Does Instagram Keep Deleted Messages?
TechJunkie has received a few questions about Instagram recently so we thought we would collect five of the most common questions together and answer them all at once. Those questions include, does Instagram keep deleted messages? Can you recover deleted messages? Can you unsend an Instagram message? Can you see or retrieve deleted Instagram photos? Can I see what data Instagram holds on me?
Instagram and social media in general is a hot topic and has been for a while. We have seen these questions in many forms over the past couple of years and it is about time that we answered them. It’s our habit to answer questions with posts or tutorials so we benefit all of you and not individuals. We’re good like that.
Does Instagram keep deleted messages?
Instagram is a social network that deals in the here and now and does not back up your messages or store them for you. Any messages you send and receive are relayed by the network and are not stored on their servers. Whether that’s comments or DMs, they are stored on your device and nowhere else.
Photos are stored and may be used for other things by Instagram. They are treated differently because Instagram can make money from them. That’s why you sign away copyright when you join the network and why they are treated differently than messages.
Can you recover deleted Instagram messages?
As Instagram messages are not stored by the network themselves, any recovery operation has to happen on your phone. If you regularly backup your phone, you may be able to recover messages. If you don’t back up your phone, you will not. Not all backups will save messages though.
There are articles online telling you to visit a website, enter your Instagram account details and it will recover your Instagram messages. As far as I can tell, these are fake. As Instagram doesn’t keep the messages, there is nothing to recover. I believe these are just for harvesting your account details and nothing more. If you know differently, let us know.
Can you unsend an Instagram message?
You can unsend an Instagram message if the other person has yet to read it. If they have read it then its game over and you will not be able to remotely delete it or unsend it. If you can get to the message first, you may be able to delete if from their phone.
Open the message and long press on it. You should see a popup that offers to unsend the message. Select Unsend and the message server will try to retrieve it. This function will work in the majority of cases where the recipient’s phone is reachable by Instagram and while they have yet to read it.
Can you see or retrieve deleted Instagram photos?
Deleting images from Instagram is a bit different. Photos are treated differently both by Instagram and by your phone. If you took the picture on your phone it should still be within your camera or gallery app. If you cannot get it from Instagram you would be able to get it from there. You should also check your Instagram Album on your phone as the image may be there too.
You may be able to retrieve an image from Instagram Archive. While the Instagram Archive is still a thing, you can see if the photo is there. From within another Instagram image post, select the three dot menu icon and select Archive. Browse the contents to see if your photo is there.
Finally, if you use Android, you may want to check your Google Drive or Google Photos. If you have your phone set to sync to the cloud, your photos may have been backed up already. This setting is enabled by default so it’s worth checking unless you know you have already turned it off.
Can I see what data Instagram holds on me?
You can be sure that as part of Facebook, Instagram collects lots of data about you. You would likely be amazed as just how much data it collects but you can see exactly what if you know where to look. Facebook is under global scrutiny right now for privacy and data collection and Instagram is caught up in that to a lesser degree. If you want to know what it has on you, you can find out. You will need to log into Instagram from a browser to do it though.
- Log into Instagram from a browser.
- Select the person icon and the cog next to your username.
- Select Privacy and Security.
- Select Request Download under Data Download.
- Confirm your email on the next page and select Next.
- Enter your Instagram password again.
- Select Request Download.
The file can take up to 48 hours to be generated and will be emailed to the address you just entered.
Got any questions about Instagram or other social network? Ask them in comments or email us. We will always answer if we can!