How to download Instagram photos and Reels: a complete guide

An Instagram user looks for how to download Instagram photos
(Image credit: Claudio Schwarz via Unsplash)

Wondering how to download Instagram photos to your computer or phone? Or maybe you want to download Instagram Reels or videos? Then you're in the right place. Downloading Instagram photos isn't quite as easy as right-click and save, but it isn't too difficult either. In this guide we'll look at some of the different options, using Instagram itself and through other methods.

Firstly, please remember that photos and videos on Instagram are not considered public domain, even if they're on a public account. This means that in many cases you should not download or otherwise use someone else's Instagram content without their permission. Some people may be happy for you to download their photos or videos, but you should always ask and always credit them if you use their content.

Before looking at how to download Instagram photos or download Instagram Reels, consider whether you really need to. One reason that people would often download images was to share them on their own account, but you can do this on the platform if the user has enabled the option (click the arrow icon under the image and select 'Repost'). You can also share people's posts as stories, or you could ask the original poster to add you as a collaborator.

However, there are reasons you might need to know how to download photos from Instagram. You may have decided to quit the platform and want to save your images. It's also possible that you posted a shot and then deleted the original image from your camera or phone, leaving the only copy on Instagram. Below we show to download Instagram photos to your PC, Mac or phone in several ways. You can download your entire Instagram history, use the source code for individual images or use in-browser or downloadable third-party apps.

If you want to give your Instagram images a boost, see our pick of the best photo editing apps. For more Insta tips, see our guide to Instagram fonts or how to change the font in your Instagram bio and learn how to turn on Instagram's dark mode

We also have a beginner Instagram Reels tutorial, if you've yet to get up to speed on the ins and outs of Instagram's video content format, and we have a guide on how to sell on Instagram if you're thinking of using the platform for a creative business.

How to download Instagram photos to a PC or Mac

If you download Instagram photos, please respect image ownership. Some of the methods below will allow you to download Instagram photos from other people's accounts. You should always ask permission and give credit where due.

There is no native method to download Instagram photos from your account one by one. The one option Instagram has is to let you to download your account’s entire history in one massive package. That includes all the photos and videos that you’ve uploaded as posts or stories as well as a lot of other things you might not want, such as details of your comments and likes.

This “official” way to download your stuff was introduced due to privacy concerns following controversies at parent company Facebook (now Meta) to give people more ownership of their data. It might not be very practical if you just one to download one image that you uploaded recently, but it's not a bad option if you want to save a whole load of old photos that you've accidentally deleted from your phone. To get started you'll need to request a download link either via the Instagram website or the app.

01. Login to get started

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Go to the Instagram website, log in, then click the gear icon to the right of where it says Edit Profile. Choose Privacy and Security from the list of options.

02. Request download

This will lead you to the Account Privacy page. Scroll down to where it says 'Data Download' and click 'Request Download'.

03. Get the download link via email

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Enter your email and password again, confirming the email address where you'll receive the download link, then click 'next'. Instagram will start bundling your data into a downloadable package, and then send you the link by email. The platform says this can take up to 48 hours, but the email tends to come through within an hour or two. The link's only valid for four days, so keep an eye out for it or you’ll have to start all over again.

04. Download your data

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Once you receive the email, click 'Download Data'. You’ll be taken to the Instagram site to sign in and start the download. The package comes in the form of a zip file that contains every post you've ever made as well as details of every message and everything you've searched for, liked or commented on. Depending on how long you've had an Instagram account and how much you use it, this could mean a ton of data, so extract the file to a new folder of its own to keep the many subfolders and files in one place.

You can also request this sizable download package through the app. Go to your profile, tap the menu icon in the upper right-hand corner and choose 'Settings'. Select 'Security', 'Download Data', type in your email and password, then tap 'Request Download'.

How to download Instagram photos individually using the source code

If you don’t want the hassle of wading through your entire Instagram history to find the one specific photo you wanted to download, or if you need an image from someone else’s feed after having received their permission to use it, you can download Instagram photos individually by turning to the source code.

01. Find the image source

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

How you do this will depend on your browser. On Internet Explorer, you can click on the photo you want to download to view the full image, then right-click on the image and select 'View Source'.

02. Copy the code

(Image: © Jospeh Foley on Instagram)

Scroll through the code and find the meta property information (hit control+f or command+f and search for 'meta property'). You'll want to copy the URL that appears in double inverted commas in the line beginning: '<meta property="og:image" content='

03. Save the image

Paste the link into your browser, hit 'Enter', and you’ll be taken the photo you want to download. Now, simply right-click or control-click on the image and choose 'Save Image As'. The default name will be a long stream of numbers so you’ll probably want to change it to something more recognisable. The process may also work for videos depending on your browser. 

On Google Chrome, you can look for the source image by clicking 'Inspect', then looking for the 'V' folder under the sources tab.

How to save images on Instagram

If you simply want to be able to find an image on Instagram again rather than use it on another device, you might find it’s enough to save it within the platform. Instagram allows users to bookmark any post in order to be able to find it again later, whether it's from an account you follow or not. You can organise saved posts into folders to make them easier to find, for example by creating folders for design inspiration, wish lists, or dream holiday destinations – don’t worry, no one else can see your bookmarks!

