Lost one, a few, or all of the Instagram pictures? This can be devastating, especially if it comes all of a sudden, the photos seem to be gone for good, and you have no copies. The situation becomes worse if you didn’t delete them. We are referring to events when trolls or bots report your Instagram account or when your Instagram gets hacked, and the perpetrator erases them. We’re happy to tell you there are a few ways out, and even a pretty straightforward one thanks to Instagram itself. Also, in method 2, we’ll demonstrate a way to safeguard your Instagram photos from being permanently erased if method 1 fails.
4 methods to recover Instagram photos
Instagram photos can be recovered given that certain conditions are met. Whether you will be able to recover them or not will depend on the situation. These are the 4 methods you can try to recover lost Instagram photos –
1. Use the Recently Deleted feature to recover Instagram photos
After repeated encounters with lost data, Instagram decided to introduce a new feature on February 2, 2021. It was named Recently Deleted and allows you to restore images, videos, reels, and IGTV pictures and videos for up to 30 days. Deleted stories will remain in the folder for up to 24 hours. Follow these steps to recover Instagram photos from the Recently Deleted folder:
- Tap on your profile picture in the bottom-right menu.
- In the top right corner, tap on the three-line menu (“hamburger” icon).
- Select Settings.
- Tap on Account.
- Tap on Recently Deleted.
- Long-press on the picture until you see a Restore Post/Story/Video window pop-up.
- Tap on Restore.
2. Use the Archive to recover Instagram photos
If you couldn’t find the photo in the Recently Deleted folder, go back to the time you deleted it. Remember whether you chose Archive or Delete when you tapped on the three-dot menu in the top right corner. If it’s the former, Archive will serve as temporary storage for pictures you don’t want to keep on your smartphone. It can also serve as a handy backup feature that requires no additional apps. This means you can get Instagram photos back via Archive like this:
- Tap on the Profile icon in the bottom-right menu.
- In the top right corner, tap the three-line menu.
- Select Archive.
- Under Posts Archive (Android) or Posts (iOS), long-press on the image you want to get back.
- Select Show on profile and it will be restored.
What about Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories can be found in the Archive by tapping on Posts Archive/Posts and switching to Stories Archive (Android)/Stories (iOS) from the drop-down menu. However, for this to work, you must have done this to enable Story Archives in the past:
- Tap on the Profile icon.
- Tap the “hamburger” menu in the top right corner.
- Select Settings.
- Go to Privacy, then Story.
- Toggle to switch next to Save to Archive to on.
3. Check your Google Photos or Photos for iOS apps
If you didn’t take precautions, don’t fret. The photos from Instagram might have been saved regardless.
For Android smartphones, the Instagram photo could be recovered from Google Drive through the Google Photos app for up to 60 days. Follow the instructions under the headline How to restore deleted images from Google Drive backup.
For the default Photos app on iOS, Apple’s iCloud service stores a backup of images for 30 days in the cloud. Follow these steps to access deleted photos from Instagram via Photos for iOS:
- Open the Photos app, then tap on the Photos tab.
- Tap on Albums in the top right corner.
- Scroll down and tap on Other Albums.
- Tap on the Recently Deleted album below.
- Long-press on the photo(s), then select Restore.
4. Using data recovery software to recover photos on Instagram
You can use third-party data recovery apps as a last resort when all 3 methods above fail. They aren’t guaranteed to work, especially if a lot of time has passed. In essence, the software will scrape your smartphone storage for fragments of deleted files, photos included, and if all goes well, put them together for you to retrieve. Most importantly, data recovery software works on both Android and iOS and can be installed on Windows and Mac. Furthermore, such apps aren’t limited to data from a particular app. For that reason, feel free to follow method 4 in our guide to recover Snapchat photos to a tee.
5. Recover the entire Instagram account
If you have no access to your Instagram account, and you want to collect your photos you uploaded to Instagram, you can try recovering your entire Instagram account. There are many ways to do it. We explained the steps in our article on how to recover an Instagram account.
Is it possible to recover disappearing photos on Instagram?
Once you send a disappearing photo on Instagram, you cannot recover them. If the photo was saved on your device, you can try sending them again. As a sender, you will most probably able to view the source photo any time you want outside of Instagram. So it will not be a problem.
However, as the receiver of the disappearing photo, once you view and close the image, it will be gone forever. There are a couple of ways you can circumvent this issue –
- If you received a disappearing photo, you can save them to your Instagram drafts for editing. In that case, the photo can be viewed any time you want.
- You can also try taking a screenshot of the screen once the photo is visible. That will save the screenshot to the device forever. However, for higher quality photos, you will only get the resolution of your device screen, not the full quality.
- You can also try recovering Instagram chat and see if the photo is there.