At some point or another, most of us have probably encountered an Instagram story and thought, “[Insert friend here] needs to see this.” Maybe it’s a juicy post from their crush, a hilarious video from your fave comedian, or an exciting announcement that you know they’ll be amped to see. Upon attempting to DM the story to your friend, you also might have found yourself wondering, “Where’s the Send button on here?”
There’s something beautiful about the fleeting content that is an Instagram story. Whether it’s a birthday post or concert footage, knowing that a story will only exist for 24 hours makes it take on some extra significance. Much like the passing awe of a sunset, we’re left to only experience an Instagram story as it is for the time being. Or, much like our urge to post a story of every sunset we see, there’s always the possibility of screenshotting a story or sending it to a friend before it vanishes.
If your attempts to share an Instagram story have left you scratching your head, here is a step-by-step guide.
How To Share Someone Else’s Instagram Story
In order to send a user’s Instagram story to someone within the Instagram app, the original poster must have granted permission for this feature to be used. You’ll be able to tell if the user has enabled this feature if there is a small paper airplane icon on the bottom right of the screen while viewing the story. (The icon feels oddly reminiscent of passing notes in middle school, though one would hope that the usage of the feature is a bit less shady.)
Upon clicking the paper airplane icon, you’ll be presented with a list of people you’re following to whom you may want to message the story. If the name of the person you’d like to send the story to isn’t visible up top, you can search for their name and click on their username.
If the original poster’s profile is public, you can send their story to anyone to view it. (Which proves especially helpful if you and your BFF love analyzing a celeb’s social media.) However, if they are private, you can only send it to people who are already approved to follow the poster. You will be presented with a shorter list of potential recipients above a message that says, “Private account: The people below may not be able to see this story unless they follow [username].” You can choose from anyone listed above this message, or searching for someone you know who also follows them. However, if they don’t follow the private account, the story will not be visible for them to view.
When your recipient opens the message from you with the story in it, they’ll be able to open the story and view it. Like you, the recipient will only be able to view this story while it’s available on the poster’s profile for 24 hours. So, if you’re sending the story to a friend who’s frequently off the grid, you might want to send them a nudge to check their DMs.
Can You Share Someone Else’s Instagram Story To Your Own?
You might want to reshare a hilarious meme to your own story for the duration of the 24 hours that it’s live. However, unless the original poster tagged you in the story, there’s no built-in way to share someone else’s Instagram story to your own. Instead, you can screenshot the story — hold your finger down on the screen to make the poster’s username and other graphics disappear — and then post the image like you would a normal story. You might want to tag the original poster as a courtesy; that way, they can reshare the story to their own page and keep the love going. Of course, if the poster is a private account, the image is on Close Friends, or the content is clearly designed not to be reshared, you’ll probably want to think twice about reposting an Instagram story using this method.
If you were tagged in the story (look at you!), you can easily reshare the story by going to the notification that you were tagged, then clicking the “Add this to your story” prompt that shows up in the DM exchange.
Why Can’t I Share Someone Else’s Instagram Story?
You may be unable to share someone’s Instagram story if they don’t have this feature enabled. Many users seem to have story sharing turned on by default, but users might opt to disable this feature if they don’t want their masterful content open to interpretation (or DM-speculating). If this is the case, you will not see any paper airplane icon in the bottom right-hand corner of their story.
As mentioned above, you may also be unable to share someone else’s story to your chosen recipient if the original poster’s profile is private and your recipient is not approved to follow them.
If you are unable to share someone’s Instagram story for either of these reasons, you can always opt for screenshotting or screen-recording the story before it vanishes. (Which you may be relieved to know will not notify them.) As they say: Take a picture; it’ll last longer.