Since launching in 2016, TikTok has gradually increased the maximum video length as it has rapidly gained many users. By offering a variety of video lengths, creators can craft a wider array of content for different audiences. Here’s an overview of the history of video lengths and how long a TikTok you can currently make.
Read more: How to make TikTok videos: A beginners guide
THE SHORT ANSWER
TikTok videos can vary in length from 15 seconds up to 10 minutes.
How long are TikT0k videos?
When TikTok first began, videos on the app were only 15 seconds long. The short turnaround was tailored to capture people’s attention, perfect for quick consumption as they scroll through an endless stream of videos. In 2017, TikTok bumped up the video length to 60 seconds. That began to increase the amount of time people spend on the app. By 2018, TikTok had over 300 million users.
Since then, TikTok began testing longer uploads and extended the maximum video length to three minutes in July 2021. That three-minute mark seemed to hit the sweet spot as TikTok blew up to reach one billion users worldwide the same year — nearly half as many as popular apps such as Instagram or Whatsapp.
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Admits its massive success, the company kept pushing for even longer format content. In early 2022, TikTok expanded video lengths up to a whopping 10 minutes. This has left some questioning whether the social media app has forgotten its roots in bite-sized entertainment.
Why the ten-minute maximum? Longer videos allow TikTok to better compete with sites like YouTube, which skew heavily toward prolonged content such as podcasts. It also helps TikTok capture an older audience and appeal to those with longer attention spans.
On the other hand, switching to longer content might impact the experience of those who tune out too early. This is because the data collected on watching habits can alter the recommendation algorithms. For example, a video someone stops watching only to finish later may not be recognized as something they enjoyed watching.
Getting the length of content right is something of a balancing act, and we wouldn’t be surprised if TikTok’s ten-minute limit changes again next year.
Funny enough, as TikTok has sought to catch up to its long-form competitors, they’ve instead taken a page from TikTok’s book and developed short-form videos. Instagram now lets users post quick clips in the form of Reels, YouTube has the aptly-named Shorts, and Snapchat offers a Spotlight feature for top-trending videos. All these companies are trying to perfect the recipe for what video length maximizes the time you spend on the app.
In a report from WIRED, TikTok disclosed that nearly 50% of its users said videos over one minute long were “stressful,” and a third of users watched videos online at double the speed. So, short and snappy may be the way to go. Still, TikTok videos can range anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in length. We will update this article should TikTok continue increasing or decreasing its video lengths.
Read more: How to delete a TikTok account
How long are TikTok songs?
TikTok songs can vary in length depending on how long your video is. Learn more in our guide on adding sound to TikTok.
How long until TikTok tells you to take a break?
You can set a time limit for your viewing in the Digital Wellbeing Settings of the TikTok app. If TikTok is telling you to take a break, it’s because you have exceeded your set screen time limit.