If you thought your Instagram Stories completely disappeared after their 24-hours were up, think again. After a post disappears from your Story, Instagram keeps it in a separate section of your profile with your other Archived Stories — and only you can access it. But if this section brings back unwanted memories or reminders of bad haircuts, it would be helpful to know how to delete an archived Story on Instagram.
Lucky for you, Instagram's Help page makes it extremely easy to get rid of Archived Stories you'd rather never see again. To delete a Story that's in your archive, you go to the Instagram app, click your profile, and then hit the menu button in the top right of the screen. After that, you click on the second option in the list that pops up, which reads "Archive."
You will either be directed to your Archived Stories or your Archived Posts. If it's your Archived Stories, then you're in the right place. If it's your Archived Posts, however, all you have to do is click on the word "Archive" written at the top of the screen with the arrow, and pull down the menu to click on "Stories." From there, go ahead and select the Archived Story you want to delete and click the "More" option at the bottom right of the page. When you do this, a window should pop up with the option to "Delete" the photo. Once you click that, the Archived Story you selected will be deleted and no longer stored in your account.
And just to make it clear, no one besides you can see your Archived Stories. So if you choose to delete them, they're permanently gone. You won't be able to access them anymore or go back and put them into your Highlights.
Still, if you know you're not going to want to watch any Stories after you make them (hey, 24 hours means 24 hours), then you can automatically stop them from being archived. To do this, just follow the same steps to get to your Archived Stories section and then click the three dots in the upper right hand of your screen. This should lead you to a pop-up window where you can select "Settings." Then, you should be led to your "Story Controls" page where you'll see that your "Save to Archive" switch is on. If you just slide it off, your Stories will no longer be saved to your Archive.
Instagram started saving Archived Stories back in December of 2017, and the update came alongside the popular "Highlights" section of Instagram. The feature lets you use your Archived Stories to create highlight reels on your account for anything from #ootd to places you've traveled. These stories are meant to be permanently displayed on your account so that you and your followers can sift through them at any time. But even the Highlights give you the option to delete certain Stories if you no longer want them part of your reel.
So if you want those year-old Stories completely wiped from existence, don't worry, just click away.