15+ Must-Have Apps and Hacks to Take Your Instagram Stories to the Next Level

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Once upon a time, we spent our spare time scrolling through Instagram, liking and commenting on pictures of food, puppies and . . . well, more puppies, but not anymore. Now, all our Instagram time is spent tapping our way through Instagram Stories, the younger, fresher cousin to the Instagram photo feed. It might have taken us all a little while to get used to this Snapchat-style addition to the app, but now around 400 million of us use it every day to share our lives.

With Instagram’s algorithm change and shadow banning rumours, Stories has become much more than just a fun video platform for some. For influencers, it became the main way to get more followers, connect with their audiences, and share new exciting content in a really simple way. With the rise in popularity of the format, new apps are being released constantly that promise to help your stories stand out. If 2019 is the year you want to become the next big influencer (or you just want to show off your new buys to your Insta friends), then let us guide you. We’ve compiled some of the best apps and hacks that will help you up your Instagram game and get your story views through the roof.


Storyluxe is like the updated version of the much hyped app Unfold that took over most of 2018. Like Unfold, the layout is clean and simple, and you can add many different photographs and videos in the same layout. This offers so much more than Unfold though — you can get many different templates for you photos such as Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, and many more. You can also change the background colour in most templates, too. The app is free with some in-app purchases available.

Available on iOS.


Packed with tons of premade professional looking templates, StoryArt is an amazing free app to help your Stories stand out. You can customise the colours and most backgrounds in each template to suit your Instagram colour theme. Simply add your photo, then click the A+ icon for text and the paint icon to change the colours. There is also a really great selection of fonts in the app, too.

Available on iOS and Android


If you want the best-quality pictures and videos that you can possibly get for your Instagram Stories, then the Moment app is for you. The app works like a mini DSLR in your phone and gives you control over your cameras ISO, autofocus, white balance, and much more. The app also gives you the ability to shoot in RAW mode, which helps keep the quality of your images and video in the best condition. We love that you can change the colours and tones live as your record, so that there is little to do afterward — no filters needed with the Moment. The app is free, but for £5, you can unlock all the pro features.

Available on iOS and Android.

RNI Films

This free app gives you the filters that add the look and feel of film photography to your photographs. With the real depth, colour, and tone of film from brands like Kodak and Fuji, RNI Films give your pictures an authentic and subtle film feel. The app also has an adjustment section where you can change the light and shadows, the brightness, contrast, and even add some retro scratches and marks, too. This works great alongside some of the other apps that give you the vintage film borders to complete the look for your Stories.

Available on iOS.


InShot is one of the most famous editing apps and is unanimously loved by influencers all around the world. It is probably the best all-rounder: you can edit videos and pictures as well as colour correct, add text, cool effects, filters, and change the size to suit the Stories platform, too. It’s really simple to use, and free, with the option of in-app purchases.

Available on iOS and Android.

Adobe Photoshop Mix

Creating collages and your own customised photo layouts is supersimple with Photoshop Mix. This app equips you with a layers feature, allowing you to adjust, alter, and combine your photographs and typography individually to produce seamless, professional-looking content for your Stories. This one takes a bit more time to get used to, so go wild, play around with it, and see what you can create. Adobe Photoshop Mix is free.

Available on iOS and Android

A Design Kit

With over 120 designs and more than 30-plus fonts, A Design kit is perfect for anyone looking to add a little artistic touch to their Instagram Stories. The free app comes with a handful of realistic looking brushes, pens, and pencils for you to use to draw, write, doodle, or squiggle all over your images. Our favourite thing about the app is the brush colours: you can use metallic colours, glitter textures, rainbow shades, and so many more. This is one app that really helps add your own flair to your stories.

Available on iOS store.

Analog Acoustic

This app doesn’t have a massive range of templates, but don’t let that put you off paying the 99p it costs, as the handful it does offer are really unique and add a perfect film feel to all your digital photos. It also has some really lovely light flare filters, too, that give a cinematic look to your photography; a great addition to your sunny Spring and Summer InstaStories.

Available on iOS.


If your Instagram Story aesthetic is inspired by Tumblr, then Vapor will be your dream come true. With a late ’90s, early ’00s feel to the app, it allows you to add backgrounds, stickers, and GIFs onto your photography. Think Californian pools, pink bathroom tiles, and TV static, and you’re close to what the premade backgrounds are. This pop culture-inspired app is so fun and really gives your stories an edge.

Available on iOS.


Splice is a powerful video editing app that works brilliantly on your phone. The free app lets you pick video clips, add transitions, edit them together, speed them up or slow them down, and add text overlays, too. You can also add music from the Splice library or your own and edit your video in time to your music. This app is really handy for you to trim your videos to the perfect 15-second Instagram Story length, too.

Available on iOS.

8mm Vintage Camera

When you see a really cool Instagram Story that looks like it was filmed on an old Super 8 camera, chances are it was actually filmed using this app. Arguably one of the most popular video apps, 8mm is so good at what it does. It has eight lenses and 13 film filters to choose from. You can add a blurred 3D effect, light leaks, or keep it classy with a film noir filter. A real must have, 8mm doesn’t disappoint and is totally worth spending £2 on.

Available on iOS.


For any filter or effect you’re looking for, you’ll probably be able to find it in Prequel. The free app also offers live filters and effects for video recording, which saves so much time putting filters on later. It’s perfect for when your doing live Insta Stories at your next party. Add glitches, VHS filters, glitter, sparkles, and so much more.

Available on iOS.

Adobe Spark Post

Spark Post works for everyone, but it’s especially helpful if you want to try and get your work seen on Instagram Stories or you’re trying to grow your online business through the platform. The free app helps you create stunning and professional graphics in minutes. You don’t need to have any design experience or knowledge; you can use one of the app’s premade templates and “remix” it with you own imagery, colours, fonts, and words, and you’ve got yourself a standout Instagram Story. You can also animate your story and graphics, too.

Available on iOS and Android

Adobe Illustrator Draw

This free app is great if you want to add your own artwork to your Stories. You can make and create full blown digital drawings using the simple tools, and it’s a joy to work with. We also love adding outlines and doodles to our photography to help it stand out or get a message across on Instagram Stories. The app gives you a handful of brushes and textures, with a great colour palette to choose from too.


With a massive selection of editing tools, Snapseed is a great app to use for your stories. You can edit RAW files with this app, too, which will leave you with high-quality images even after editing. You can also add filters, lens effects, and dust and grain to add a vintage effect to your photography.

Available on iOS and Android

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