How to Download Videos and Photos From Instagram

Facebook’s big outage of 2021 is over (for now), but in the DNS issue that brought down the popular but controversial social network, there was collateral damage. Namely, other Facebook-owned services, including WhatsApp and Instagram, were also turned off, and along with them, their digital memories. This is why it is smart to occasionally backup your social accounts, even if they are already in the cloud, like all your Insta photos. We will show you how.

But what about the memories you have seen posted by others? Similar to Facebook or YouTube, there are copyright and income generating reasons for not taking someone else’s video. But we know that you will only use our instructions on how to download Instagram photos and videos forever.

Download your Instagram content

The steps to do this couldn’t be simpler. On your desktop, go to, click on your avatar icon in the upper right corner and select Settings> Privacy and security. Click on the Data Download link that says Request Download.

In the mobile app, the steps are slightly different. Go to your profile (the icon in the lower right), then click the 3-line menu in the upper right to select Settings> Security> Download data.

You will see a Get a copy of your information page. On the desktop, you have two options: download it in an easy-to-navigate HTML format, or get it as a JSON data file that you can import into other services. Choose one and click Next. Then, you will have to re-enter your Instagram password and click Request Download.


In the mobile app, you don’t have the option. Just click Request Download.

Instagram promises to link to you within at least 48 hours, as it could take that long if you have a lot of data stored on your account. Got mine in less than a minute. You can see it here, with a warning that the link in the email will stop working after four days because it “may contain personal information.”


To download on the desktop, enter your password (and if you have two-factor authentication enabled, the second authentication code), and again you will be taken to, where you can grab the compressed file (in ZIP format). I’m not the biggest Instagrammer by any means, and my file was 105MB, so expect a lot of data if you’ve been uploading it for years.

Once you extract the data, if you got the HTML version, just click on the index.html file to start browsing through everything. It will include comments, contacts, account information, and much more. For the important stuff, scroll down the page to Content to search for posts, profile photos, and stories. (Yes, all those “ephemeral” Stories that you posted that disappeared for others after 24 hours are there). If you want the actual video and image files, please search the downloads below Media file.

Download videos and photos of others from Instagram

Saving images and videos from Instagram is not easy. You can’t just hold down a finger on an in-app published image for a save option, or even right-click to save on one in the desktop browser. That is doubled for video.

The only way to save third-party Instagram content to your device is with a third-party tool. One of the most versatile is Toolzu with advertising. It will allow you to download a person’s profile picture, videos, photos, even videos in Stories or IGTV (now Instagram Video). Reels, the Instagram version of a TikTok clip, won’t work. All you need is the exact URL to get a specific photo or video.


However, if you use the profile downloader in Toolzu, you only need to enter the person’s Instagram username, and the last 12 posts appear for easy download as JPG for still images or MP4 for videos. For anything before those 12 posts, you need the URL. Toolzu also works perfectly on mobile devices.

Getting a specific link from Instagram isn’t always easy. While at a desktop, you can usually right-click to Copy the url, but it doesn’t always work in all areas. In Stories, for example, even with a desktop browser, you will have to pause the video and copy the URL in the address bar; On your mobile device, while a story video is playing, you can click the 3-dot menu and select Copy Link.

Mobile link copy

Toolzu is far from the only tool that can handle Instagram downloads. Desktop tools like our favorite for YouTube downloads, 4K Video Downloader, can handle most tasks (but it seems to be drowning in Instagram Reels). One that performed well in testing was an ad-supported multilingual website wizard called iGram; it even supports Reels, if you can get the specific url of a video. It does not have the batch capability that Toolzu offers.

Now you have the tools and information you need to save almost all of Instagram to your own hard drive. Use your powers only for good.

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