When you surf the Internet and come across an interesting illustration or photograph, your first impulse is usually to save it to your computer. It’s not so hard to imagine the same scenario for Instagram, where literally millions of images are uploaded every single day.
Picture this (pun intended): You’re browsing your Instagram feed when all of a sudden, someone you know tags you in a photo they just uploaded. You check your notifications to see what you were just tagged in, and to your amusement, you realize that it’s from an event you recently attended. You like the way you look in the photo, and you want a copy of it that you can post on your own social media profiles. Unfortunately, there’s no save option, so you can’t download it. Frustrated, you end up taking a screenshot and cropping it. You now have a copy of the image, but it’s not as good. You don’t really have a choice, though, and so you’re forced to just go ahead and upload it.
But what if you knew a way to get around that? What if, by simply knowing the mechanics of how Instagram works, you find out how to save Instagram posts?
Believe it or not, saving Instagram photos is definitely possible. Read on to learn a few ways you can do just that.
Why do people save Instagram posts?
Before continuing, let’s first take a look at the reasons why anyone would want to save photos from Instagram in the first place. After all, there’s probably a good reason or two as to why the platform doesn’t allow saving Instagram photos, right?
Some examples of situations in which knowing how to save Instagram photos would be quite useful:
- You want a backup collection of your Instagram photos that you uploaded directly from your camera. This means you haven’t set your app to automatically sync or save your posts. (We’ll teach you how to do that later.)
- You’re working on your travel goals album. You might want to save photos of your friends’ recent destinations so that you can plan your own itinerary.
- You’re making a mood board for your upcoming event. It could be a wedding, birthday party, or any other event that needs to follow a certain aesthetic.
- You want a copy of the photos you’re tagged in to be saved to your camera roll.
- You want to save decent-quality copies of images from Instagram, and not just screenshots.
All of these reasons are valid when it comes to wanting to save Instagram posts. However, Instagram itself has decided that the arguments against saving photos outweigh those in favor of it — and we’re about to get into why that’s the case.
Why saving Instagram photos isn’t officially allowed
The simplest reason why there’s no official option to save Instagram photos is because the platform wants to protect the copyright of the users.
As the owner of the photos on your Instagram account, you can exercise the right to prevent other Instagram users from sharing or copying your uploaded media, whether for profit or non-profit purposes. On top of that, they also can’t edit your work, nor can they make derivatives of your work, without your explicit permission or a standing agreement that permits them to do so. After all, in this day and age, adding “credit to the owner” (CTTO) to an Instagram post isn’t enough as “consent,” and should never be.
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Whenever you upload a photo to your Instagram account, it comes with the unspoken condition that you’re likely the person who took the photo, drew the illustration, or otherwise owns the copyright. These are in Instagram’s copyright rules, and you’ll definitely find them there if you take the time to read them. Preventing other users from downloading your photos — and thus, preventing you from from downloading other users’ photos — is an enforcement of said copyright rule.
There’s also the fact that the “Collections” feature exists specifically so that you could find all of your favorite Instagram posts in a single location. We’ll get into that in a bit.
How to save Instagram photos as screenshots
As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to save Instagram posts via the native screenshot function that pretty much any smartphone has these days. The consequence, of course, is that you end up with a low-resolution file that you’ll have to crop.
Still, if you’re not open to asking for permission and you just want to save a couple of photos from your feed (without any plans to profit from them), this shouldn’t be a problem.
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Step 1: Access the photo you want to save from your Instagram feed.
Step 2: Take a screenshot by pressing the necessary buttons on your phone simultaneously (for example, the volume and power buttons).
Step 3: Open your screenshot from the gallery on your phone.
Step 4: Crop the image using your phone’s default image editor.
Oh, and one more thing: While Instagram won’t notify the owner if you screencap their posts, it will notify your contact if you take a screenshot of a photo they shared with you via DM.
But why save Instagram photos to Collections?
The Collections feature is a fairly new one — Instagram only made it live in 2017 — but it’s one of several methods on how to save Instagram photos, and possibly the easiest (short of taking a screenshot). In a nutshell, what the Collections feature does is save Instagram posts in a remote folder that’s stored inside the app itself, for easier access in the future.
Sure, you won’t be able to get an actual copy of the image file in your preferred format and in full resolution, but if your sole purpose is to be able to easily find the image again when you want to check it out, having it in Collections should suffice.
There are three main reasons why you would want to save Instagram posts in your Collections, especially if you’re a business.