01. Save to collection

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Tap the bookmark icon below any Instagram post and it will turn black to show the post has been saved. For the Marie Condo approach to bookmarks, tap the 'Save to Collection' message that pops up then click the + icon to choose an existing collection or create a collection with a new name.

02. View and edit your images

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

To view or edit your bookmarked images in the Instagram app, go to your profile, tap the menu icon at the top right, then 'Saved'. In a browser, you’ll find the 'Saved' tab above your own feed. From here, you can tap the plus icon to add new collections or to move a previously saved photo to a collection.

How to download Instagram photos using third-party apps

If you definitely need to download photos from Instagram rather than save them in the app but find the first two options above to be too fiddly or time-consuming, there are many third-party apps that offer workarounds. Bear in mind that some of these require access to your account data, while others rely on heavy advertising to make their money. Where possible we’d advise using the previous solutions, but if you want the convenience of a quick fix, there are a range of options available. 

Download Instagram photos using DownloadGram

The most convenient way to download Instagram photos and download Instagram videos using a third-party app is by using a browser-based option since these don't require you to install any software on your device (something that could raise security concerns).

There are now many web apps online that can download Instagram videos and photos. DownloadGram is one of the ones that has been around the longest. It can be used on both computers and mobiles to download Instagram videos, Reels and Photos, including individual photos in carousel posts.

01. Go to post

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

On a desktop computer, go to the Instagram website, find the picture you want, click on the three dots at the top right above the image and choose 'Go to Post'.

02. Download image

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Copy the photo’s URL from your address bar then go to DownloadGram’s website and paste the URL into the box. Click the Download button, then the Download image button to save your image.

On a mobile device, open the Instagram app and find the photo you want, tap the three dots icon and choose 'copy link'. From there, follow the process as above.

Other options include FastSave for Instagram, which offers a faster app-based option for downloading individual images to an Android phone with no copying or pasting needed, but you need to grant the app access to your data, and the ads can be annoying.

How to Download Instagram photos in bulk

If you want to download more than one image from Instagram at a time, you’re limited to using third-party software. Two of the most popular options are 4K Stogram and Save-o-gram.

Download Instagram photos: 4K Stogram

Download Instagram photos: 4K Stogram

4K Stogram allows you to download Instagram images in bulk (Image credit: 4K Stogram)

4K Stogram allows you to subscribe to a username, hashtag or even a location to mass download every public image that it finds under that tag with no need to sign in to Instagram. However, while it’s free to subscribe to a couple of feeds, you’ll need to pay $10 for a licence for unlimited use. Chances are you’ll also find yourself downloading a ton of images that don’t interest you.

Download and install 4K Stogram on your computer, open the programme then type an Instagram username, hashtag, or location into the search bar. Click Subscribe, then the programme will search and automatically start downloading everything it finds. You’ll find the images piling up in the 4K Stogram folder on your computer in subfolders for each search you entered. 

Download Instagram photos: Save-o-gram

Download Instagram photos: Save-o-gram

Save-o-gram lets you be more selective with your downloads (Image credit: Save-o-gram)

If you need to be more selective, Save-o-gram allows selected images to be downloaded all at once as a zip file or individually. It charges a one-off fee of $9 after a seven-day trial.

How to download Instagram Reels

An image showing how to download Instagram Reels

Instagram is rolling out an option to download Instagram Reels in the app (Image credit: Instagram)

You can download Instagram Reels and videos using some of the same methods mentioned above. You could download them with the rest of your Instagram history, or you could use one of various third party web apps available. However, if you want to download Instagram Reels from a public account, it could now be easier than that since Instagram is adding the option to simply click and download Instagram Reels in the platform itself. 

At the time of writing the ability to download Instagram Reels was only being rolled out in the US, but it is likely to be expanded to other countries. All you need to do is press the share icon on a Reel in the Instagram mobile app and then press the new Download option. Users can turn off the option if they do not want people to be able to download their Reels.

How to download Instagram Stories

Instagram makes it much easier to download your own stories – the image or video including any stickers or text you’ve applied. Just click on the three vertical dots at the bottom right of the story and choose 'Save photo'. You can find old stories by going to your profile, clicking on the menu icon and selecting 'Archive'. (See our guide to Instagram Stories here.)

If you want a Story from someone else’s account – and some photographers specifically share pictures for use as wallpaper by this means – you can save it by simply taking a screenshot. The trick is to hold down one finger on the screen while you do so in order to remove the Instagram UI and get a clean shot. 

Just tap and hold anywhere on the screen so that the UI overlay fades away. This also pauses the story, giving you time to take the screenshot. With a bit of finger contortion, keep your finger on the screen while you take the screenshot, whether that’s by pressing the side button and volume up on an iPhone to the power and volume down buttons on a Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel. 

Again, bear in mind potential copyright issues when taking screenshots of someone else’s work.

Is it necessary to download Instagram photos to repost an image?

In the past the only ways to repost to Instagram were to download photos from the platform and then post them on your own feed or to use a third-party app, which could be risky, and often meant having an ugly logo in the corner of the image if you used the free version of the software. 

This is no longer necessary because Instagram has introduced its own repost option (just look for the arrow and 'repost' below an image). The option is only available if a user has enabled it. You can also share posts as a Story.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.