TikTok launches a Notes app to beat Instagram at photo sharing... using text

Now available for testing in Australia and Canada, TikTok Notes lets you write about the photos and videos you share.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
The TikTok mobile app
Lance Whitney/ZDNET

TikTok has released TikTok Notes, a new photo sharing app that aims to rival Instagram by offering TikTok users a way to describe the photos they share using headlines and captions. In a Wednesday post on X (formerly Twitter), TikTok touted the new app and its launch.

"We're in the early stages of experimenting with a dedicated space for photo and text content with TikTok Notes," TikTok wrote. "Starting today, TikTok Notes is available for download and limited testing in Australia and Canada."

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Trying to explain the purpose of Notes, TikTok said it hopes that people will use the app to continue sharing moments through photo posts. "Whether documenting adventures, expressing creativity, or simply sharing snapshots of one's day, the TikTok Notes experience is designed for those who would like to share and engage through photo content," TikTok added.

Though TikTok Notes is available for testing only in Australia and Canada, the app has popped up in Apple's App Store and Google Play, suggesting it's only a matter of time before TikTok rolls it out more broadly. The brief description says: "TikTok Notes is a lifestyle platform that offers informative photo-text content about people's lives, where you can see individuals sharing their travel tips, daily recipes…"

TikTok's main app lets you share photos and videos of your daily events and activities. While you can overlay text, you've never been able to fully describe or comment on the items you share. That's the gap that TikTok Notes aims to fill.

Screens from the TikTok Notes app

The screenshots on Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store show how TikTok Notes lets you add a headline and caption for your photos and videos and allow comments from other users. As you might expect, you're also able to see TikTok Notes that may interest you by checking posts from people you follow and viewing a dedicated "For You" page.

With the new Notes app, TikTok is trying to not only rival, but outshine Instagram. On Instagram, you can write a caption for a photo or video, but you can't add a headline. Creating the right headline is a key way to draw attention to your post, so Notes should prove to be a welcome addition to TikTok's lineup.

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