Changes to Instagram and how sites can access feeds
As of March 2, 2020, Instagram is discontinuing its legacy API that themes, shops and websites use to get the latest images from your Instagram account. This change impacts all themes that have an Instagram feed—as well as any other website outside of Shopify with a similar feed. Instagram is making changes to the way that they allow their data to be accessed, and it will be technically impossible to directly load the feed in the same way. With these changes, Shopify has made the decision to require all themes to permanently remove any type of live Instagram feed feature.
New "Shop the Look" section
District 3.7.1 includes a new "Shop the Look" section. Now you can manually upload and curate the best-of images you post to Instagram as a gallery. Optionally you can choose 1-2 products per image giving customers a way to see a list of products showcased in the image. Visually this new section will look just like the removed Instagram section, however, it will not auto-update.
Instagram feed Shopify Apps
If you still want to show a live feed of your recent Instagram posts, the only option that will work after March 2, regardless of the theme you use, would be to use one of the Shopify Apps they have showcased. Many of the Shopify Apps add in even more functionality like moderated customer-generated content, showing specific Instagram posts showcasing products on the Product page, and much more that can be useful for your shop's marketing and customer experience.
Technical challenges for themes (not Shopify Apps)
Facebook's changes to the Instagram API now requires a separate 3rd party server to access the accounts and cache the Instagram data. The technical challenge is that Instagram will now only provide access tokens that expire after 1-hour, and then it is up to a webserver to request a new access token every 60-days. The process of dynamically exchanging and renewing access tokens couldn't be pulled off with a theme alone. Additionally, they changed how many times the data feed can be loaded per hour, which would require a separate database outside of Shopify to cache and store the feed.
Additionally, with Shopify's new requirement to remove any type of Instagram feed from themes this prevents us from launching a built-in feature if we could overcome the technical challenges.
How to remove the Instagram section
District has been designed in a way where the Instagram section will simply stop appearing once Instagram shuts down the API feed on March 2, 2020. However, we do recommend that you manually remove the Instagram section to prevent your shop from trying to load the API feed from Instagram. Shopify has published details on how to remove the Instagram section in their online manual.