Reddit today is giving its mobile apps a major upgrade – the first since their launch last year, when the company decided to take back control over the official Reddit experience on mobile – an experience that had long been available mainly through third-party clients. Today’s updated apps introduce a number of new features focused on media consumption – including how it handles photos, videos and GIFs – plus the addition of things like live comment feeds, in-app chat, tools for moderators and more.
Some of the features seem inspired by work from other third-party clients.
For example, the new Theater Mode option on iOS lets users browse media in what Reddit calls a “video-first” format. This allows users to open media, like original video, in a full-screen experience. They can also choose to view the content in landscape mode and swipe back and forth between media.
While this is an obvious next step for Reddit on mobile, it’s worth noting that this is one of the features that made the new third-party Reddit app, Apollo, so well-received earlier this year.
Similarly, the ability to open links in Safari (via Safari View Controller) on iOS instead of using Reddit’s native in-app browser is another feature you can find in Apollo. This has also been among one of users’ top requests, Reddit says.
Other features, however, push the Reddit clients into new territory while leveraging their position as the official mobile apps.
For example, Reddit’s iOS app will now support live comments, turning Reddit into a more real-time experience, and making it feel similar to Twitter.
Employees have tested this feature for some time ahead of today’s arrival, but now it’s becoming publicly available. The feature makes sense for a variety of posts, whether that’s real-time comment threads on NFL gameday posts, or updates about natural disasters and aid as on the Hurricane Harvey megathread.