Can Someone See if You View Their Instagram Story?

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Feb 27, 2024

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According to Social Media Today, half a billion users use Instagram Stories every day, whether they post or view them. It’s so common and natural for people to sift through other users’ Stories. Sometimes, we forget whether these people know we’re constantly watching their content. But can someone see if you view their Instagram Story in the first place?

There are many reasons to get anxious about whether someone finds out that you’ve been opening their Stories. Maybe you don’t want them to think you’re keeping tabs on them or accidentally opened an ex’s Stories without realizing it. Will they see that you watched their content? And do people get notified about story views? Who can view an IG Story anyway? We’ll cover all that and more in this guide. Read on to discover the answers to these questions!

A woman covering her mouth and making a shocked face while watching something on her phone.

Who Can See My Instagram Story?

Are you wondering, “Who can see my Instagram Story every time I post?” Well, the answer isn’t so straightforward. Who sees your Story content depends on your unique privacy settings.

For example, your Story can be viewed by anyone on Instagram if your profile is public. Your followers will see your posts on the row of Stories at the top of their feed. Meanwhile, non-followers can watch them when they visit your profile or stumble upon your Stories because of hashtags and geotags.

But if your page is in private mode, only your followers will be able to see your stories. You’ll have to accept people requesting to follow your page to grant them access to your Story posts.

There are also some kinds of Stories with customized audiences that you pick. For example, you can post some Stories only for your Close Friends list. This is a list of people you consider to be the innermost circle that you trust with more personal content. Before publishing your Story posts, the app will always give you the chance to post it only for Close Friends. This feature is perfect for those silly, candid, and emotional Stories that are on the more confidential side.

You can also choose to hide your Story posts from specific users. These people won’t see your Stories, regardless of your privacy settings. You can manage who you hide your Stories from in your Account Settings. You can also do this from your current Stories. Just open the viewer list, tap the three dots next to someone’s username, and click “Hide your story.” Easy peasy!

A group of three girls smiling and watching on a phone.

Can Someone See if You View Their Instagram Story?

As we covered above, anyone can see who views their Stories. The list of people who can see these posts just depends on a user’s privacy settings. So yes, the straightforward answer is that people do see whether you’ve viewed their Story.

All someone has to do to see who viewed their content is swiped up on one of their current Stories. Instagram will then show them a full list of viewers of that specific Story post.

Of course, a user will never know that you watched their Story if you use an anonymous Story viewer. This is a terrific workaround if you want to view someone’s Story without them knowing. These third-party tools allow you to discreetly watch Story content without ending up on the poster’s viewer list.

There has been quite some debate about how Story viewers are sorted and arranged on the list. The consensus is that if you have less than 50 viewers, the handles are arranged chronologically. The latest person to view your Story goes to the top of the list. Meanwhile, the first viewers remain at the bottom.

But once that viewer count goes above 50, the algorithm arranges viewers according to how much they interact with you. Accounts you message and engage with a lot might go on the top of the list. Meanwhile, users you don’t interact with or follow might end up at the bottom.

Note that the only person who can see who has viewed a Story is the person who posted it. To protect the privacy of the poster and its audience, Instagram never publicly makes the list of viewers available.

Does Instagram Notify When You View a Story?

There’s nothing quite as anxiety-inducing as stalking someone on Instagram and then accidentally viewing their Story. Perhaps you were checking in on an old frenemy or ex or doing an audit on a business competitor. Whatever your reasons for secret profile visits, it’s super embarrassing and awkward to view someone’s Story unintentionally.

If you’re in a situation like this, you might be anxiously Googling, “Does Instagram notify you when you view a Story?”

Keep calm. Instagram doesn’t send push notifications when someone views their Stories. Some accounts garner hundreds or even thousands of Story views. Getting notifications for all of these views isn’t just annoying—it’s unnecessary, too. So, it’s a feature that doesn’t exist on the platform.

Generally, Instagram only sends out Story-related notifications for Story replies, emoji reactions, content reposts, and posts that mention you. No one ever gets notifications for something as simple and mundane as views.

You can consider yourself off the hook if you don’t want anyone to be alerted that you’ve opened their Story. That said, remember that the poster will always be able to look through their list of viewers for current Stories. So, if they sit and manually scroll through their viewer list, they may be able to pinpoint you. Our advice? Just be careful whose Stories you open and view.

An iPhone home screen with numerous apps with notifications, including Instagram.

Can You Search Who Viewed Your Instagram Story?

Let’s say you have over 500 views on your current Stories. Although this number is awesome for engagement, you want to see if one specific person has viewed them. Scrolling through your viewer list to see if that person has opened your post already sounds like such a pain. So, can you search who viewed your Instagram Story from your total list of viewers?

