magazine, Digital Trends, GamesRadar, GameSpot, IFC, Animal New York, @Gamer, Inside the Magic, Comic Book Resources, Zap2It, TabTimes, GameZone, Cheat Code Central, Gameshark, Gameranx, The Industry, Debonair Mag, Kombo, and others.

Micheal also spent time as the Games Editor for, and was the managing editor at GameSpot before becoming an Animal Care Manager for Wags and Walks.