How To Download Your Old Instagram Photos For Safekeeping

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Whether you’re looking to purge some old ‘grams or just make sure your perfectly filtered photos don’t get lost in the ether, you’ve got some options when it comes to downloading your old Instagram photos. If your fingers are getting sore screenshotting photos from 2013, fear not. There are a few easy ways to make sure all your old Instagram photos get saved to your phone.

There are tools and apps like Instaport that will do most of the work for you. You just put in your username and password and they’ll send you a Zip file with all your old photos. Of course, if sharing more information isn’t really your jam, you can download your data from Instagram and save yourself from giving from apps and sites your info.

Let’s start with a little preemptive work. If you’re looking to make sure all your future Instagram photos save to your phone automatically, Instagram’s FAQ page has an easy fix:

  • On mobile, go to your profile and tap the hamburger (AKA the three horizontal lines) in the top right corner.
  • Go to Settings > Account > Original Photos (iOS) or Original Posts (Android)
  • From there, you’ll be able to opt in or out of Instagram automatically saving unedited photos and videos taken with Instagram’s feed camera.

Now, when you take and edit a photo all within Instagram, you don’t have to worry about making sure you save a copy to your phone as Instagram will do that for you.

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Let’s say you want to do the real dirty work: downloading all your old photos from Instagram. An update to the app last year makes that pretty easy. As CNET points out, the ability to download old data comes as part of Instagram’s compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy rules. The rules were introduced last year in order to give users more control over their data on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Here’s how you can download your Instagram data, including old photos:

  • On mobile, go to your profile and tap the hamburger icon (again, that’s those three little horizontal lines)
  • Select Settings
  • Select Privacy and Security
  • Scroll a little and under Data and History, select Download Data
  • Then, you can type in your email address and request to download everything Instagram has on you, including photos, comments, profile and information.

You can also download your data from a desktop by following a similar set of steps.

  • Go to your profile on Instagram.com
  • Select Settings, denoted with the gear icon
  • Click “Privacy and Security”
  • Scroll down a bit to the “Data Download” section and select Request Download

It may take up to 48 hours for the download to be emailed to you, but users on multiple sites say it usually takes an hour or two. Patience is a virtue that ultimately leads to seeing the poor Instagram filter and frame choices you made five years ago.

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If you really want to dig into your Instagram history, I suggest perusing the “Access Data” tab. Under Settings > Security > Access Data, you can see an overview of what essentially your entire Instagram history. You’re able to view when you joined, all the former usernames and full names you’ve used, former bio texts, links in bio, some Story history, and more. Yes, you can see all the humiliating things you’ve chosen to put as your bio. Some things are better hidden.

Instagram’s data download doesn’t include any photos you’ve deleted from your feed, thank god. However, if you find any old photos you don’t want to erase but don’t need the world to see, you can always archive old Instagram posts so they’re hidden from your feed. Again, some things are better hidden.