How to Use BeReal: A Guide to the Hit Photo Sharing App

BeReal is a new social media network that puts a focus on authenticity. Others have made similar claims but this goal has proven difficult to achieve. This guide will look at what BeReal is and how to use it.

We all strive to be our best, even though we are trying to stay real. Everybody wants to make their posts stand out. This leads to a lot of effort and time being put into each post as well as ongoing efforts to improve the daily feed. The pressure to look great or to be creative and unique in every post throughout the day often becomes overwhelming.

Perhaps that’s why BeReal’s popularity is surging recently. It’s time to have a closer look at how the BeReal app works, whether it really is different, and what to expect from the relatively new photo-sharing network.

Table of Contents

What is BeReal?

BeReal app was first launched in December of 2019 beginning in France. After a slow start, it surged to fame in 2022 after some key media coverage and it’s now more popular in the United States than in France or anywhere else. With over 20 million downloads and reaching the top of Apple’s App Store charts, BeReal is one of the hottest social media apps in the world at the moment.

The app’s main distinguishing feature is a daily notification that prompts users to share a photo of themselves and their surroundings during a randomly-selected two-minute period of time every single day. By documenting ordinary moments in their everyday lives, users share moments that may be more authentic than the squeaky-clean versions of life seen on Instagram.

This emphasis on authenticity causes BeReal to be much closer to Snapchat than Instagram or TikTok. Snapchat starts in the camera to increase the likelihood of impulse Snaps of a moment. A two minute countdown begins when a BeReal notification arrives. Snap a photo and then post it. This makes it less common to take selfies and pose for photos.

While there are some similarities, the user experience is quite distinct. Snapchat lenses, and other effects, are well-known. BeReal, however, is a simple camera that takes two photos from both the front and rear cameras. The rear camera of your phone takes a photograph, then the front camera snaps a photo. TikTok and Instagram offer various ways to make a selfie look more interesting.

Most social media networks allow pictures and video but BeReal is strictly for photos. BeReal posts are only permitted once per day at an unspecified time. The idea with BeReal is to provide a snapshot of what you are doing and how you feel at the moment the Time to BeReal notification comes in, so there’s no pressure to create multiple posts throughout the day.

How to Create a BeReal Account

All that’s needed to get started on BeReal is an iPhone or Android phone and the BeReal app. After launching the app, there’s a fairly standard sign-up process. Your name, birthdate, and number will be required. A code will be sent by text to your phone and that should be entered into the app to verify the number is accurate. There’s no need for an email address or password.

After starting the BeReal app, enter your name, birthdate, and phone number.

The BeReal app then asks permission to access the contacts on your phone to try to find any friends that are already using the service. You don’t need to give your entire contact list to the BeReal app to locate friends. There are many other methods. Next is a request to show notifications and this is an important option since BeReal posts are only allowed once a day after receiving a Time to BeReal alert. The first notification is shown and then you have full access to the app.

BeReal asks to see your contacts and to send notifications before your first post.

How to Take and Retake a Picture on BeReal

You can tap a Time to BeReal notification to immediately open the app in the camera view to capture the two pictures that make up a BeReal post. Take a BeReal by framing what is in front of your eyes using the viewfinder. Make an expression and then press the shutter button to take the picture.

Since both images were taken in a matter of seconds, and the selfie preview is not available, it may be necessary to take a second set of photos. After capturing a BeReal a small button that is shaped like the letter “X” appears in the upper-right corner. To delete the previous BeReal, tap on the X button. The two-minute countdown keeps running so there are only so many retakes possible.

BeReal pictures can be retaken within the first two minutes.

How to Take Two Selfies in a BeReal Post

BeReal’s camera mode snaps a photo from the rear camera, then quickly takes one from the front camera. It isn’t instantaneous and some people manage to get two selfies by quickly flipping the camera around. You might need to try several times to get two pictures that you like. Also, this kind of defeats the spirit of the app which intends for you to show where you are and what you are looking at when the selfie is taken.

If you’re fast enough, you can take two selfies.

What Time Does BeReal Ask for a Post?

BeReal keeps the exact time that the daily notification will be sent secret. Officially, the timing of notifications is randomly determined. It’s a little more nuanced than this actually. BeReal takes your time zone into consideration and notifications come during what is generally considered waking hours. Time to BeReal will not send an alert at 3 o’clock AM.

What Happens if You Don’t Post to BeReal in Time?

Since BeReal starts a two-minute countdown when the Time to BeReal notification appears, there is a sense of urgency that the picture should be taken immediately. It is not essential to arrive on time. If you leave the notification or dismiss it, you can open BeReal and launch the camera any time after that, starting the two-minute countdown.

You can take a BeReal anytime after the notification has been sent, as long as the alert is not posted the following day. If your post doesn’t arrive within two minutes of the notification, that is noted in your post. For example, “5 hours late” might appear at the top of your post.

You can still post a BeReal even if you’re late.

Do BeReal Posts Expire?

BeReal posts can only be seen in the app by your friends for one day. Anyone who can view a post can take a picture and store it in their photo library. They can even share the screenshot with other people. BeReal pictures can be viewed online by others.

Your own BeReal posts are stored in a section of the app called Your Memories and you can choose any day to see its BeReal and scroll horizontally to browse them all.

