What is BeReal? Your Guide to the Newest Social Media App


You’ve mastered Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You’re finally ready to tackle TikTok. But don’t get too comfortable — a hot new social media app has entered the villa. Gen Z is raving about it, but what is BeReal?

Unlike its alternatives, BeReal offers an unfiltered, unplanned social experience. In some ways, the app combines the freedom of Instagram’s early days (minus the Valencia filter) and TikTok’s candid, anything-goes vibe.

We’ll take you through everything you need to know about BeReal, including what it is, how it works and why it’s different.

What is BeReal?

BeReal is a photo-sharing app that prompts users to post one unfiltered photo per day.

BeReal launched in late 2019, but its popularity started to explode in mid-2022. It’s currently the top Social Networking app on the App Store and has been installed roughly 29.5 million times.

How does BeReal work?

The BeReal app sends a push notification — ⚠️ Time to BeReal. ⚠️ — to all users at a random time each day. Users in the same time zone get the alert simultaneously. They then have two minutes to take a photo and share it with their followers.

And it’s not really just one photo, either. BeReal uses your front and back cameras to snap a selfie along with whatever you’re doing, at the same time. So if you’ve gotten used to the beauty filter, be prepared: The app doesn’t have any photo editing features.

The two-minute countdown means no planning, no primping, and no content-batching. You just share whatever you’re doing when the notification comes in — which may be 11 AM one day and 4 PM the next.

You can retake your photos within the two-minute window, but your followers will know if (and how many times) you do. If you miss the deadline, you can still post, but your BeReal gets tagged with “posted late.”

Once you’ve posted your BeReal, you’ll be able to browse your friends’ photos and see what they’re up to. Unlike every other social platform, there’s no option to simply like other photos — if you want to engage with a post, you have to take a reaction selfie or write a comment

And if you’re a lurker, you’re out of luck. You can still use the app, but you won’t be able to see any of your friends’ photos without posting your own.

BeReal doesn't let you view photos without posting

How to get started on BeReal

Ready to take the plunge? Follow our simple tutorial to get started on the app.

1. Create an account
BeReal is available for both Android and iOS users, so first, download the app. To create an account, you’ll have to enter your phone number, full name, birthday, and username.

2. Connect with your friends
Once you’ve created an account and logged in, you can sync your contacts to find friends on the app.

BeReal contact syncing

3. Take your first BeReal
BeReal will prompt you to take a picture right after you create an account. Click on the notification and take your first photo within two minutes.

Taking a BeReal with countdown

4. Add a caption and share your photo
After you add a caption, you can choose whether you want to share your photo with everyone or friends only. Click Send to post!

Adding a caption to BeReal

5. Start exploring
Once you’ve shared your first BeReal, you can browse other photos in the Discovery section. You can react to posts with selfies using the emoji in the bottom left.

BeReal reaction emoji [realmoji]

What’s the appeal of BeReal?

BeReal’s content may seem mundane, but that’s kind of the point. So far, it’s not for influencers or advertisers — users are on the app to connect with friends.

In fact, BeReal’s terms and conditions explicitly prohibit using the app for advertising or commercial purposes.

Of course, novelty is definitely part of the appeal (remember Peach? RIP). But the app’s approach feels like a fresh take on the overly curated content that dominates most social networks.

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