“BeReal. Your Friends for Real,” is the slogan for the BeReal photo-sharing app. Released in 2020, the app is experiencing a sudden surge in popularity among members of Gen-Z. Meant to be a counterpoint to Instagram and VSCO, people use BeReal expressly because it discourages filters and curated content and instead gives users a window into what their friends are really like in their daily lives.
What is the BeReal app that Gen-Z is talking about?
- BeReal is a popular social media app that you download from an app store like Google Play.
- Once daily at a random time, BeReal gives users 2 minutes to take a photo, then upload and post it to their site. Everyone in a friend group posts at the same time.
- When you take a photo, the app activates your phone’s front and back cameras simultaneously. The photo you end up with shows not only the photo you wanted to take, but often a picture of what’s in back of you, or even your own concentrating face.
- The short upload window all but eliminates filters and careful staging.
- BeReal allows users to delete one post a day.
- Users recreate their own emojis using their own faces, and then can use those “realmojis” to react and comment on their friends’ photos.
- BeReal encourages people to be their more authentic selves.
Where do I download the BeReal app?
BeReal is available for download on your mobile device in the Apple and Google Play app stores. It’s easy to find, just search for “BeReal.” The icon is the word in white lettering inside of a black box.
Once you download the app, it’s going to give you their whole spiel. Then it will ask you for your name and your birthday, your username, and your location. (You do not have to share your location. I did not.)
Once you’ve fully installed the app, it’s time to take your first BeReal!
How to Take a BeReal
You have two minutes to take a picture of whatever you’re doing — remember, the app will use both cameras!
You can retake the picture as many times as you want within the two-minute time limit, but your friends will see how many retakes you took. The point of this app is to ditch your worries about lighting and poses. Just take the picture, quick!
If you want to, you can add a caption to your photo.
When you’re done, you can send your photo to all of your friends on the BeReal app. Or, as in my case, the app will remind you that you have no friends… at which point, it will prompt you to search through your contacts to connect with friends already using the app or invite some to join you.
How to Delete a BeReal
To wean users away from obsessing over composition, lighting, and angles, BeReal allows users to delete only one BeReal photo a day. I was a little confused trying to figure out how to actually delete a post, so I’ll save you some aggravation by writing what I learned here. To delete a BeReal photo, you first have to click the three little dots below it.
Options will pop up, but none of them say delete.
The photo shows my three options: “comments,” “realmojis,” and “retake.” The counters show that I have zero comments on my photo, zero realmoji reactions, and zero ability to see if any of my friends retook their photos. I’m not surprised by any of this, since I’m only testing out the app and I haven’t listed any friends.
What I am surprised about is how hard it is to find the delete button. It turns out that delete is still a hidden option. To get to it, now you click the word “options” in the lower right.
Finally, an option appears to “Delete my BeReal.” You click that button. But hold on, you’re not done yet. The app asks WHY you want to delete the BeReal. It wants you to have a good reason for doing this, and it reminds you that you can delete only one BeReal a day.
If you’re absolutely sure you want to delete your photo, you can finally do so here.
And that’s the long and short of how to take and delete photos on BeReal.
Everything about this app is designed to make you stop and think about your social media usage. By design and intent, this app is an anti-Instagram. Will it replace Instagram? As with any social media site, only time will tell us if this one has any real staying power.