How To See Old Stories on Instagram: Rewatching Content 101

Profile photo of Heidi Lang, author

Heidi Lang

Instagram 101 | May 22, 2023

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Over the years, Instagram Stories has become a crowd-favorite feature on the app. It’s a fantastic way to update your followers on your daily life without flooding the feed. With customizations like adding music to your Stories or showing multiple photos in one post, it’s an amazing tool for self-expression. But you may be wondering how to see old Stories on Instagram after they expire. Is it even possible to do it?

Because Stories expire after 24 hours, there’s less pressure to curate them. You don’t need to rack your brain looking for the best pose or stress over its placement on the post grid. After all, they won’t last forever as memorialized feed posts on your page.

The only downside to Stories is that it’s difficult to reaccess them when they expire after 24 hours. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to do it. Let’s talk about how to see old Stories on Instagram, whether yours or someone else’s.

Two friends taking a video for Instagram Stories.

How To See Old Stories on Instagram: Your Own Stories

Let’s start with the easier task—looking through your Instagram Stories. When you have active Stories up, you can click your profile icon with the magenta circle around it to view them. But after 24 hours, they expire. You can’t just click on your profile and see them.

That said, it’s incredibly easy to recover your old Instagram Stories. While no one can see your Stories on your profile after expiration, Instagram takes it upon itself to save them in case you need to recover them in the future. They do this by automatically storing and keeping your Stories safe on the Stories archive.

It’s super easy to check your archived Stories to rewatch old clips you posted in the past. Want to learn how to see old Stories on Instagram through the archive? Check out the steps below to do it. Plus, we’ve got a few extra tips to help you rewatch your Stories easily after accessing the archive.

How To See Old Stories on Instagram After 24 Hours

It’s easy to access your Stories archive on the Instagram app. As soon as the 24-hour period is up for your current Stories, you can see them in the archive. The archive is a cloud that stores all your expired Stories to ensure you always have a record of them.

Here’s how to find the archive:

1. Open the Instagram app on your device.

2. Click on your profile icon on the lower-right portion of the screen.

3. Click on the hamburger menu on the upper-right and click “Archive.” It should have a clock icon next to it.

4. On this page, you’ll see your old Stories from years back. Download it to your phone or repost it for people to see again!

You can check out every story in your archive one by one. A Calendar tab allows you to go to a specific date and check your Stories that day. And if you added a location sticker to your Stories, you can see them on the Location map tab.

Note that you’re the only person who can see your Stories archive. No one else has access to it. Other people can only view these old Stories if you reshare them on your active Stories as a “throwback” post.

If you’re wondering how to see old Stories on Instagram but can’t find your Stories archive, don’t worry. You probably have the feature turned off. Instagram keeps the feature on by default, but some people turn it off to save space on their devices. 

In your settings, make sure you’ve switched on the toggle for the “Save story to archive” button. That way, when your active Stories expire, they go to the archive instantly.

Someone adding personalized text to his Instagram Stories

How To See Old Stories on Instagram Highlights

Accessing your old Stories through the archive is easy, but it still requires many steps. A quicker way to have your old Stories on display is by creating a Story Highlight for them. You will have quick access to rewatch these stories, and your followers will see them too.

A Story Highlight is a series of Stories that are “pinned” on your profile. It allows you and others to rewatch these old Stories even if they’re past the 24-hour.

That way, they become a permanent fixture on your profile until such a time that you remove them. If you’re looking for how to see old Stories on Instagram without going to the archive, Highlights are an amazing alternative.

Here’s a quick guide to creating a Story Highlight using the Stories archive.

1. Go to your Instagram profile.

2. Under the “Edit profile” button, you should see the space where your Story Highlights go. Click on the circle with a plus sign to add a new Highlight.

3. This leads you to the Stories archive. From here, select the old Instagram Stories you want to include in this specific Highlight.

4. Click “Next” and create a name for your Highlight.

5. Select the cover of your Story Highlight. Choose one of the Stories you selected or a photo from your camera roll.

6. Click “Add” to publish your Highlight on your profile. Your new Highlight should appear right under the “Edit profile” button on your page.

What’s great about creating a Story Highlight is that you can include any Story you wish. You can create a Highlight for your OOTDs, food, selfies, and other categories. If you’re a business, Highlights can show your FAQs, How to Order, sizing guides, and more.

How To See Old Stories on Instagram by Downloading Them

Highlights are a great way to keep your old Stories up for yourself and anyone else. You won’t waste your hard work customizing your Stories because you’re still letting people see and appreciate them. 

But they’re not always practical, especially if you don’t want others to keep rewatching your Stories over and over again.

Maybe you’re looking for how to see old Stories on Instagram without creating a Story Highlight. And maybe you don’t like the hassle of visiting the archive whenever you want to rewatch an old Story. Lucky for you, there’s one last resort—downloading your Stories.

If you’re not a big Instagram user, having a Highlight up or visiting the Stories archive every day is not practical. A great solution is to go through the archive just once and download your old Stories straight to your phone.

