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Instagram app icon gets a makeover

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A few years back, Google introduced a design aesthetic called Material Design – basically this meant a more clean and flat user interface on websites, computers and smartphones.

It was a huge departure from another design concept called skeuomorphism, where designs are made to look like real life objects.

Not sure what we’re talking about? Look at the app icons on your phone, there was a time when icons looked 3D, had bevels and drop shadows. Apple was a big proponent of skeuomorphism, and on the original iPhone the notes app icon resembled a notebook, the camera app icon resembled a camera lens.  

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When material design started taking root, apps were quick to follow the trend, looking flat and for the lack of a better word, basic. Except for one hold-out, Instagram’s app icon has stayed the same all these years.

For an obsessive compulsive like me, it was really annoying. I meticulously curate the apps that appear on my home screen, and the Instagram app stands out like a sore thumb. It’s one of my most frequently used apps but one I’d rather hide than give prominent placement to.

But that’s all changed today. Instagram has a new app icon, and it’s flat!

In a blog post announcing the update, Instagram says the new app icon is inspired by the original, “but with a simpler camera.” The rainbow that once adorned the old logo, “lives on in gradient form.”

According to a separate blog post on Medium, Instagram design head Ian Spalter said he asked everyone in the company to draw the Instagram icon from memory, giving them only 5 seconds. The elements from the original that had the most recall (rainbow, lens, and viewfinder) were incorporated into the new, modern design.

The new icon is essentially a camera still, but instead of the Polaroid which is what Instagram was originally about, the new camera outline represents the shift to smartphone photography – the way most people take photos today.

Spalter writes, “We wanted to create a look that would represent the community’s full range of expression — past, present, and future.”

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Instagram’s other apps Hyperlapse, Boomerang, and Layout also get similar app redesigns.

The redesign isn’t just skin deep. The Instagram app also gets a facelift, looking cleaner than ever. Now its mainly black and white, bringing “more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app.”

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We checked, the Instagram update is available on both the iOS app store and Google Play.

Apps

How to hide from Instragram’s new Activity Status feature

It’s on by default!

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Instagram silently rolled out a new feature of its app. If you don’t like your friends to know that you’re online (and also protect your privacy), you might want to take action. Why? Because it’s automatically turned on.

If you have the latest app, you probably noticed something new inside the Direct Messages section. This new feature dubbed “Activity Status” lets your Instagram buddies know if you’re online. If you happen to be scrolling through your timeline moments ago, the status will show that you’ve been available earlier.

This is switched on by default but the data is only shared with users that you follow and those you message privately. There’s no need to panic if you think a stalker will know that you’re online — unless you follow them, too.

How to turn it off?

You can easily switch it off inside the app. Just go to your profile page and tap the top-right icon for Options.

Next, scroll down until you see “Show Activity Status” and switch the toggle button beside.

That’s it! Now that it’s off on your end, your status will not show up to your buddies. Although, you won’t be able to see the status of other accounts as well.

Since the new feature was smoothly included in the recent updates from the Play Store or App Store, it’s not clear when Instagram introduced the function. Some might not have it yet, which could mean it’s still an experimental approach with a limited number of users.

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Pokémon Go will drop old iPhones that don’t support iOS 11

You must upgrade to play!

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Bad news for Pokémon Go trainers out there with an old iPhone. If the “battery-gate” fiasco is not enough to make you upgrade, this announcement might force you if you want to keep on playing.

Niantic announced its plans to drop support for iOS devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11. Primarily, these are iPhones and even iPads released in or before 2013. They are the following:

  • iPhone 5c
  • iPhone 5
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (1st generation)
  • iPad 2

The anticipated update will take effect starting February 28, 2018. After that date, Trainers using Apple devices that can’t be updated to iOS 11 will no longer be able to log in, catch Pokémon, and use their PokéCoins or other items. They must switch to a supported device to continue playing.

Niantic stated that the change is a result of improvements to Pokémon Go which push the game ahead of the capabilities of old iPhones and iPads.

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Apps

6 free VPN apps for Android and iOS

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If you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi, it’s best to use a virtual private network or VPN to mask your IP address and avoid security risks. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” over the internet between your device and any website or app you are trying to access.

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