What is BeReal?

BeReal has recently become a pretty popular social media app, and if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you’ve come to the right place.

In the following sections, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the new photo-sharing app that has everyone talking and sharing photos of themselves with their friends at random times of the day.

What is BeReal?

BeReal app icon on an iPhone 13 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

BeReal is a social media and photo-sharing app that strives to be less about the curation of one’s own image (like you’d find on Instagram or Facebook) and more about capturing more authentic photos of one’s life as it happens in the moment and then sharing those photos with friends. If Instagram is all about attracting followers and likes by creating and curating a polished, influencer-like collection of photos and videos, then BeReal is trying to be the opposite: an app that’s all about cultivating and maintaining connections with friends via less polished, more spontaneous posts that let friends share more “real” moments.

BeReal is designed to facilitate and encourage more authentic posts. Instead of simple photo sharing, BeReal has an interesting timed photo prompt format. Let’s take a closer look at how BeReal works.

How it works

BeReal has a unique format, as it’s not about having its users create a constant stream of content for others to scroll through. It might help to think of it as less of a platform for creators and brands and more of a social networking space for friends to share a unique photo post once a day among themselves. It’s kind of like a daily visual check-in with your friends.

Here’s how BeReal works: All users are sent a daily push notification that prompts them to take a photo (usually of what they’re doing right now). BeReal users are initially given a maximum of two minutes to take the photo and post it. However, you can still post a photo after the timer runs out; it will just be marked as “late,” and your friends will be notified that you posted late. It’s also worth noting that in order to view your friends’ posts (or other users’ public posts), you have to post your daily photo first.

A BeReal push notification on Android.

A BeReal post is fairly plain compared to most social media posts on other platforms. It’s simply an image post that contains two photos taken at the same time: a photo of what you’re doing and an automatic selfie of yourself while you were taking the former photo. The result is a vertically oriented, large photo of what you were doing, with a smaller rectangular selfie layered on top of the large photo and located in the top-left corner. (If you’ve used TikTok Now, you’re probably already familiar with this dual-camera-style photo-capture feature.)

You can add a caption to the post once it’s published, but that’s it. There are no other bells and whistles. You can’t add filters, stickers, or anything else. You can’t edit these photos, either. And that’s the point. You and your photos are supposed to “be real.”

A BeReal post before and after it has been published.

Once your BeReal post is published, your friends can comment on it or react to it with the app’s RealMojis feature. The RealMojis feature lets you add a photo of yourself in which you recreate the emoji you want to use to react to a photo. So if you select the thumbs-up emoji, you’ll then be prompted to take a selfie of yourself doing the thumbs-up signal. That selfie will be attached to your reaction to the photo. You won’t have to take a selfie every time you want to react to something, as BeReal only has five emoji reactions to choose from. You’ll just have to take a selfie for each of these reactions, and BeReal will save them for future reactions. There is also a lightning bolt option that lets you create a custom emoji (with another selfie) if you don’t like the other preset options.

BeReal does let you retake photos, but your friends will be able to see how many retakes you did before finally publishing your post. You’ll also be able to see your previous BeReal posts on your profile. They will be displayed like a calendar, and you’ll just select the day you want to view to see the post. BeReal also lets you share your posts on other platforms like Instagram.

And lastly, BeReal does offer a limited Discovery tab, which features public BeReal posts from people who aren’t your friends. You can’t comment on these posts, but you can react to them. You can also set your own posts to be public as well.

Availability and cost

BeReal is free to download and use. It is currently available for Android and iOS devices.

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