After a user signs up for an account (a process which takes less than a minute) they are instructed to make their first BeReal post via notification. They have two minutes to take a photo from the time the notification is sent. This is the pattern that is repeated once a day at the same randomly selected time for everyone. That may seem rather inconvenient, but this is precisely the idea. The random two-minute window doesn’t give users enough time to plan or pose for their photo. They have to post whatever they are doing at that exact moment. BeReal also uses both front and back cameras whenever a user is posting as well as the location. If a young person is sitting on the sofa with their pet, taking the bus to school, or even getting ready for bed, a notification from BeReal encourages them to ‘be real’ with what they are doing.
This is a standard the platform is not afraid to hold its users to. If someone misses the two-minute window and takes a picture later, their post is accompanied by a ‘late’ marker (with exactly how many hours late they are as well). If they take an unflattering photo, they can retake it, but BeReal will show their friends just how many times the photo was retaken (if they have more than 10 friends on the platform). If a person doesn’t want to post that day or wants to delete a post, they won’t be able to see their friends’ posts or posts on the discovery page from that day as a result.
Users can add friends from their contacts list on their phone or by searching their username. Once they add someone as a friend, this person can see (and is notified) whenever a BeReal is posted, which is especially noticeable if the person posts late. In response, users are able to leave comments, tag friends in comments, or use a ‘Realmoji’ – a selfie where they can visibly react to the photo instead of using an emoji. As for profiles, rather than a page that allows everyone to see past posts, BeReal only lets the user see their own ‘memories’ on the app.
On top of everything else, iOS users can add a BeReal widget (a bite-sized information display on a phone home screen that shows information without a user having to open the app) to their mobile home page, similar to popular app Locket. There is also a discovery feed (like TikTok) which allows users to engage with people from all over the world who are posting, but users must elect to have their posts visible here. Alongside alerts to post and when friends have posted, the app lets users know when someone takes a screenshot of their post. In order to see who took the screenshot, however, the app suggests users share their BeReal of the day on Instagram or via text messaging.