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How to join and use Meta's Threads

Available for iOS and Android and on the web, Threads is accessible to Instagram users who'd like to try a social network other than X, aka Twitter. Here's how to dive in.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Threads app on a phone
NurPhoto/Contributor/Getty Images

Created by Facebook and Instagram owner Meta, Threads is freely available as an app and website and offers you an alternative to Elon Musk's X (formerly Twitter). Whether you wish to join Threads as a permanent member or just want to see what the fuss is about, here are the steps to hop on board.

How to get started with Threads

1. Join Instagram if you don't have an account

Threads is only available to Instagram users as it taps directly into your account. If you don't yet have an Instagram profile and still want to take Threads for a spin, browse to the Instagram website and click the "Sign up" link. 

Also: Lost your blue check? These are the best Twitter alternatives

At the next page, add your name, email address, and a password and then click "Sign up". Add your birthday and confirm your account via a code texted to your phone. You're now set up with Instagram.

Join Instagram if you don't have an account
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

2. Sign in on the Threads app or website

Download Threads from Apple's App Store for iOS or Google Play for Android and then fire up the app. If you're more comfortable using your PC, browse to the Threads website. All the features and settings in Threads are fully available whether you use the app or the website.

Also: Changing this phone setting instantly made the Threads app better for me

If your Instagram account name already appears at the bottom of the initial screen in the app, just tap it. If not, tap the option for "Log in with Instagram" and then sign in with your account. You can then opt to save your login information if you wish. On the website, click the "Log in" button and you can then sign in with your Instagram credentials.

Sign in at the Threads app
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

3. Create your profile

The Profile screen then asks you to confirm your name, write a bio, and then add a link to a website. If you already have that information in Instagram and want to use it in Threads, just tap the button for "Import from Instagram". Otherwise, add those details manually.

Create your profile
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

4. Go private or public

The Privacy screen asks if you want to make your profile public or private. With a public profile, anyone can see, share, and interact with your content. With a private profile, only your approved followers can see and interact with your content. Choose the type of profile you want and tap "Next".

Go private or public
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

5. Select the accounts to follow

Next, you're asked to choose the Instagram accounts that you want to follow on Threads. Review the list of accounts and tap "Follow" for any that you wish to include. Naturally, any account you pick would need to join Threads to be available. 

Also: 5 reasons to try Twitter rival Bluesky

To follow all accounts, tap the button for "Follow all". An account that's already active on Threads will display a Following button. An account that hasn't yet joined will display a Cancel button in case you change your mind. When done, tap "Next".

Select the accounts to follow
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

6. Join and view the main feed

The next screen explains how Threads works. Read the fine print and then click the button for "Join Threads". You're then taken to the main feed for Threads.

Join and view the main feed
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

7. View the main feed

From there, swipe down the screen to view the posts on your feed. At the top of the screen are headings for two types of feeds. Tap the "For you" heading to see posts created by the accounts you follow as well as other accounts. Tap the "Following" heading to see posts only from the accounts you follow.

View the main feed
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

8. Respond to a post

Spot a post you like and want to respond to it? Threads offers a few options. Tap the heart icon to indicate that you like the post. Tap the Reply icon and type a reply to it. Tap the next icon to report or quote the post. And tap the fourth icon to add it to your Instagram story or feed, post it on Twitter, copy the link, or share it via another app or service.

Respond to a post
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

9. Find accounts to follow

To seek out more accounts to follow, tap the Search icon. The app will display suggested accounts that may interest you. 

Also: 5 things to know about Meta's Threads app

To find accounts based on a topic or name, type a word or term in the search field. Threads then displays accounts that match your search term. Tap "Follow" to follow any of them.

Find accounts to follow
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

10. Check your activity

To see your followers, replies, mentions, and other activity, tap the heart icon at the bottom. The All screen shows your current followers and any private accounts that you've requested to follow. Any private account you ask to follow needs to approve your request. Tap "Follow" to follow someone who's following you. Tap the other tabs to see replies, mentions, and your verified status.

Check your activity
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

11. Submit a post

To add your own post to Threads, tap the New Thread icon at the bottom. Type your post. To attach a photo or video, tap the paper clip icon and select the item you want to add. When done, tap "Post". Your post then appears on your feed and the feed of anyone who follows you. Any account on Threads can then like your post, reply to it, repost it or quote it, and share it.

Submit a post
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

12. Review your profile

Tap the profile icon at the bottom. This screen shows the posts and replies you've submitted. Here, you can also edit and share your profile details. 

Also: Micro-social media: What is it and which tools should you try?

Tap the globe icon at the top to view and adjust your privacy settings. Tap the Instagram icon at the top to view your Instagram posts and profile.

Review your profile
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

13. Review your settings

Tap the settings icon at the top of the profile screen. From here, you're able to invite friends to Threads via other apps and services, manage your notifications, adjust your privacy settings, review your account options, and access help information for Threads.

Review your settings
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET
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