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How to download Instagram photos: a complete guide

Download Instagram Photos
(Image credit: Joseph Foley on Instagram)

So, you want to download Instagram photos? Maybe you've accidentally deleted the original of the fantastic shot you uploaded to Instagram, or heaven forbid, lost your phone or camera. Maybe you used the in-app camera and didn’t save a copy, or perhaps you want to reference or repost an image from someone else’s feed and they can’t locate the original. Whatever the reason, here’s a complete guide to your options for getting content from Instagram onto your Mac, PC or phone.

While it’s easy to post images to Instagram, it’s not quite so simple to download them. Here we’ll look at all the options, from downloading your entire history to finding the source code for individual images or using third party apps. Use the links on the right to jump to the section you're after.

If you'd like to enhance your pictures before uploading them to Instagram, you'll need to know about the best photo editing apps. For more Insta tips, you can also see our guide to how to change the font in your Instagram bio.

When downloading Instagram images, please respect image ownership and bear in mind that while some of these methods allow other users’ images to be downloaded, we recommend always seeking permission and giving credit where due. For more info on copyright on Instagram, see our article on how to repost on Instagram

Download Instagram photos to a PC or Mac

Instagram offers no native method to download individual images from your feed, but it does allow you to download your account’s entire history, including all the photos and videos you’ve uploaded as posts or stories. This, the only “official” way to download your stuff, was introduced due to privacy concerns following controversies at parent company Facebook, and it provides you with a link to download your data.

01. Login and get started

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Go to the Instagram website on your browser, log in, then click the gear icon to the right of where it says Edit Profile, and choose Privacy and Security.

02. Request download

This will lead you to a page headed Account Privacy. 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 to which you want to receive the download link and click 'next'. Instagram will automatically start bundling your data into a downloadable package and send you a link by email. They say this can take up to 48 hours but we find the email tends to come through within an hour or two. The link only lasts four days, so look out for it or you’ll have to make the request all over again.

04. Download your data

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Click 'Download Data' in the email once it’s arrived and you’ll be taken to the Instagram site to sign in and make the download. You’ll get a zip file containing everything you’ve ever posted, commented or liked. Extract the file to a new folder to keep the several subfolders together in one place, and you’ll find all your images, videos, stories, plus a record of all your comments, searches, likes and messages.

You can also request the file 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'.

Save a photo from Instagram to a PC or Mac using the source code

If you don’t want the hassle of downloading your entire history and wading through perhaps better forgotten posts to find a specific photo, or if you need an image from someone else’s feed having received their permission, you can download individual images by turning to the code.

01. Find the code

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

On the Instagram website, click on your desired photo to view the full image. Right click on the image (you may need to right-click or control-click and select 'Open in new tab' depending on your browser) and click 'View Page Source' or 'Inspect element'.

02. Copy the code

(Image: © Jospeh Foley on Instagram)

Scroll through the code and find the section with the meta property information (you can hit control+f or command+f and search for the "meta property”). You’ll find a line of code beginning

03. Save the image

Paste the link into your browser, hit 'Enter', and you’ll be taken to a page with the photo alone. Now, simply right-click or control-click 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 memorable. The process can also work for videos depending on your browser.

Bookmark images on Instagram

If you just want to be able to find an image again rather than use it elsewhere, you might find it’s enough to bookmark it. You can bookmark any image on Instagram, whether from an account you follow or not, and you can neatly organise bookmarked images into separate folders for ideas and inspirations, wish lists, dream holiday destinations or whatever you choose – 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 image and it will turn black showing the image has been saved. If you want to take a Marie Condo approach to your saved images, tap the 'Save to Collection' message that pops up bottom left then click the + icon to create a collection, naming it as your please.

02. View and edit your images

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

To view or edit your bookmarked images, in the app go to your profile, tap the menu icon at the top right, and choose '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 shift a saved photo to a collection.

Download images on Instagram with third-party options

If you need the image off Instagram and the first options above sound too fiddly or time consuming, there’s a plethora of third party options offering workarounds to download your own images and others’. Bear in mind that some of these require access to your account data, while others rely on heavy advertising. If possible we’d advise using the previous solutions, but if you want the convenience, these are some of the most popular options.

DownloadGram

DownloadGram is one of the most attractive third party options in terms of security since it doesn’t require software installation, plus it can be used on both computers and mobiles. The downside is that you can only download one image at a time.

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, click the resulting 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', then do 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 allow the app to access your data and the ads can be annoying.

Download multiple images

If you want to download more than one image at a time, you’re limited to using third party software, with 4K Stogram and Save-o-gram being two of the most used.

4K Stogram

Download Instagram photos: 4K Stogram

4K Stogram allows you to download in bulk

(Image credit: 4K Stogram)

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

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

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 images to be downloaded images all at once as a zip file or individually and charges a one-off $9 after a seven-day trial.

Download Instagram Stories

Instagram makes it much easier to download your own stories – the image or video plus any stickers or text you’ve overlaid. 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 using 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 taking a screenshot. The trick to hold down one finger on the screen while you do so to remove the Instagram UI and get a clean shot. Just tap and hold anywhere on the screen so the overlay fades away, which also pauses the story giving you time to take the screenshot. With a little finger yoga, keep you finger held down while you take the screenshot, whether that’s by pressing volume up and lock on an iPhone X, the power and home buttons on a Samsung Galaxy, or power and volume down on a Google Pixel. 

Again bear in mind potential copyright issues if considering taking a screenshot of someone else’s work.

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