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How to download Instagram photos: A complete guide

download Instagram photos
(Image credit: Joseph Foley)

Sometimes you need to download Instagram photos to your computer or phone. Perhaps you posted a shot to the social media platform some time ago then deleted the original by mistake, or worse, lost the device on which the image was stored. 

Chances are you might also have photos on the platform that you took with the in-app camera but didn't save, and you might also want to repost an image from a friend or colleague's feed (with their permission, of course!)

While posting photos on Instagram is a piece of cake, getting them off again is not as simple. But don't despair; this guide will outline how to download Instagram photos to your PC, Mac or phone.

You can download your entire Instagram history, using the source code for individual images (easier than it sounds, we promise), or use third-party apps. 

If you want to learn more about enhancing your shots before you upload them to Instagram, check out the best photo editing apps. For more Insta tips, see our guide to Instagram fonts, our guide on how to change the font in your Instagram bio, and learn how to turn on Instagram's dark mode.

Just as a reminder, if you download Instagram photos, please respect image ownership. While some of the methods below allow other users' images to be downloaded, we recommend always seeking permission and giving credit where it's due. For more details on copyright on Instagram, see our article on how to repost on Instagram

Download Instagram photos to a PC or Mac

There is no native method to download Instagram photos from your feed individually. The one concession Instagram has made is to allow you to download your account’s entire history on the platform in one hefty package. That includes all the photos and videos that you’ve uploaded as posts or stories as well as a lot of other things you might not want.

This one “official” way to download your stuff was introduced due to privacy concerns following controversies at parent company Facebook. To get started you'll need to request a download link either via the Instagram website or the app.

01. Login to get started

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Go to the Instagram website, log in, then click the gear icon to the right of where it says Edit Profile. Choose Privacy and Security from the list of options.

02. Request download

This will lead you to the Account Privacy page. 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 where you'll receive the download link, then click 'next'. Instagram will start bundling your data into a downloadable package, and then send you the link by email. The platform says this can take up to 48 hours, but the email tends to come through within an hour or two. The link's only valid for four days, so keep an eye out for it or you’ll have to start all over again.

04. Download your data

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

Once you receive the email, click 'Download Data'. You’ll be taken to the Instagram site to sign in and start the download. The package comes in the form of a zip file that contains every post you've ever made as well as details of every message and everything you've searched for, liked or commented on. Depending on how long you've had an Instagram account and how much you use it, this could mean a ton of data, so extract the file to a new folder of its own to keep the many subfolders and files in one place.

You can also request this sizable download package 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'.

Download Instagram photos individually using the source code

If you don’t want the hassle of wading through your entire Instagram history to find the one specific photo you wanted to download, or if you need an image from someone else’s feed after having received their permission to use it, you can download Instagram photos individually by turning to the source code.

01. Find the image source

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

How you do this will depend on your browser. On Internet Explorer, you can click on the photo you want to download to view the full image, then right-click on the image and select 'View Source'.

02. Copy the code

(Image: © Jospeh Foley on Instagram)

Scroll through the code and find the meta property information (hit control+f or command+f and search for 'meta property'). You'll want to copy the URL that appears in double inverted commas in the line beginning: '<meta property="og:image" content='

03. Save the image

Paste the link into your browser, hit 'Enter', and you’ll be taken the photo you want to download. Now, simply right-click or control-click on 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 recognisable. The process may also work for videos depending on your browser. 


On Google Chrome, you can look for the source image by clicking 'Inspect', then looking for the 'V' folder under the sources tab.

Download Instagram photos: Save images on Instagram

If you simply want to be able to find an image on Instagram again rather than use it on another device, you might find it’s enough to save it within the platform. Instagram allows users to bookmark any post in order to be able to find it again later, whether it's from an account you follow or not. You can organise saved posts into folders to make them easier to find, for example by creating folders for design inspiration, wish lists, or dream holiday destinations – 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 Instagram post and it will turn black to show the post has been saved. For the Marie Condo approach to bookmarks, tap the 'Save to Collection' message that pops up then click the + icon to choose an existing collection or create a collection with a new name.

02. View and edit your images

(Image: © Joseph Foley on Instagram)

To view or edit your bookmarked images in the Instagram app, go to your profile, tap the menu icon at the top right, then '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 move a previously saved photo to a collection.

Download Instagram photos using third-party apps

If you definitely need to download photos from Instagram rather than save them in the app but find the first two options above to be too fiddly or time-consuming, there are many third-party apps that offer workarounds. Bear in mind that some of these require access to your account data, while others rely on heavy advertising to make their money. Where possible we’d advise using the previous solutions, but if you want the convenience of a quick fix, then these are some of the most popular options.

Download Instagram photos: DownloadGram

DownloadGram is one of the most appealing third-party options to download Instagram photos since it doesn’t require the installation of any software. That may inspire more trust in terms of security. It can be used on both computers and mobiles. It can also be used to download videos, IGTV and Reels. The downside is that you can only download one piece of media 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 the 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'. From there, follow the process 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 grant the app access to your data, and the ads can be annoying.

Download Instagram photos in bulk

If you want to download more than one image from Instagram at a time, you’re limited to using third-party software. Two of the most popular options are 4K Stogram and Save-o-gram.

Download Instagram photos: 4K Stogram

Download Instagram photos: 4K Stogram

4K Stogram allows you to download Instagram images in bulk (Image credit: 4K Stogram)

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

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

Download Instagram photos: 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 selected images to be downloaded all at once as a zip file or individually. It charges a one-off fee of $9 after a seven-day trial.

Download Instagram photos: Download Instagram Stories

Instagram makes it much easier to download your own stories – the image or video including any stickers or text you’ve applied. 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 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 simply taking a screenshot. The trick is to hold down one finger on the screen while you do so in order to remove the Instagram UI and get a clean shot. 

Just tap and hold anywhere on the screen so that the UI overlay fades away. This also pauses the story, giving you time to take the screenshot. With a bit of finger contortion, keep your finger on the screen 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 when taking screenshots of someone else’s work.

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Joseph is a freelance writer, translator and project manager based in Buenos Aires, where he spends his nights dancing tango.