Instagram Stories started as a knock-off of Snapchat’s very similar feature, but it has grown to be incredibly popular with more than 400 million people using the feature daily. Stories offer an ephemeral, more casual way to share content with your friends and followers that doesn’t live permanently in your main Instagram feed. Stories can be shared either to all of your followers, or to a select few through the new close friends option. As Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can also share your Instagram story straight to your Facebook story to reach your friends on both platforms.
Images and videos posted to your story remain visible for up to 24 hours; after that, they disappear forever — but you can access them from your private archive and even choose to show select stories permanently as “highlights” on your profile page. You can also save your stories to your phone’s photo library, either by saving each image or video independently or downloading the entire story as a single video. This is useful if you want to share the content with another social media platform, like Twitter. However, if you want to save someone else’s story, it’s a bit more complicated.
For still images, the easiest way to save a story is simply to take a screenshot. We have guides for taking screenshots on iOS and Android, but the key with Instagram Stories is to first hold your finger or thumb on the screen — this stops the story from progressing and clears away the user interface elements so that you can get a clean capture. Screenshots don’t really work for video stories, however; if you want to save videos, you need a third-party app.
Go to the App Store and search for Story Reposter. The app is fairly straightforward, just give it access to your photo library and then search for an Instagram username — you don’t need to log in to your own account. The downside of this is that you won’t automatically see the stories of the people you follow, and if you’re trying to view and save multiple different users’ stories, it’s going to take some time to search for each one individually by name.
Further frustrating things are the 5-second ads that play every time you tap to load a story image or video. Story Reposter is completely free, with no in-app purchases, which means there’s no option for turning off these annoying ads. Sadly, this is how most of these Instagram-saving apps work.
However, once you wade through the muck, Story Reposter is actually a pretty useful little app. In addition to being able to repost story images and videos to Instagram, you can also share them to Twitter and Facebook, or to any service connected to your iPhone’s share menu (like iMessage, email, or whatever messaging apps you have installed). Simply tap the share button to bring up the menu of options, then choose “more” to see the full list.
The Android app we used is called Story Saver, available for free from the Google Play store. As with Repost Story on iOS, you will have to log into your Instagram account to get started. The main page shows you all the Stories that your followers have posted, but you can also search for other users in the search bar. Select the photo or video you want and then tap Save. The photo will show up in the StorySaver folder when you are looking at your photos.
Regardless of how you save a story, it’s best to make sure you’re doing so with the permission of the person who posted it. This is especially important if you’re going to share the content in your own story or feed. You can, of course, share stories straight from within Instagram if you don’t want to bother saving them to your device first. For instructions on how to do this and more, see our complete guide to using Instagram Stories.
If you’d rather save stories to your computer, there are a couple ways to do it. Perhaps the easiest is to use StoryDownloader, a website dedicated to the task, as its name clearly implies. Simply enter a username and it will bring up a grid of that user’s current stories. Tap the download button to save it to your computer.
Alternately, Chrome users can install the extension Downloader for Instagram. This puts a wrapper around Instagram.com, adding download buttons to posts, stories, and even entire accounts. You can quickly download individual story images and videos, or the entire story (which will be saved as a .zip folder containing the individual posts). It also looks like a good tool for backing up your entire Instagram account, and lets you set a range of posts to download.
For the security-conscious, be aware that Downloader for Instagram comes with a rather terrifying-sounding permissions warning. The extension can read any data on websites you visit, change your bookmarks, and manage downloads, extensions, and themes. To be fair, installing any Chrome extension comes with similar warnings (although, not always so many), and we didn’t notice any nefarious activity while testing it, but use at your own risk.