How to Download Everything Instagram Knows About You

An illustration of a man being examined by the internet demonstrating he has no privacy.

 Getty Images

As with most social media services, Instagram keeps a fairly detailed record of your activities. While the majority of this data is used to improve your IG experience, it can be unsettling to learn that the company stores certain information about you. To ease concerns a bit, Instagram allows its users to download a copy of all data points that are logged on its servers. Some even use these downloaded files, which include your photos and comments, to migrate to a new social media site.

How to Download Instagram Data

Via Web Browser

instagram download data web browser
  1. Navigate to instagram.com and log in.
  2. If prompted to download the app, click Not Now.
  3. Click on the Profile button, represented by a head and torso and located in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
  4. Click on the gear icon, found directly to the right of your profile name.
  5. A pop-up menu should now be visible, overlaying the main Instagram interface. Select the Privacy and Security option.
  6. Your account's privacy and security settings will now be displayed. Scroll down until you locate the Data Download section and click on the Request Download link.
  7. Enter the email address where you want your download link sent to and click Next.
  8. You will now be prompted for your Instagram password. Enter it and click the Request Download button.
  9. Please note that it may take up to 48 hours to receive the link, which will allow you to download all of your photos, comments, profile details, search history, contacts, messages, likes and other user-specific information.

Via Android or iOS App

instagram download data app
Screenshot from iOS
  1. Launch the Instagram app and log in if necessary.
  2. Tap the Profile icon, located in the lower right-hand corner of the screen and represented by a head and torso.
  3. Select the gear icon, found to the right of the Edit Profile button.
  4. Instagram's Options interface should now be displayed. Scroll down and select the Data Download option, located in the Privacy and Security section.
  5. Enter the email address where you want your download link sent to and tap the Request Download button.
  6. Please note that it may take up to 48 hours to receive the link, which will allow you to download all of your photos, comments, profile details, search history, contacts, messages, likes and other user-specific information.

What to Do When Your Data Download is Ready

You will receive an email notification once the download is ready, consisting of a compressed ZIP archive with all images associated with your account as well as individual JSON-formatted files containing each of the aforementioned data types. These files can be viewed with a text editor such as Notepad.

instagram downloaded data
Screenshot from Windows

Limiting the Amount of Data Instagram Keeps

If you've followed the steps above and downloaded your Instagram data set, you can see that there is a significant amount of information there – albeit nothing that you haven't explicitly provided either through your uploads, comments, settings or other actions while using the service.

The way to limit the amount of data Instagram has about you is the obvious, but less appealing, way: Share less information and connect with fewer people. Everything you do on Instagram is saved and even if something is deleted from the user-facing side of Instagram (a comment or photo), it's not a guarantee it'll be deleted from the data set associated with your profile.