How To Find Your Instagram Year In Review

It’s like Top 9, but for stories.

by Kaitlyn Wylde
A screenshot of Instagram's Year In Review 2021 playback feature.

You no longer have to face nostalgia FOMO or scramble last minute for a third-party app that will generate a year-end highlight reel for you. On Dec. 9, Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, announced new Year in Review features that have been built into Instagram and Facebook. Now you can give 2021 a proper send off without losing any precious storage space.

While Instagram’s top nine grid was a novel retrospective, it was always confusing to find the best app for the job, and there was nothing personal about the automated result. Your most-liked pictures don’t necessarily paint a picture of the best moments of the year, and they tend to be selfies and puppy pics anyway. By contrast, Instagram’s Year in Review curates your best stories from the year into one highlight reel, called 2021 Playback. The new feature allows you to curate its auto-generated selects, so you can edit it to better reflect the moments from 2021 that you want to relive. You can also do the same thing on Facebook, with a “Year Together” card.

Here’s how to give your favorite memories a little bit more love and screen time with the new Year In Review features.

How To Make A 2021 Playback Story On Instagram


The Year In Review feature, called 2021 Playback, became available globally on Dec. 9, but it might take some time for it to make it to your account. When it’s available for you, you'll see a pop-up notice at the top of your feed prompting you to "View Playback." Or, if you see other people posting Playbacks, you can click on the 2021 sticker in their stories, which will prompt your own. To see ideas of how other people are using the feature, you can tap through the Instagram Creators’ stories 2021 highlight reel for more tips and ideas. (You can also use this highlight to access the 2021 sticker that brings you to your own Playback.)

When you tap on the in-feed notification or the 2021 sticker in someone’s story, you’ll get a pop-up that says “View your 2021 playback.” It will give you an autogenerated slideshow of your Stories over the last year that you can preview, and then a second prompt to ask if you want to share it. The feature is entirely editable, so you can add or remove any story from your Stories Archive to Playback before sharing to it your Stories. You can pick 10 Stories total, and add text, stickers, filters, tags and mentions before sharing with your Close Friends, followers, or privately through DM. Per Instagram, the feature will be available for “several weeks,” i.e. through the end of the year.

But wait — aren’t your stories supposed to disappear after 24 hours? Yes, but Instagram maintains an archive of your stories which you can access through settings. It’s this repository of content from the past year that it draws on to build your year in review. (If you’d rather Instagram not save your stories, even privately, you can toggle off the “Save To Archive” setting there, too.)

How To Make A “Year Together” Card On Facebook


Available globally starting Dec. 9, the Facebook app launched an in-feed retrospective highlighting different elements of your year on Facebook. The digital card will reflect special posts with friends, feelings you shared, and cultural events you engaged with. The personalized experience will be crafted into a custom, shareable card that you can post any time between now and Dec. 30.