One of Instagram’s biggest trends has returned: the top nine collage.
The service launched four years ago, and received a major boost when the inventor of the hashtag, Chris Messina, shared the Top Nine tool on Product Hunt. From there, people have been using this unique tool to show off the highlights of their year: the best brunches, the most brilliant beaches, the most captivating clips.
It’s one of many trending year-in-review tools demonstrating how data shapes the way we commemorate the past year. Spotify’s Wrapped tool, for example, analyzes a user’s listening habits and creates a fun montage of their listening habits for 2019. Apple Music offers a similar service dubbed Replay. Facebook also uses data in a similar way to share memories.
The Top Nine tool does not give you a list of your nine most-liked photos. It’s something a bit more technical than that, factoring in likes, comment content, similarity with other selected photos, and other factors. As per the site’s description:
We believe your Top Nine Instagram photos should be those which reflect your 9 moments truly worth remembering of 2019. That’s why we think vanity metrics like the amount of likes do not always represent what your most meaningful moments where. They might make a difference on small accounts with a small number of likes per post, but as the likes per post grow, more complex factors start to kick in.
Note that the service is not provided by the developers of Instagram. These collages are generated by a third-party company called Beta Labs, which has offices in the United States and Uruguay.
Here’s how to get your hands on the resultant collage.
Instagram top 9: how to generate
There are two methods of generating a photo collage based on your year. The first is via the website.
Visit the link, then enter your account username. The site will then ask you for your email address, which it will use to send you the results after they’re generated. Alternatively, you can wait for the loading bar to stop spinning to see the results.
After it’s done, you will see a breakdown of your nine most-liked photos alongside a series of useful stats. A “Download” link will take you to a JPG image of the collage, ready for uploading to your Instagram page or elsewhere.
Here’s how the results page looks for the Instagram account “nickjonas”:
Note that you can request the firm to delete your data after you’re finished, by following this link. The site will prompt you to press “Start,” then enter your email address, then press “Submit.” An email confirmation will state that your address and all associated data will be removed from the firm’s servers within 30 days.
There’s just one slight problem. If your account is set to private, the website won’t work.
After entering your username and email address like on the website, you should be directed to an Instagram web page. The app will ask for access to “your basic information,” including “your media & profile info.”
Once generated, you will be able to share the resultant collage as a story or video.
Note that the app will still have access to your data once completed. It’s good practice to revoke access when you no longer want an app to look through your data. This can be revoked by going to the Instagram app, hitting the three-lined button in the top right, going to “Settings,” then “Security,” then “Apps and websites,” then “Active.”