Instagram API changes 2020: Instagram Graph API and Basic Display API

Instagram made an important announcement about upcoming changes in operating API, which will affect both – Instagram users and delevopers. It will be on March 31, 2020.

UPD: The recent Instagram API changes were accomplished in 2018.

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Instagram API changes 2020: Instagram Graph API and Basic Display API

Instagram API platform changes

As it was announced long time ago, starting with 31 July 2018 and for two next years, old Instagram Legacy API Platform were migrating all its functions onto Instagram Graph API. The last deprecation of the old Instagram API will be on March 31, 2020. 

Instagram Graph API and Basic Display API – the new ways of interaction with Instagram, which were developed on basis of Facebook Graph API. With the help of Graph API, you will be able to get media, comments, likes, view statistics and take other actions, which can be carried out by applications.

Fortunately, Instagram took into account the great scale of this update and its potential influence on business, so the shift would be as smooth as possible. It will be implemented in several steps, to give a chance to every affected company to prepare for it. That is why instagram API changes will take place on March 31 instead of March 2, as originally planned. In case you don’t remember all previous steps of Instagram API key update, let’s have a look to a brief overview.

Instagram API deprecation 2018

The following capabilities have been already deprecated in 2018: 

  • Follower List – to read the list of followers and followed-by users;
  • Relationships – to follow and unfollow accounts on a user’s behalf
  • Commenting on Public Content – to post and delete comments on a user’s behalf on public media
  • Likes – to like and unlike media on a user’s behalf
  • Subscriptions – to receive notifications when media is posted
  • Public Content – all remaining capabilities to read public media on a user’s behalf
  • Commenting – to post and delete comments on a user’s behalf on owned media.

If your app supports Instagram business profile users, better to start building on the Instagram Graph immediately. 

Why Instagram updates API

All changes to API were done to upgrade it and protect user privacy and safety. The basic changes are:

  • New features to enable users to decide what info they share deprecate access to apps through the Instagram mobile app; 
  • Two distinct permission to apply for profile and media info;
  • Instagram data API deprecation for a number of fields such as location data and follower counts to minimize privacy and safety threats. 

Instagram officially announced about those changes and postponed original date (now it’s on March 31) to help developers get a permissions for both APIs – Instagram Graph and Basic Display API. The possible difficulty they can have is a rather long process of App Review which can take more than a week. 

Tip: If you use only Instagram Legacy API to generate tokens for your feed, get an access only to User Token Generator (you need only Basic Display API). Thus, you won’t spend time for an App Review.

Instagram Graph API features

Now Graph API is only a developing tool for Instagram Professional accounts – Instagram Developers and Businesses API  (Creators). With the help of it, you will have an access to the following functions:;

Business Discovery

Get your essential metadata and stats about other Instagram Business and Creators accounts.

Content Publishing

Publishing different types of media (photo, video w/ Locations), creating and using containers. There’s no support for MPO or JPS formats, live images and stories, shopping and branded content tags, filters and multi-image posts.

Comment Moderation

Manage all your comments (reply, disable/unable, delete, hide comments on media objects owned by Instagram Business or Creators account.

Hashtag Search

Operate photos and videos, which were tagged with specific hashtags.Via that API you can’t work with Stories, emojis and personally identifiable tags.

Page Insights

Page and Post impressions are now categorized. The paid/unpaid breakdown is deprecated. There are also adjustments to the categorized of Like/Unlike Sources.

Page API Updates

Pages Webhooks were restructured to Workplace mentions. sender_name and sender_id were replaced with a single from property in feed subscriptions.

Event and Groups API Access

Now they will require an access token. Groups API apps without an access token for a group admin can still access the endpoints, but there won’t be no user ID’s or names included.

New way to interact with Instagram Platform API

There’s no longer need to get special permission for basic info and data in the Instagram accounts – just use Instagram Basic Display API. It can be used to access any type of Instagram account. Common actions, which can be performed with the help of the API:

  • Get Access Tokens 
  • Work with user profiles, images, videos and albums;
  • Get long-lived Page Tokens. 

Unfortunately, it can provide only read-access to basic data, so if you are building an app or services – use graph API instead.

How will I be affected, if I am using Instagram plugin or service?

Such a global update most probably will cause inconveniences both for users and developers of Instagram plugins and apps, so you need to secure yourself from any problems in advance. Make sure that developers of the plugins and apps you are using have announced support for the upcoming changes and release of updates.

Before the total deprecation of API, you need to update your app or find an alternative one, since after deprecation of API your app will stop working.

If this is crucial for your business, then follow this advice when choosing Instagram applications:

  • Be careful using free plugins;
  • Ignore the apps of questionable quality;
  • Pay attention to updates and their frequency;
  • Look for online demo of the product or real use cases, make sure it will work smoothly;
  • Ideally, the plugin should include automatic updates, since the upcoming changes in Instagram API will cause frequent changes of Instagram connected services.

Unfortunately, the only decision for the client will be to stick to the highest quality products. A responsible developer is the one who is prepared for upcoming changes in advance and who will try to adjust the product with minimal inconvenience for the customer.

Solutions supporting Instagram API changes

These are the Instagram plugins you can rely on:

  • Instagram Feed – the best plugin to create galleries and portfolios with pictures from Instagram;
  • Instagram Testimonials – real-life testimonials for goods and services on your website;
  • Instagram Widget – a small widget to show Instagram profile on your website.

Immediately after receiving the announcement from Instagram, our team started developing the update, which will help to pass from old API to the new one without any problems.

How will I be affected, if I am an Instagram service developer?

All developers of Instagram feed apps should study Instagram Graph API documentation carefully. The update of March 31, 2020 in a couple of weeks, so you still have time to adjust your products to the upcoming upgrade.

Elfsight developers’ comments:

Vladimir Fedotov

Shifting to Graph API is a step forward to new possibilities for developers working with Instagram data. Taking as an example Facebook Feed, which was developed by our team using Graph API, I can say that this tool is very cool and flexible, providing solution for almost every task. The old Instagram Platform API cannot boast the same flexibility.

We hope that Instagram will stand with developers and grant us full capabilities for working with data.


Is it obligatory to migrate onto the Instagram Graph API platform?

In 2018 Instagram developers officially announced data and the steps of the Legace API platform deprecation. The final permission on the Legacy API (“Basic Permission”) is going to be accomplished on March 31, 2020. After that date, all apps using the API will no longer have access. To avoid interruption of your service, better to migrate onto new API immediately.

Can I continue using the Instagram Legacy API platform after March 31?

No, you can’t.Unfortunately, the platform won’t be longer available. You have to apply for permissions to the Instagram Basic Display API via App Review.

I’m still using the Instagram Legacy API just to showcase my personal Instagram Feed on my website. What should I do?

There are few ways how to do it with the new platform. For your owned Instagram account, you can use the User Token Generator on the Instagram Basic Display API, which doesn’t require the App Review. In case you display multiple account on your website, you have to immediately apply for permissions via App Review. Whether the Legacy API is used for any other cases, apply for permissions on the Instagram Graph API platform.

Also, keep in mind that we’ve got other awesome guides, for example, you can find out how to embed google business reviews on website!

Try the Instagram Feed that works!

Our plugin supports all Instagram API changes.