Although this feature sounds super convenient, it’s sadly non-existent on the app as of writing. Instagram has no built-in search bar on Story viewer lists. The app shows you a comprehensive list of people who have viewed your post. However, it doesn’t allow you a way to search for names.

If you’re trying to see if someone in particular opened your Story, scrolling through the list is your only choice. Sure, it’s a huge hassle, but it’s the only way to get the job done.

Fingers crossed, Instagram will add a search feature for future Stories soon! It sure will make life way easier for a lot of us to keep tabs on views from specific accounts. 

How Long Can You See Who Viewed Your Instagram Story?

Stories have a shelf life of 24 hours. After a full day, your Story posts “expire” and are preserved only in the Instagram archive. Since these posts are up for such a short period, how long can you see who viewed your Instagram Story?

Your viewer list is available for the same amount of time as your current Stories. That means that once your posts expire after the 24-hour mark, you won’t be able to see your viewers anymore. So, make sure to check on who has viewed your Stories right before they expire. You might not get the chance to do so later on!

Instagram doesn’t keep viewer lists available once Stories have expired because of the fleeting, “in-the-moment” nature of these posts. It reinforces the idea that Stories are temporary and should be a more laidback channel on the platform. Plus, it also helps protect the privacy of people viewing Stories.

That said, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Remember when we mentioned that Instagram safely stores your Stories in the archive after they expire? You can still check them out there if you want to look back on your Story posts. You won’t be able to see your full viewer list anymore. However, you will still have access to the list of people who reacted to the Story.

When you swipe up on an old Story from your archive or Highlights, you’ll see those who reacted to it. You’ll see a list of their usernames with a tiny emoji underneath their profile picture. These emojis correspond to the emoji they used to react to the post when it was live. So, expect to see viewer names with tiny hearts, laughing faces and fire emojis on previous Stories.

A pink and white alarm clock on a hot pink surface.

If I Look at Someone’s Instagram Story Multiple Times, Will They Know?

If you see someone post an interesting Story, you might rewatch it over and over again. Maybe you’ll tap back a couple of times when the Story moves to the next post. Or maybe you’ll visit their profile again and again to view the post while it’s still up. And maybe there’s a tiny part of you wondering, “If I look at someone’s Instagram Story multiple times, will they know?”

Much like viewing a Story the first time, Instagram doesn’t send notifications when you view a person’s Stories repetitively. The list of viewers won’t show the number of times each user has seen the Story. All the poster will see is a list of usernames with no other details.

If you view a Story once or a hundred times, your name will appear the same way on viewer lists. That means you can watch someone’s Story content again and again without worrying about the awkwardness of them finding out. Phew! 

Instagram Isn’t Showing Who Viewed My Story: Common Reasons and Solutions

Now that we’ve answered all the technical questions about seeing Story viewers, it’s time to address other issues. A common problem among users is that sometimes, the app doesn’t show an accurate list of viewers for current Stories.

You might be wondering, “Instagram isn’t showing who viewed my Story—what gives?” And well, there is a myriad of possible reasons why the list isn’t appearing on your app.

The first reason why you can’t see your Story viewers might be because of an unstable internet connection. Check to see if your WiFi is working well, and refresh your app to see if your list shows up.

Faulty internet can also lead to confusion about whether you’ve published your Story or not. Picture this—you upload a Story post and immediately leave your phone after hitting “Post.” Perhaps you didn’t realize that a slow or unstable internet connection caused your post to get stuck in the uploading process.

Then, when you open your app after the connection gets better, your Story finally gets posted successfully. But when you look at your viewer list, you see no viewers. It might look like no one has seen your post after it’s been live for so long. But in reality, the list has no one on it because the post has just been uploaded to your profile.

You might also not see an updated list of Story viewers because of glitches on the Instagram app. This can happen when your app has been running for far too long or if you’re using an old version. Make sure to reboot your app session every few hours or days. Double-check that you’re using the latest version of Instagram as well to avoid running into this glitch. 

Get More Views on Your Own Stories and Other IG Content With Path Social!

Instagram provides each user with a list of people who viewed their Story posts. They don’t send notifications, but if someone wishes to see their Story viewers, it’s easily accessible via the app. That way, you know every person who has taken a peek at your current Stories.

So, can someone see if you view their Instagram Story? Yes, they can. But don’t be too self-conscious about it. Remember, millions of people view IG Stories daily! It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Instead of stressing over whether someone knows you watched their Story, focus on getting more views on yours instead! At Path Social, we help boost your content’s visibility by organically promoting your page to your niche target audience. As a result, you get an increase not just in views and post interactions but real followers who enjoy your content. Grow your page with our help today!