You can see all of your own BeReal posts in Your Memories.

Memories can be saved to the phone’s photo gallery or they can be shared by email, to another social media app, or with any option available in the phone’s standard share menu.

Memories can be saved to your photo gallery or shared.

What is a RealMoji and How Can I Make One?

You can react to BeReal posts, just as you can on any other social media network, but BeReal uses RealMoji instead of emoji. To open what appears to be regular emoji, tap on the reaction button at the bottom-right. To open the selfie camera view, tap one. Take a photo of yourself with an expression matching the chosen emoji.

BeReal uses RealMoji for reactions.

This becomes a quick option for reactions to future BeReal posts. You can also post an instant, unique reaction to any post by clicking the lightning bolt icon and then moving up towards the shutter circle.

RealMojis can be chosen from a list or be taken just for that post.

The standard keyboard emojis can be used in comments but RealMojis give another opportunity to show some authentic emotions. The latest RealMoji reaction you’ve received is what appears if your friends install the BeReal widget. The widget is currently only available for the iPhone and iPad but will be coming to Android as well.

An iPhone can show RealMoji in a widget.

Does BeReal Send Notifications of Screenshots?

BeReal doesn’t send notifications when someone takes a screenshot of your post. Within the app, however, it’s easy to see how many people have done so. To see who took a screenshot, you must share your post to other social media networks, email, or some other way. This is BeReal’s clever way to add an incentive to share and promote the brand.

BeReal requires a share to show who took a screenshot.

A small watermark showing, “bere.al/YourUsername”, appears in the bottom-right corner of the shared image of your post. Your profile, image, and name are not displayed by typing the URL. Instead, it simply loads the BeReal website. It is possible that a profile page for users will be made available at some point in the near future.

BeReal adds a watermark to shared images.

There are easy workarounds to avoid sharing a post with others, such as sharing an email that is never sent or sharing it as a file. Completing any action in the share menu will result in the username of the person who took a screenshot being shown.

How to Delete a BeReal Post

A BeReal post can be deleted after sharing. Tap the three dots at the bottom of the post to reveal more details. The location is shown on a map, the number of comments, RealMoji reactions, and Retakes, along with an options button. Tap the options button to see the delete button, which is currently the only option available for your private BeReal posts. Public posts can be removed from your Discovery feed to make it visible only to you and your friends.

It’s possible to delete your own BeReal post.

How to Report a BeReal Post

To report a BeReal post, tap the three dots at the top of the post to see more details. If the option is enabled, you will see the exact location of the photo, along with the RealMojis and number of comments. A Report button is located at the bottom. You can flag inappropriate or undesirable posts.

A BeReal post can be reported.

How to Change BeReal Privacy Settings

BeReal has some very simple privacy controls. You can set each post to be shared only with friends, or the public Discovery feed. It’s also possible to hide your location. These options are located at the bottom and can be adjusted before you hit the Send button. It is not possible to see how many friends someone has. The only way you can tell if someone has several RealMoji reactions on their BeReal posts is by looking at the number of RealMoji reactions.

BeReal privacy is controlled one post at a time.

What is a BeReal Ambassador?

BeReal began on college campuses and plans to continue its growth through this highly viral environment. BeReal has college ambassadors who host events, participate in activities on campus, and promote the BeReal mission. The college ambassadors get mentoring, and can even manage their own marketing budget to help promote BeReal.

This is where things get a little tricky because it seems a bit less real to post with an agenda. It’s possible that this is inevitable as the cost of maintaining the network will rise exponentially with BeReal’s growth. The bills must be paid. There is a page on BeReal’s website that has all of the details and an application form to become a paid BeReal ambassador.

How Does BeReal Make Money?

At present, BeReal doesn’t require a subscription, has no in-app purchases, and doesn’t display advertising. The company is funded by investors and that has been enough to keep things running. This is the most common way to grow a social network. As the social network grows, this will likely change.

Investors are willing to ride the wave of excitement and supply the funding needed for employees, marketing, equipment, and infrastructure for quite some time. Eventually, they will need to see a return on the investment and the service will have to make money somehow. This could be from subscriptions, business profiles, in app purchases that unlock exclusive features or in-app advertising.

Is BeReal Really So Different?

BeReal is an interesting approach that attempts to bring authenticity to social media. The two-minute time limit to take a daily photo of their setting and a selfie is intriguing. This ideal can be diluted due to the fact that you can capture the two photos at any moment after receiving the notification. There’s still a two-minute countdown once the camera is opened within the app but that means you can prepare for the post in advance.

People have already figured out that there is a brief delay between photographs and are flipping the phone in between shots to snap two selfies instead of showing where they are and what they’re looking at. There are many loopholes that can be used to circumvent some limitations and still maintain authenticity. This along with the paid brand ambassador program and the inevitable need for the app to generate money in the future make it seem less unique and fun. This is the problem that most social media platforms face.

Conclusion

The ongoing success of BeReal will be determined by the people that use the app. The app could grow further and become an alternative to Snapchat and Instagram. For now, it’s an intriguing alternative that keeps photos plain and simple with one post a day. It helps to be more authentic and removes the pressure of using social media. It’s nice to simply be yourself, rather than trying to make it glamorous or inspiring all the time.

You can download BeReal to give the photo sharing app a shot over in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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