Can Someone Tell If You Screenshot a Story or Post in Instagram?
Back in February of 2018, Instagram announced that it was going to start alerting users when someone took a screenshot of their story. Great news for those who want to have more control over their privacy. Instagram Stories are a lot like Snapchat Stories. They allow you to post videos and pictures that auto-delete after 24 hours. Before this 24 hours is up, anyone (or anyone who follows you, if your profile is private) can view and interact with your story.
While these stories are meant to be temporary, users often decide they want to archive a certain picture or video from someone’s story, whether officially or unofficially. To do this, a lot of people take screenshots of the story image(s), which goes against the whole idea of a Story.
Because of that, Instagram decided to start alerting users when screenshots were taken by putting a star-like icon next to the handle of the person that took the screenshot.
It looked like this:
Instagram began getting a lot of resistance from its user base after this decision. The architects apparently hadn’t realized that the fact that stories disappear in 24 hours isn’t really a way to preserve anyone’s privacy. Rather, it’s a way of keeping the content fresh and avoiding the creation of an enormous feed that people have to scroll through to get to the good stuff.
Stories are terrific for transient updates that you don’t particularly need to archive forever, but it’s pretty rare for anyone to post something to a story that they’d be upset that someone archived.
So, in June of 2018, Instagram announced that the feature was being eliminated. (Even if you don’t get caught screenshotting, some people might be embarrassed by their search history – so we put together a little piece on how to clear your Instagram searches.)
So for the moment (November 2019), no, people cannot tell that you have screenshotted or screen recorded their Instagram Story. But that’s not all there is to say on the matter…
How Screenshots Used to Work on Instagram Stories
When the screenshot notification feature was in place, Instagram would use software to detect the activation of the screenshot feature on a smartphone. The notification was triggered by one of three things:
- Taking a screenshot of an Instagram post or story
- Recording a screen while checking out someone’s Instagram
- Recording a screen while looking at a story that includes a video
Instagram didn’t actually send a message or notification to users whose Stories were screenshotted or recorded. Rather, the star icon would appear next to users who had taken a screenshot of a post or Story in the “Seen By” list for that posting.
If this system sounds kind of familiar, that’s because it’s a straight copy of the way that Snapchat (which DOES notify users of a screenshot) handles their notification.
While you can’t currently see when someone screenshots your story, Instagram could bring back this feature at any time. As a result, we are preserving the record of how to bypass this functionality in this article.
Avoid Screenshot Detection Using Airplane Mode
One way to avoid the notification badge is to set your smartphone to airplane mode and take a screenshot while your device is offline.
The downside of doing this is that you will only see one or two posts because your phone is offline. If you take screenshots of Instagram stories often, this one may not work well for you as it would be pretty annoying to do this repeatedly.
Follow the instructions below to set your device to airplane mode:
- Swipe down from the top of the screen using two fingers.
- Locate the airplane mode icon.
- Tap it to activate airplane mode.
- Swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
- Locate the airplane mode icon.
- Tap it to activate airplane mode.
When you’re ready to continue browsing, follow the instructions above to deactivate airplane mode.
Avoid Screenshot Detection Using a Web Browser
Alternatively, you can check out Instagram via your browser and take a screenshot that way. Instagram does not currently have a way to track screenshots taken from your browser window if you use a laptop or PC.
While you probably don’t use Instagram on your browser very often, this is a quick and easy way to work around the screenshot notification feature.
Avoid Screenshot Detection Using Chrome Browser Extension “IG Stories for Instagram”
If you don’t mind using Instagram on desktop, the IG Stories for Instagram extension for Chrome is a great way to easily view and download Instagram stories from your browser.
Just follow these steps to get started:
- First, download the IG Stories for Instagram extension for your browser.
- From the Instagram desktop website, run the extension. An interface will be presented around your queued stories, permitting you to view them live or download them.
That’s all there is to it. This extension makes it super easy to archive any stories you want right from your desktop.
Avoid Screenshot Detection Using Another Camera
If all else fails, you can try this surefire, low-tech way of taking a screenshot of an Instagram story.
Grab another camera and take a picture of your screen. As long as it isn’t your phone activating the screenshot, the notification won’t be sent. It may be low quality, but if you really want to capture that screen without a notification, this option works.
Avoid Screenshot Detection Using Third-Party Apps
Finally, if you are desperate to take screenshots of your latest crush’s Instagram, you can try a third-party app. These apps let you look at Instagram stories, screenshot, and save anonymously.
Some apps take the URL for the image or video and use that to save posts. From there, you can view your saved stories in overview mode, and re-post if you want. Other apps do all of that and allow you to re-post as one of the save steps. The ease of use may vary between apps, and the free ones may be peppered with ads.
It’s not illegal to use these apps, but their use may violate Instagram’s Terms of Service. If you really need that screenshot though, you should not expect any repercussions for using these apps.
While Instagram used to notify you when someone took a screenshot of your story, that’s not the case anymore. But that doesn’t mean Instagram won’t bring back this feature in the future.
So, just in case it does come back, be sure to keep these tips for bypassing the screenshot notification feature in mind.
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