BeReal challenges you to be more authentic on social media

BeReal wants its users to be, you guessed it, real.

Sarah Tew/CNET

BeReal is a social media app that aims to leave the artificial glamor behind and give you a more authentic way to tell your stories. Instead of carefully curated images, BeReal offers “a new and unique way to find out who your friends really are in their daily lives,” according to the company.

BeReal users post an image, called “BeReal”, in a random 2-minute window every day, wherever they are, doing what they do. So you probably won’t see shiny, stylized photos that have been edited to hell and back. You’re more likely to see your friend hanging out on the couch with their dog or cat.

The app notifies you when the 2-minute post window starts, but since the window changes daily, you can’t plan ahead what you’re going to do. During this window, you will take a photo with your front and back cameras, and both photos will be uploaded to the app simultaneously.

If you are sitting up in your bed, you will show your headboard. If you’re picking up food from a drive-thru, ask if the drive-thru employee wants to participate in the photo. If you’re in the bathroom… well, you get the idea.

Founded in 2019, BeReal has been installed on around 7.5 million devices, according to Apptopia. Here’s what to know about the app, including what you can and can’t do.

Can I edit BeReal photos?

No. You cannot beautify your BeReal by brightening, cropping, or using weird filters like you would on other social media apps. If you have bags under your eyes, then you have bags under your eyes in the post office. This means you won’t be subjected to heavily edited and staged photos of your friends acting like they have a glamorous lifestyle. You can retake a photo, but the app tells people how many times you have retaken the photo once you post your BeReal.

What happens if I miss the 2 minute window?

If you don’t post within 2 minutes, nothing really happens. There’s no Snapchat-style streak to lose, and you can always post later. But BeReal denounces you and tells people that you posted “late”. BeReal sends push notifications whenever someone posts, so your friends know what time you posted. That sounds a bit stressful on its own.

What if I don’t want to post?

It is very good. You don’t have to post, but you won’t be able to see other people’s posts. You must actively participate in the application to see what others are doing. By forcing people to post in order to see other people’s posts, it ensures that everyone plays along.


You cannot see posts on BeReal until you post.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Who sees my BeReal?

When you post your BeReal, you can either only send it to your friends or post it publicly and let anyone on the app see it. When you post publicly, users can find your BeReal in the Discover tab of the app.

How to add friends?

People choose a username when they sign up for the app, so you’ll have to research other people’s usernames. You can grant the app access to your contacts when you first sign up to quickly find people who are already using the app. You can also find and add friends in the Discovery tab.

Can I publish my BeReal on Instagram?

You can if you want. You can see all of your BeReals posted to Your Memories by tapping your profile icon in the top right corner, and a timeline will show your BeReals listed in chronological order. Just tap the BeReal you want, then share it on other social networks or save it to your photos. (BeReal will first ask for permission to access an outside app or your photo gallery.) If you want to share your BeReal on Instagram, it uploads to your Instagram stories and you cannot edit the image at beyond adding text or a sticker.


As you post, your BeReals can be seen in Your Memories.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

What differentiates BeReal from other social networks?

Let’s say you want to respond to a BeReal from a friend with a thumbs up or a laughing face like you would on other social media platforms. To do this, you need to create a “RealMoji” or a photo of you doing the corresponding emoji. So, instead of just adding a thumbs-up pictogram, you need to send a photo of yourself with the gesture. If you want to make a friend realize that their BeReal was funny, take a photo of your face appearing to be laughing.

You can download BeReal for free from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

For other social media news, check out how you can use social media for good, some facebook alternatives and why in the beginning MySpace was the pinnacle of social media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.