Can People See if You Screenshot Their Photos on Instagram?

You may have heard the rumors that continue to circulate. Plus, Instagram does seem to recognize when you screenshot a photo because it prompts you to share it instead. So is it true, does Instagram tell a user when you screenshot one of their photos?

The answer to that question is a resounding no. Instagram does not share with anyone when you screenshot photos they post. It also doesn’t even share when you screenshot an Instagram story. It does however notify when you screenshot a private direct message — that’s the only time. As far as posted photos go, you’re safe.

Rumor Origins

The origins seem to have originated when people noticed the notification inside direct messages back in late 2016. Notifying of screenshots didn’t always happen, but it appeared later on in an update.

Users quickly and understandably got nervous that Instagram had started notifying of screenshots across the board. The reality is that this is only true in direct messages.

It’s also an interesting move from Instagram to take a different route from Snapchat even with stories. While Snapchat does let you know in an unobtrusive way if someone screenshots your story, Instagram does not at all. That’s essentially because as long as your profile is public, so is your story. The only exception is if you manually go in and change these settings.

Instagram does not share with anyone when you screenshot photos they post.

Snapchat, on the other hand, is more private by default.

It’s also a bit unnerving the first time you see a notification pop up when you screenshot a photo. This also fueled speculation, but Instagram has since changed the notification. At first it just let you know you took a screenshot, but now kindly suggests you share the photo instead using traditional methods.

Screenshot Alternatives

If you’re not comfortable taking screenshots of anything in Instagram, you can opt to share a photo instead. There are two methods of doing this.

Above a photo or video you want to share, tap the ellipsis (three dots) toward the right. If the post is public, you get options to share on Facebook, Messenger, or Twitter. You can also Copy Share URL to share a link to the photo through any medium you choose. (Content on private accounts don’t show these options.)

If you’re trying to send a photo to someone already on Instagram, the easiest method is to just direct message them. Tap the Share icon (paper airplane) underneath the photo or video and choose the user or users to send it to. Choosing multiple people creates a group message.

You can also save a post for later in a personal collection by tapping the Bookmark icon over on the right. You can access your entire collection of saved posts by tapping the Profile tab then the Bookmark icon again toward the top. This list is private — accessible to you only — and users don’t know when you bookmark their photos.

The bottom line is this: Instagram does not send notifications for taking screenshots of posts. Still, an easier method is to just bookmark or share posts according to the instructions outlined.

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