1. You can use Collections to monitor what others are doing.
The Collections feature allows you to keep track of what your contacts are posting on relevant hashtags. If you’re representing a brand, this is particularly useful for scoping out competitors and figuring out how they execute their Instagram strategies, as well as see how many likes and comments they’re getting on their posts (thereby gauging their engagement rate and seeing what works for them). It’s like observing what’s going on in your naturally competitive business environment, without the risk of your competition knowing that you’re monitoring them.
2. See who’s tagging you and including you in relevant conversations
Another way in which the Collections feature is useful for brands is that it lets brands keep track of which users and posts tagged or mentioned them. Using unique hashtags or relevant topic searches, you can easily find the public posts that involve you, and save them to your Collections for further observation and study. You can even get user-generated content that you can repost on your account (provided, of course, that you were able to secure permission from the creator/s).
3. Your Collection can be a source of design inspiration for you.
If you’re working in the digital marketing or advertising industries, you can take advantage of the Collections feature for design inspiration as well. Whether it’s a print ad or poster that you want to replicate or homage for your own commercial purposes, you can easily put it in your Collection so that you can revisit it when you’re brainstorming for ideas on how to execute your marketing campaign.
How to save Instagram photos via Collections
That said, it’s incredibly easy to bookmark an Instagram photo and make it part of your Collections.
Step 1: Find the Instagram post that you want to bookmark.
Step 2: Tap on the bookmark icon, located on the lower-right corner of the Instagram post. It’s hard to miss, as it’s the button that looks like a flaglet.
Step 3: Go to your Instagram profile page.
Step 4: Tap the three horizontal lines at the top-right corner of your screen. There, you’ll find the Saved option.
If you’re familiar with the image platform Pinterest, then bookmarking should be a breeze for you. And in a similar fashion as Pinterest, you can also compile your saved Instagram photos into a themed Collection. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Tap the Save to Collection option that appears on your screen as soon as you tap the bookmark icon.
Step 2: Write a name for your new collection.
Step 3: Tap Done.
If you want to inspect and organize the posts you’ve saved to your Collection:
Step 1: Navigate to your personal profile. Tap the three horizontal lines at the top-right corner of your screen, then tap the Saved option.
Step 4: Tap on the Plus icon to create a new album, which you’ll have to provide a name for.
Step 5: You can now start moving your bookmarked posts to the new folder.
The Instagram photos that you’ve saved to your Collections will be organized. It would be as if they were photos appearing on your feed. Additionally, if your friend’s privacy settings limit access to their content to just the people they know personally, the content you’ve bookmarked doesn’t suddenly become public. Don’t worry about unintentionally sending some creepy vibes to your friends. They won’t be notified when you bookmark their content.
Yes, you can technically “save Instagram posts”
It’s a different story, of course, if you want to save your own photos on Instagram for backup purposes. Whether you’re on Android or iOS, that can easily be arranged.
Step 1: Access your Instagram profile.
Step 2: Go to your Options page. For iOS users, tap on the gear icon at the top-right corner of your screen. For Android users, tap on the Settings button on the lower-right corner of your screen, then Account, then Original posts.
Step 3: Enable all three settings: Save original posts, Save posted photos, and Save posted videos.
Now, every upload you make on Instagram triggers an automatic action to save the photo in your gallery as well.
Saving Instagram photos without taking screenshots — is it possible?
With the help of some third-party apps, saving Instagram photos is definitely possible. However, it goes without saying that using such apps would violate the terms and conditions of Instagram. On top of that, it would also put your security at risk.
Fortunately, there is one way to save a photo you found on Instagram without having to resort to screenshotting. It’s a bit tedious, though, and it requires a desktop that’s connected to the internet.
Here’s how to save Instagram photos on your computer.
Step 1: Locate the photo that you want to save on Instagram. You can look for it via the app on your phone. Once you find it, get the URL of the photo. You can obtain this by tapping the button on the upper-right corner of the post.
Step 2: Use that URL to access the post via your desktop internet browser. Make sure to click the time stamp to make it appear on its own, instead of showing your entire feed.
Step 3: Navigate to View > Developer > View Source to view the source code. Alternatively, some browsers allow you to right-click on the image and choose View Page Source. This will show you the HTML code of the entire page.
Step 4: Press Ctrl+F on PC or Command+F on Mac to use the Search function. Type in “jpg” and look for the first result that begins with “https” in the document. Hint: Expect it to be somewhere between Line 160 to Line 200.
Step 5: Highlight the URL, copy it, and paste it in a separate tab on your browser. This will show you the full version of the image on the Instagram post.
Step 6: Save it like a normal image. Voila, you now know how to save Instagram photos directly!
With this simple method, saving Instagram photos is a breeze — and you don’t need any outside apps to get the job done.