Does Instagram Notify When You Screenshot a Highlight? – Top10SM

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As an avid Instagrammer and social media geek, I often wondered – does Instagram notify someone when you screenshot their highlights? I‘ve taken some sneaky highlight screenshots in my day, but always questioned if they received a notification.

Well after some deep investigative research (translation: excessive Instagram stalking), I‘m here to provide the definitive answer on Instagram‘s screenshot notifications for highlights, stories, posts, and more.

Here‘s the tea sis:

Instagram does NOT notify someone when you screenshot their highlights, stories, or posts. The only screenshot notifications you‘ll get are for disappearing photos and videos sent directly through Instagram‘s DM feature. Screenshot to your heart‘s content!

Now let me walk you through the receipts…

An Investigative Look at Instagram‘s History of Screenshot Notifications

Since launching in 2010, Instagram‘s notification policies have gone through many changes. Early on, no screenshot notifications existed at all.

Then in 2018, Instagram briefly tested out screenshot notifications for stories and highlights. But the controversial feature was removed just months later due to user backlash.

Let‘s discuss Instagram‘s on-again, off-again history with screenshot notifications:

No Notifications Pre-2018

Prior to 2018, Instagram never sent users any screenshot notifications. If someone took a screenshot of your photo, story, highlight, or DM, you had no way of knowing.

As a fresh-faced Instagrammer in the early 2010s, I took advantage of this notification-free loophole. My friends and I freely screenshotted each other‘s pics #NoShame.

Testing Notifications for Stories and Highlights (Early 2018)

In early 2018, Instagram shocked users by starting tests for screenshot notifications on stories and highlights.

The feature was inspired by Snapchat‘s long-standing screenshot notifications, which help expose "stalkers" who screenshot privately shared content.

Here‘s how Instagram‘s short-lived screenshot notifications worked during testing:

Stories Notifications

If someone took a screenshot of your story, you‘d receive a notification indicating who screenshotted it. But the feature wasn‘t rolled out to all users.

Highlight Notifications

For highlights less than 24 hours old, a screenshot notification was sent to the user who created the highlight. No notification was sent for older highlights.

Needless to say, these features caused mass panic and paranoia among Instagrammers. No one wants to get "called out" for a sneaky story or highlight screenshot!

The Great Screenshot Notification Removal (June 2018)

In June 2018, just months after testing started, Instagram announced it was removing ALL screenshot notifications for stories, highlights, and DMs.

Users were thrilled to regain their screenshot freedom. But why did Instagram ditch the controversial features so quickly?

While the company never gave an official reason, strong user backlash likely caused the rapid removal. People felt screenshot notifications were:

  • An invasion of privacy
  • Unnecessary social pressure
  • Reminiscent of Snapchat (Instagram‘s big competitor)

With the screenshot notification features gone, I could finally creep to my heart‘s content once again! But would the features ever return?

The Return of DM Screenshot Notifications

Interestingly, while Instagram claimed to remove ALL screenshot notifications in June 2018, they eventually brought back notifications for disappearing messages.

If someone screenshots your disappearing photo or video sent through DMs, you will be notified.

But why bring back DM screenshot notifications and no others? Two potential reasons:

  1. Disappearing messages are intended to be more private. Notifying a screenshot breach aligns with that intent.

  2. There was less backlash to DM notifications compared to stories and highlights.

So DM screenshot notifications made a comeback, while all other notifications remained removed.

This brings us to the current Instagram screenshot rules today…

Today‘s Instagram Screenshot Notification Rules

In their current form, Instagram‘s screenshot notification policies are wonderfully simple and freeing. Here‘s what you need to know in 2022:

Screenshots Are Confidential for:

  • Highlights
  • Stories
  • Posts
  • IGTV videos
  • Reels
  • Static photos

If someone screenshots any of the above content, you will NOT receive a notification. Their screenshot is completely confidential.

The Only Notification You‘ll Get Is For:

  • Disappearing photos/videos in DMs

If you send a disappearing photo or video through DMs, and the recipient screenshots it, you‘ll be notified.

Aside from that one exception, all other screenshots remain private. Phew! No more paranoia about someone creeping your story or grid.

But if the technical notifications are gone, can you still SEE who viewed your highlights and stories? Let‘s investigate further…

Can You See Who Viewed Your Highlights and Stories?

While Instagram no longer sends screenshot notifications, you can still see who VIEWED your highlights and stories – but only for a limited time.

Highlight Views

If someone views your highlight reel within 24 hours of you posting it, their username will appear in the highlight‘s viewer list.

But after 24 hours, the highlight viewer list disappears forever. At that point, you have no idea who creeped your hot new highlight.

