How to Save Instagram Reels to Your Camera Roll: The Complete Guide

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Hey there! Have you ever come across an Instagram Reel that you just need to save and keep forever? Maybe it‘s your own hilarious Reel that you want to reuse, or someone else‘s viral video that you can‘t stop watching.

I‘ve definitely been there many times. As a huge Instagram user myself, I love curating collections of my favorite Reels to rewatch anytime I need a good laugh.

But unlike saving Instagram photos, downloading Reels to your camera roll takes a few extra steps. In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly how to save both your own and other people‘s public Instagram Reels.

By the end, you‘ll be a pro at building your very own Reels library!

Let‘s get started…

Can You Actually Download Instagram Reels?

The short answer is: it depends.

Instagram places certain limitations around saving Reels to prevent content from being reused without permission. But some workarounds make downloading possible.

Here‘s a quick overview of what you can and can‘t download:

Your own Reels – You can save any Reel you posted yourself rather easily. It will have a small watermark.

Someone else‘s public Reel – No direct "Save" option, but you can use screen recording or third-party apps to download.

Private Reels – Cannot be downloaded as they are intended just for the recipients.

So while you can‘t directly save just any Reel you find, you still have options to build an amazing Reels library with a little effort.

I‘ll explain how to download both your own and other people‘s public Reels in detail next…

Saving Your Own Instagram Reels – Step-by-Step

The good news is Instagram makes it super easy to save your own posted Reels.

As the creator of the content, you have full rights to download your Reels. Here‘s exactly how:

1. Open Your Reels Tab in the App

Launch the Instagram app and swipe right on your main feed to open the Reels tab. This shows you all of your own Reels as well as ones from people you follow.

2. Tap on the Reel You Want to Download

Browse through your Reels and tap on the specific one you want to save to your camera roll. This will open the Reel in full screen mode.

Instagram Reels Tab

Tap into your own Reels to save them

3. Tap the Three Dot Menu in the Corner

When your Reel is open, tap on the three dot menu icon in the bottom right corner.

4. Select "Save to Camera Roll"

A dropdown menu will open. Tap on the "Save to Camera Roll" option to download your Reel.

Save to Camera Roll option

Use the Save to Camera Roll option

5. Find It in Your Camera Roll!

Give your phone a moment to save the Reel, then open your Photos app. Your downloaded Reel will be there alongside all your other photos and videos!

It will have a small watermark icon on the bottom showing it‘s from Instagram. This is their way of tracking content shared from the app.

And that‘s all it takes to download your own Reels you‘ve posted. With just a few taps, you can build up a collection of all your best and favorite Reels. Pretty easy right?

Next I‘ll explain how to save Reels that other people have posted publicly…

How to Download Someone Else‘s Public Instagram Reel

Saving public Reels posted by other Instagram users takes a few more steps since there‘s no direct "Save" option.

But with screen recording or a third-party app, you can download any Reel someone has publicly shared on their Instagram profile.

Method 1: Screen Record the Reel

Your simplest option is to screen record the Reel while it‘s playing. Both iPhones and Android devices have built-in screen recording capabilities.

Here‘s how to use screen recording:

On an iPhone

  1. Open the Reel you want to save in the Instagram app.

  2. Swipe down from the top right to open Control Center.

  3. Tap the Screen Recording icon (looks like a circle inside a circle).

  4. Tap the red Record button to start capturing your screen.

  5. Let the Reel play through completely while recording.

  6. Tap Stop when it‘s over. You‘ll find the screen recording in your camera roll!

On an Android Phone

  1. Open the Reel in Instagram you want to download.

  2. Swipe down your notification panel and tap Screen Recorder.

  3. Allow the necessary permissions it requests.

  4. Tap Start to begin recording your screen.

  5. Play the Reel you want to save and let it record.

  6. Tap Stop to end the recording when the Reel finishes.

  7. Find the recording in your Gallery or Photos app.

The only potential downside is slightly lower video quality, but it works great in a pinch!

Method 2: Use a Third-Party Download App

Another option is using a third-party app designed to download videos from Instagram and other social platforms. Some top choices include:

  • InSaver (iOS)
  • Reel Downloader (Android)
  • 4K Stogram (iOS and Android)

The process involves:

  1. Copying the link to the Instagram Reel post.

  2. Pasting that link in the third-party downloader app.

  3. Having the app pull the Reel video file from the link.

  4. Saving the Reel MP4 directly into your camera roll!

Be cautious and only use trustworthy apps to avoid malware. Also know Instagram does not authorize these apps officially.

Can You Download Private Instagram Reels?

If someone sends you a Reel directly through Instagram DM or you see a Reel from a private account you follow, you won‘t be able to download it.

Private Reels are intended just for the eyes of the intended recipients. The only potential workaround is to screen record privately-shared Reels, but only do so with express permission from the Reel creator.

In general, it‘s best not to download any private or restricted content off Instagram without authorization.

Where Do Your Saved Instagram Reels Go?

Once you successfully save a Reel, where can you actually find it?

Instagram will download Reels directly into your main camera roll alongside your other photos and videos.

