BeReal, a photo-sharing app dubbed the “anti-Instagram,” has soared in popularity in recent weeks to take the number one spot in the US on Apple’s App Store charts — beating TikTok.
In total, BeReal has been downloaded over 20 million times. It had 1.7 million downloads during the week of July 11, the biggest weekly gain ever, while this past Saturday was the app’s best day ever for downloads, according to data shared with Fast Company by digital analytics platform Sensor Tower.
As well as taking the top spot among free apps in Apple’s US Store, the United States is currently BeReal’s top market, representing about 35 percent of its users — followed by the UK with 17 percent and France with 10 percent.
BeReal managed to top the Apple US charts for three days in the last week, despite the app reportedly receiving numerous complaints that it crashes when users try to upload their daily photo.
However, University of Buffalo School of Management’s Professor Arun Lakshmanan tells the Los Angeles Times that it’s common for the infrastructure of social media apps to come under strain when demand suddenly surges.
BeReal’s boom echoes the early success of Instagram and Twitter, when platform glitches were frequent because of an overload of users.
“The faster an application is able to ramp up, the more likely it is to become popular and stable,” explains Lakshmanan.
What is BeReal?
Set up as the antithesis to Instagram, BeReal only allows users to post one photo per day and only at a randomized specific time. The app wants users to focus on sharing authentic posts that don’t use editing or filters. Furthermore, users don’t get to decide when they share a photo. Instead, they receive a notification to post a picture in their current surroundings and receive a two-minute timeframe to do so.
When the shutter button is pressed, BeReal captures using both a front and rear-facing camera making it impossible to hide behind the main camera. This bi-directional capture feature means that viewers get a complete snapshot of what the poster is up to at that moment.
The news of BeReal’s surging popularity comes as Instagram continues to focus on Reels as it competes with rival TikTok. In the face of large-scale criticism of recent changes to the app, Instagram head Adam Mosseri appeared to double down on the company’s commitment to video today.