One of my new year’s resolutions is that I’m done with the social media chaos. I’m quitting. Is there some way to get all of my photos and activity from Instagram before I shut that account down?
The good news is that yes, there’s a fairly straightforward way to download every single photo you’ve ever posted to Instagram – a Facebook business – before you go dark or even delete your account. I’ll show you the steps. But you’re not alone either; there’s a growing backlash against social media services, from Facebook to Snapchat, where people are starting to realize how they can amplify much of what’s wrong with our modern culture. I was just reading an article this morning about how many celebrities want to quit social media but that it’s an important part of modern personal brand marketing.
The whole thing’s insidious because it has so much darn reach. In the old days even if you were in a busy bar, restaurant or public place, at best a few dozen people could hear your rants, complaints and kvetching. Nowadays that same complaint travels around the world and thousands or even tens of thousands of people are able to interact, argue, challenge and criticize. It’s exhausting!
Suffice to say, I get your perspective and whether or not you’ll stay off social media for all of 2019, I appreciate your desire to gain control of your digital world and online life. Turns out that harassing people and being hostile really shouldn’t be seen as a sport. 🙂
Anyway, anyway. Back to Instagram. To download all of your photos and data, grab your phone and launch the Instagram app. Now tap on the profile button on the lower right. You’ll be looking at your profile, like the below for @d1taylor:
You’ll need to move to the settings area which can be reached by going to the so-called “hamburger menu”, the three horizontal lines on the top right. In my case, there’s a tiny ‘1’ superimposed too. You’ll see a lot of interesting options, none of which you want:
For reasons I can’t explain, the last item on the menu – Settings – is actually on the very bottom, not neatly spaced below all the other menu items. As a result, you’ll need to pay more attention to find it. Honestly, Instagram, that’s just a bad user experience issue that should be fixed in the next update!
Anyway, now you know where to find “Settings” so tap on it. You’ll move to the Settings menu (which is huge!) and you’ll need to swipe down until you find “Data Download“:
No surprise, you’ll want to tap on that option, which gets you here:
You can’t quite tap on the “Request Download” and have it start up, however. First you’ll need to log in to your account again for security purposes, and then once you are logged in and request the download, you find out that there’s some prep time back on the Instagram side before it’s ready to go:
That’s it. Tap “Done” and have some patience. Fortunately, it’s often much faster than they suggest and my download email arrived within about 90 minutes of my request. But that doesn’t have the data either! Here’s what that email looks like:
Now you’re thinking “okay, so when I click on the “Download Data” I’m finally able to start download my data, right?” Nope. Still one more level of indirection:
Finally, though, yes, you can actually download the data files. It’s interesting that they have quite different sizes too: For me, at least, Part 1 was small at 146 Kb, but Part 2 was 311MB and Part 3 was 105MB in size. Apparently I’ve been busy on Instagram for all these years!
And now you know how to grab everything you’ve ever posted and commented on your Instagram account. Do this, download all the data, and archive it, whether you’re going to just ignore Instagram for a few months or go all the way and delete your account entirely.