Back to blog

7 Apps to Take Your Instagram Stories to the Next Level

7 Apps to Take Your Instagram Stories to the Next Level

When Instagram added the Stories functionality to its repertoire in 2016, it really hit the nail on the head. Despite the fact that this feature borrowed quite heavily from Snapchat (or perhaps because of it), Stories have grown to become one of the most popular ways for people (and businesses) to express themselves on Instagram and engage with other users.

We’ve talked about Instagram Stories numerous times on our blog (in articles such as this one), but that is only natural considering the appeal they hold for so many users. And you do not need to rely on word of mouth for proof of this popularity. Statistics testify to this, and research has shown that the number of daily active users of this feature has grown to 400 million as of June 2018.

One of the reasons behind the appeal that Stories undoubtedly possess is the ease with which you can create them. After all, when you target such a wide audience, you want the feature to be simple to use. And when you’re just starting out, this simplicity is a great asset. The same holds true if you are only a casual user. But when you want to take things to the next level, you need something more.


The Dilemma with Instagram Stories

When you get down to it, you can use Instagram Stories in any way you see fit. But the fact that they’ll only be around for 24 hours gives them an air of spontaneity. As such, Stories are ideal for raw footage and as a way to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of an occasion. And since they’ll be gone in a day, it’s perfectly fine if they are not as polished as your other posts. That is a part of their charm, actually. So, you might think that unedited or otherwise unrefined Stories are the way to go.

However, those days are long gone. As Instagram Stories continued to grow in popularity, it became increasingly difficult to make your post stand out. For this reason, countless apps aimed at helping you do just that have popped up. And if you are looking to up your game in this department, you likely have no choice but to make use of at least a few of them. And this blog post will help you with that.

That being said, we still feel very strongly that you shouldn’t go too far in this regard. Stories can feel very natural, and that is one of their greatest strengths. You do not want to take away from that by making them too perfect. For optimal results, you need to find the right balance. But when it comes to providing that special little touch that can elevate your Stories to new heights, the following apps are the way to go.

The Apps

It is important to note that these apps are not listed in any particular order. They give you different options so they’ll shine under different circumstances. But, they can all help your Stories stand above the competition.


By using templates for your Stories, you can produce lots of content with a cohesive thread running throughout. This is a great way to create a distinct visual style for yourself and give your followers something they can instantly recognize and associate with you. Unfold provides you this exact opportunity, and comes in an easy-to-use package.

The templates have a minimalist design, perfect for elevating your stories without being overbearing. The app is free, but it does come with premium features you do need to pay for. Look through the various options, and the odds are good you’ll recognize a design used by an influencer you’re following.

As a bonus, the app comes with a handy preview mode, allowing you to make sure everything’s exactly how you want it to be before posting.


InShot is primarily a video editing tool, but it also allows you to touch up any photos you intend to use for your Stories. You can trim videos and easily adjust them to the right size for Instagram. You can also add borders to your videos and photos to make them perfectly suited for Stories. There are many other tools you can use, but you will need to pay for a monthly subscription to unlock the app’s full potential.

Life Lapse

Life Lapse is another video editor, but with a twist – the focus is on time-lapse and stop-motion videos. This makes it a great choice if, for example, you want to create a Story which documents a change over a certain period of time or a looping video. You even have a small library of music to accompany it.

Speaking of the music, you can access more songs as well as additional features by subscribing to the “Pro” version – the app is otherwise free.


Photos and videos may be the key to your Stories, but the text which appears over them can sometimes be just as important. With Hype-Type, not only do you get to choose from a variety of fonts, but you can animate the words to breathe new life into your content.

Once again, the app is free but comes with a paid subscription for added features.

8mm Vintage Camera

The retro look is quite popular on Instagram, and this app is great if you want the videos that make up your stories to be in that style. You’ll have 70 different effects to choose from, and you can instantly apply them to the videos you’re recording or add them to those already in your library.

This app actually doesn’t have a free version, and it costs $1.99 (there are also a few optional in-app purchases).


A Design Kit

When you want to liven up your photos before turning them into a Story, this app provides you with plenty of ways to do that. The brushes are probably the highlight, but you also have different fonts, designs, backgrounds, and stickers you can use.

It’s a free app with optional purchases.


As you probably know, all videos for your Instagram Stories need to be up to 15 seconds long. But, it’s quite likely you’ll record something longer. This is where CutStory comes in and allows you to effortlessly divide such a video into fragments of the appropriate length. The app will also export the newly-cut videos chronologically, so there’s no confusion as to which order to upload them in.

Once more, you can use the basic version free of charge, but you’ll need to pay to remove the CutStory watermark and unlock some other features.


As mentioned, Instagram Stories can have that informal feel that makes them appeal to viewers in a unique fashion. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t put in some extra effort to make them look a cut above. The apps we mentioned are just a small selection of everything you have available to do so, but they’ll all handle the jobs they’re meant for really well.

Additionally, only one of them doesn’t have a free version, so there’s really nothing stopping you from giving them a try.