However, the 24 hour viewer list only applies to highlights created from NEW stories. If you repurpose an OLD archived story as a new highlight, there‘s no viewer list.

Story Views

Similarly, you can see who viewed your stories for 24 hours after posting them. Their usernames appear in the story viewer list.

But this visibility disappears after 24 hours. If someone lurks your stories late to the party, you‘ll never know.

So in summary:

  • Highlight views = Visible for 24 hours
  • Story views = Visible for 24 hours
  • Post and other content views = Never visible

Pretty simple right?

Why Instagram Ditched Screenshot Notifications

Clearly Instagram is moving away from screenshot and viewer callouts. But what motivates these decisions?

Based on Instagram‘s history, here are the likely reasons they ditched notifications:

It Conflicts With an "Authentic" Experience

Instagram wants the app experience to feel authentic, fun, and pressure-free.

Screenshot and viewer notifications promote social competition and paranoia – the opposite of Instagram‘s desired vibe.

Exposing someone for lurking your profile feels more "Big Brother" than friendly community bonding.

It Closely Resembled Snapchat

One of the biggest motivators was likely differentiation from Snapchat, Instagram‘s fiercest rival.

Snapchat pioneered screenshot notification and viewer lists. By ditching these features, Instagram establishes itself as a distinct platform.

Copying Snapchat too closely could undermine Instagram‘s credibility in the social media space.

Users Strongly Opposed the Features

And of course, the biggest reason Instagram removed notifications was user backlash.

The features triggered complaints, memes, stress, and an overall negative reaction from the Instagram community.

Once it became clear notifications did more harm than good, Instagram had no choice but to remove them for the greater good.

Takeaway: You Have Screenshot Freedom!

Today, the rules around Instagram screenshots and viewers are wonderfully simple: everything is confidential!

Screenshot sneakily. View stories anonymously. Your creeping privacy is fully protected.

But just because you CAN screenshot, does it mean you SHOULD? Let‘s talk Instagram screenshot etiquette…

Instagram Screenshot Etiquette: Should You Screenshot Responsibly?

While you technically can screenshot anything on Instagram without the user knowing, is it ethically okay?

Here are a few guidelines for being a responsible, respectful Instagram screenshotter:

Don‘t Screenshot Personal Content

Avoid taking screenshots of someone‘s more personal, intimate Instagram content to share publicly or embarrass them.

Example: Their vulnerable selfie caption or emotional life update.

Don‘t Spread Harmful Content Further

If someone posts false information, harmful speech, or dangerous conspiracy theories, taking a screenshot spreads this content further.

Rather than screenshotting, report harmful posts to keep misinformation contained.

Consider WHY You‘re Taking the Screenshot

Take a moment to reflect on your motivations. Are you screenshotting something to laugh AT someone? Or does it bring you joy or inspiration?

screenshot responsibly

Ask Permission If Unsure

When in doubt, ask the user for permission to screenshot their content. This builds trust and shows respect.

Screenshot Your Own Content!

The safest bet is to screenshot your own Instagram posts and stories to re-share or save. You automatically have permission to screenshot your own content!

By following basic ethical principles, we can take advantage of Instagram‘s notification-free screenshots respectfully.

But what if you want to control who SEES your Instagram content? Time to learn how to manage your followers.

How to Remove Followers From Your Close Friends List

Instagram‘s "Close Friends" feature lets you share story content with only a select group of people. It‘s like your inner circle VIP list!

But what if you regret adding someone to Close Friends? Can you remove followers from seeing that exclusive content?

Luckily, yes – removing Close Friends is easy! Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile page.

  2. Tap the 3 line menu in the top right corner.

  3. Select “Close Friends” from the menu.

  4. This opens your Close Friends list. Find the follower you want to remove and tap “Remove” next to their name.

  5. That user is now removed from your Close Friends list! They won‘t see any future Close Friends stories.

And just like that, your exclusive story audience is culled. No more pesky followers seeing your BFF-only content!

Pro tip: You can also add new friends to Close Friends the same way by tapping “Add” on the list screen. Keep your circle tight.

Parting Thoughts

Let‘s recap what we learned today:

  • Instagram does not notify someone when you screenshot their highlights, stories, posts, or other content (with the exception of disappearing DMs).

  • You can see who viewed your highlights and stories, but only for 24 hours. After that, it’s anonymous.

  • Feel free to screenshot respectfully on Instagram and leverage features like Close Friends. But avoid spreading harmful content further.

  • Notifications or not, always think before you screenshot! The impact we have on others matters most.

Welp, that concludes this deep dive into all things screenshots and viewers on Instagram! The next time you want to take a sneaky story screenshot, do it confidently knowing Instagram will never snitch.

Stay savvy out there, social media fam. Until next time!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.