Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

How to stop people from downloading your Instagram Reels

Published Nov 23rd, 2023 10:53AM EST
iPhone 14 design.
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

Instagram Reels are the short videos you probably doom-scroll through every day. Among them, you’ll find plenty of useful ones that fit your interests and needs. You can always save them so you can visit them later to take advantage of the information you want to remember. They’ll remain available in the Saved section of your account as long as the creator doesn’t delete them.

From now on, you’ll be able to download all the public Instagram Reels you want, which might be even better than saving them. That way, you can actually keep the tips and tricks you want to remember on your phone or computer.

But that’s not necessarily a great idea for creators. They might not want their followers to download videos and Reels. The good news is that Instagram users are in charge of whether or not they can be downloaded. Enabling and disabling the feature can be controlled with a simple toggle switch.

Instagram’s Adam Mosseri confirmed the Instagram Reels download feature is going to be available worldwide. Instagram tested the feature in the US this summer. As you can see in the screenshots that Meta provided, public Instagram Reels will get a new Download option once you tap the share and copy button (the paper airplane icon).

That’s all you have to do to save Instagram Reels on your smartphone. Once that’s done, you can move the clips to a computer or share them with others.

Instagram lets you download public Reels.
Instagram lets you download public Reels. Image source: Meta

Importantly, you can’t download Reels made before Instagram rolled out the download feature. Also, all downloaded Reels will include an Instagram watermark, your username, and an audio attribution. As for the audio, it’ll be available in the download only if it’s original. That’s what Instagram’s language in a FAQ support document seems to indicate.

While Instagram notes that “downloaded Reels aren’t allowed to be used for commercial purposes,” it also acknowledges that Instagram can’t control what people do with Reels after downloading them. Therefore, there might be cases where Instagram creators don’t want their followers to download clips.

How to prevent Instagram Reels downloads

The good news is that Instagram offers a few different ways to prevent followers from downloading your Reels. First, any Reels from private accounts can be downloaded. Also, public Reels from accounts belonging to creators under 18 can’t be downloaded.

Again, Reels from the past can’t be downloaded, so you’ll only have to pay attention to the clips you’re about to make.

Instagram offers a quick walkthrough on how to prevent Reels downloads on each post. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Start by recording and editing your Reel, then tap Next in the bottom right.
  • Tap More options at the bottom.
  • Scroll down and tap Advanced Settings.
  • Scroll down to Allow people to download your reels and tap [the toggle] to turn the setting on or off.
  • Select whether you want to turn on or off downloading for all Reels or only for the Reel you’re uploading.
  • Tap [the back arrow] in the top left to go back, then tap Share at the bottom.

You’ll be able to revise the settings if you want to make changes to how people download your Reels.

I will point out the obvious caveat. Screen recording, or using a different device to capture video of a phone playing an Instagram Reel, will practically allow anyone to “download” any sort of content, Instagram Reels included.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.