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Can Someone Tell If You Screenshot a Story or Post in Instagram?

While Instagram Stories are meant to be temporary, users often decide they want to save 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.

TechJunkie's Fast Answer
It depends on what you screenshot
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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:

[1]

However, in 2018, Instagram announced that this feature was being eliminated. As such, people can no longer tell that you have screenshotted or screen recorded their Instagram Story.

However, there are some instances where people can see when you screenshot something on Instagram.

Can Someone See When You Screenshot Disappearing Photos On Instagram?

The answer is yes, even though Instagram has removed the ability for people to tell when you screenshot their Stories, Instagram does notify users when you screenshot disappearing photos.

These are photos that people send through direct messages on Instagram [11] for a limited time. They disappear once the recipient has viewed them. You can only set photos to disappear if you take them within direct messages by pressing the camera button. You can’t send a temporary photo from your camera roll.

There are two ways that Instagram notifies someone that you have screenshotted their photo. Neither is an actual notification; no one will receive a popup notification on their phone when you screenshot their Instagram post. These are simply little indicators that you have taken a screenshot.

The first is more subtle. After you screenshot a temporary photo on Instagram, a little starburst shape will appear next to the photo, like so:

There’s no way to get rid of this little icon, so if you screenshot someone’s photo, be prepared to live with this icon forever.

The second way is less subtle, though there is a way to bypass it. When you screenshot someone’s disappearing photo on Instagram, they will see this message in their list of direct messages:

Someone may not know what the starburst symbol represents, but it’s safe to assume that everyone will immediately know what this bit of text means.

If you want to screenshot someone’s photo without them seeing this little message, you can get rid of it by sending them another message immediately after you take the screenshot. The word Screenshot that you see above will be replaced by Sent you a message. They will still be able to see the starburst icon, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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:

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 (an app that 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.

How to Avoid Screenshot Detection

There are several methods you can use to avoid screenshot detection on Instagram.

If Instagram ever decides to reintroduce the screenshot detection feature, you can use any of the solutions outlined below to bypass it.

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:

Android:

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen using two fingers.
  2. Locate the airplane mode icon.
  3. Tap it to activate airplane mode.
  4. Take a screenshot of your desired photo

iPhone:

  1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen on iPhone 8 and older (Touch ID) or down from the top right of your screen on iPhone X and newer (Face ID).
  2. Locate the airplane mode icon.
  3. Tap it to activate airplane mode.
  4. Take a screenshot of your desired photo

When you’re ready to continue browsing, repeat 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 “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:

  1. First, download the IG Stories for Instagram [12] extension for your browser. [13]
  2. 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. [14]

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 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 a post. 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

If you use Instagram a lot (or want to), then you should definitely check out our library of helpful Instagram articles and tutorials.