The thread exploded onto the scene of potential rival Twitter earlier this month, but it’s still very early days for the Instagram-adjacent text-first social network.
Meta released a renew to the iOS version of the app on Tuesday, the second since its debut two weeks ago and the first to add an important feature.
According to Threads developer Cameron Roth, the new iOS update offers a bunch of smaller changes along with one major missing feature: translations. Threads are available in many countries around the world, with the EU being one big exception, as Meta is currently embroiled in a regulatory battle limiting its ad business there. Being able to translate posts in a foreign language is invaluable on an international social platform, although Instagram’s own translation in some languages may not make sense, from our experience.
Beyond adding translations, Threads also adds a new “follow tab” in the activity feed, the part of the app that collects interactions like replies and mentions. Unfortunately this tab isn’t as attractive as it sounds, only letting you display all of your most recent Thread followers.
The latest Threads update also adds some hidden enhancements to the activity feed, a “tappingable reposter label”, the ability to subscribe to unfollowed users and an option to open Instagram followers list for specific users. As the update is out now, Roth says users may need to restart the app or wait until the end of the day to see the changes (they haven’t shown up for us yet but if we find anything else surprising you should hear about it).
The thread is very slick by the normal standards of new social apps, but it still lacks a lot of useful utilities that some users may find essential. Since its launch, several Thread users have complained about the app’s lack of accessibility features such as alt text on launch. Twitter rivals Mastodon and Bluesky already include customizable alt text for image descriptions — a tool considered a cornerstone standard of accessible app design.
Since Threads debuted, users have also requested feeds that only show content from people you follow. Right now that seems to be the main gripe about Threads – the algorithm serving up a brand-heavy mix of fresh content isn’t likely to knock it out of the park for many, but at least it is.
While Instagram’s Adam Mosseri has indicated a follow-only feed of some kind is in the works, this is Meta we’re talking about – don’t count on ad-free or ad-free chronological feeds unsullied by the algorithm anytime soon.