Here‘s exactly where to access your saved Reels on iPhone and Android:

On an iPhone

Your downloaded Reels will be in the Photos app mixed with all your other camera roll content. To quickly find just your Reels:

  1. Open Photos and tap Albums.

  2. Scroll down and tap Media Types.

  3. Choose Videos to see your collection of saved Reels.

You can also just search "Reels" to surface them all.

iPhone Photos app

Saved Reels in your Photos app on iPhone

On an Android Device

On Android phones, open your Gallery or Photos app, then:

  1. Tap Menu » Albums to see photo/video albums.

  2. Look for a Videos or Reels folder where your downloaded Reels are kept.

You can also search for "Reels" to pull them up. They will be mixed with your other videos.

Android photo gallery

Finding Reels in your Android gallery

Once in your camera roll, Reels act just like any other video file. You can watch them, edit them, text them to friends, etc.

Next I‘ll give some pro tips for managing your downloaded Reels…

Expert Tips for Managing Your Reels Collection

As your Instagram Reels camera roll collection grows, here are some helpful ways to stay organized:

  • Use albums/folders to categorize Reels into topics like Food, Fitness, Travel, DIY projects etc.

  • Consider apps like Albums or PhotoPrism to organize your entire photo library.

  • Trim off any excess footage from your screen recorded Reels before saving them.

  • Clear out saved Reels regularly that you no longer need to avoid eating up storage.

  • Enable microphone audio when screen recording on iPhone to capture audio.

  • Check that Instagram has photo gallery access permissions on your device and updated app.

  • Back up your Reels to cloud storage like Google Photos in case they get deleted from your phone.

Putting in the small effort to stay tidy will pay off big time when you want to find that perfect funny Reel later!

Why You Should Download Your Favorite Instagram Reels

Wondering why saving Reels is worth the extra steps? There are lots of great reasons to curate a collection of your favorite Reels:

1. Rewatch Them Anytime, Even Offline

Having Reels saved right on your device lets you rewatch them anytime without needing an internet connection and data. It‘s like your own personal Reels channel!

2. Easily Share Them with Friends & Family

You can send saved Reels to friends and family via text, messaging apps, social posts, and more.

3. Use them for Content Creation & Projects

Whether it‘s a cooking demo, travel destination, or music clip, you can reuse parts of Reels for your own content and projects with credit of course!

4. Mix & Remix Them into New Reels

Why not put your own spin by mixing videos from your saved Reels into brand new Reel creations? Get creative!

5. Avoid Losing Access if They Get Deleted

If the original user deletes their viral Reel from Instagram, you‘ll still have your downloaded copy!

6. Save Reels from Accounts You Don‘t Follow

You can download Reels you find across Instagram without having to follow the poster or clutter your main feed.

7. Conserve Mobile Data When Re-Watching

Rather than burning through your monthly data replaying Reels, use your saved offline copies.

So while downloading Reels takes a couple extra taps, it opens up a whole world of possibilities to re-engage with the content!

Troubleshooting Problems Saving Instagram Reels

In rare cases, you may run into trouble trying to download Reels to your camera roll. Here are some troubleshooting tips if that happens:

  • Make sure the Instagram app is updated to the latest version in your device‘s app store.

  • Check that Instagram has access permissions to your phone‘s storage in Settings. Grant any permission pop-ups.

  • If screen recording, verify that both Microphone and System Audio are enabled to capture sound.

  • Test using both the Instagram mobile app and Instagram website on a desktop computer.

  • For third-party apps, make sure you are properly copying and pasting the complete Reel URL to download.

  • Close and restart the Instagram app if it‘s acting buggy. Force quit out of it if needed.

  • Check your available device storage space. You may need to delete files to free up room for saving Reels.

  • As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall Instagram to reset any problematic settings.

With some dedicated troubleshooting, any Reel download issues can usually be resolved quickly! Reach out to me if you‘re still stuck.

Your Top Instagram Reels FAQs – Answered

I know you probably still have some burning questions about saving your favorite Instagram Reels. So I‘ve put together answers to the most common Reel downloading FAQs:

Can you save Reels on a computer?

Unfortunately no – there is no option to download Reels from the Instagram website on a desktop. You need to use the Instagram mobile app on a phone or tablet to save Reels.

Do my downloaded Reels keep their original audio?

Yes, any Reels saved via the official Instagram "Save to Camera Roll" option will have all their audio intact. Screen recordings only capture audio if microphone permissions were enabled.

Is it possible to download private Instagram Reels sent to me?

You cannot directly save any private Reels that were sent to you via DM or shared from a private account. Your only option is to screen record private Reels while viewing them (with the sharer‘s permission).

Can I re-post my downloaded Reels to other social platforms?

Absolutely! Once you‘ve downloaded your own Reels or public Reels from someone else, you‘re free to cross-post them anywhere outside of Instagram. Just be sure to give proper credit to the original Reel creator.

Do saved Reels take up storage space on my phone?

Yes – any Reels you download will use up storage space in your camera roll like regular photos and videos. Make sure you have enough space and clear out Reels you no longer need.

I hope these answers cleared up some of the most frequent questions around getting Reels into your camera roll! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Let‘s Get Downloading!

Phew, we covered a lot of ground on the ins and outs of saving Instagram Reels to your mobile device!

While it takes a few more steps than downloading photos, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for reusing and enjoying Reels content long after you see it.

So now that you know exactly how to download your own Reels, snag viral hits through screen recording or third-party apps, and manage your Reels library, it‘s time to start creating your collection!

Hopefully you‘re walking away from this guide feeling like a Reel downloading expert. But feel free to reach out if any questions pop up along the way.

Happy saving!


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.