Downloading your old Stories is a smart way to safe-keep your memories if you lose access to your account. You can do that using an Instagram story downloader. That way, you’ll always have your favorite Stories to look back on straight from the camera roll. And you won’t have to worry about giving people access to your Stories from the past if you’re uncomfortable with it!

Here’s how to download your old Stories from the archive:

1. Click the hamburger menu on your profile and go to the Stories archive.

2. Select the Story you want to download and open it.

3. Click the three dots with the label “More” on the bottom-right side of the Story.

4. Click “Save photo” or “Save video.” This will automatically save the post to your camera roll for you to watch whenever you want.

How To See Someone’s Old Stories on Instagram After 24 Hours

Now for the tricky part—how to see someone’s old Stories on Instagram. Watching your own Stories is easy because of Instagram’s archive feature. However, you don’t get public access to another profile’s archive. Seeing their old Instagram Stories then becomes more difficult.

There are only two ways how to see old Stories on Instagram after a person’s posts expire. One is by chance, and the other is by sheer cleverness. Check them out and see which one you’d rather do.

The first is by watching it through their Story Highlights. When Instagram takes down their Stories after 24 hours, people can add their Stories to a Highlight. You’ll see their Story Highlights on their profile under their bio and the “Follow” button.

Of course, this is always a game of chance since not everyone posts Highlights. All you can do is cross your fingers to be able to see the old Stories again.

An example of an Instagram profile without Story Highlights.

Do you want to know how to see old Stories on Instagram by watching someone’s Highlights? Follow these easy steps:

1. Go to the profile of the person whose old stories you want to see.

2. Check if they have Story Highlights available for viewing. Highlights should sit right below the “Follow” button.

3. Click on the Highlight you want to view to watch their old Stories again.

Your second option requires you to be more forward-thinking. If you see someone else’s active Stories and know you’ll want to rewatch them later, take a screenshot. You can also safely take a screen recording of Story videos. This gives you a copy of that Story that you can look at repeatedly in your camera roll.

How To View Old Instagram Stories Without Them Knowing

It can be embarrassing to have someone find out that you’re lurking in their Instagram profile and Stories. So, you may be trying to find out how to view old Instagram Stories without them knowing.

Lucky for you, the two methods we mentioned above will leave zero notifications about you watching their old Stories. If you’re looking for how to see old Stories on Instagram without notifying them, it’s a piece of cake.

When you open someone else’s Story Highlight, they won’t be able to see that you watched their posts. This is because Instagram deletes the list of viewers after a Story has been up for 24 hours. 

Even if you watch their Highlights repeatedly, they will have no clue. Waiting for someone to post a Story to a Highlight can help you stay anonymous when watching their Stories.

Instagram also doesn’t send notifications when you screenshot or screen-record active Stories. That only happens when you screenshot photos and videos in direct messages. So, you’re free to save someone else’s Story on your phone without worrying about them ever finding out.

How To See Old Stories on Instagram: Enticing People To Watch Yours

Now that you know how to see old Stories on Instagram, why not work on enticing other people to watch yours? Having people come back to your profile and rewatch your old Stories means they’re interested in what you post. So, it’s important to create content that keeps them returning for more.

Of course, you’ll have to give other people access to your old Instagram Stories so they can view them. Put your favorite Stories up as Highlights for your followers to look through whenever they want.

Here are tips for posting Story Highlights to make them more enticing to rewatch:

·   Organize your Highlights into clear, specific categories. Name your Highlight something that will give your viewers an idea of what to expect when they click on it. Some examples are “Food,” “Selfies,” “OOTDs,” and more. If you have travel Stories, organize them per location. “Eurotrip” or “Beach trips” are awesome examples!

·   Create cute, attractive covers for your Story Highlights. It’s aesthetically pleasing to create cute, uniform icons for every Highlight on your profile. Make sure they have the same color palette and icon style. You can even experiment and make your highlights spell out your name!

Cute Story Highlight icons that spell out your name or current month and season

·   Repost your old Stories. When people think of how to see old Stories on Instagram, they immediately think of accessing their archive or Highlights. But an alternative that will put your old Stories back in people’s timelines is by reposting them. Reshare your old Stories in the archive with your active Story as a “throwback.” You can even leave a caption inviting viewers to watch other old Stories in your Highlights.

And That’s How To See Old Stories on Instagram!

Although active Stories aren’t designed to last forever, you’ll always have access to your archived Stories. That way, even if they’re not visible for others to see, you can still look back on them with the touch of a button.

It sucks that you won’t easily access someone’s old Instagram stories after they expire. But if you’re lucky enough, they might post it as a Story Highlight, allowing you to watch it forever. If you are a forward-thinking person, you could also take screenshots of their Stories before they expire. That way, you’ll always have a copy of their old Stories.

Now that you know how to see old Stories on Instagram, why not work even harder on your social media presence? At Path Social, we have a platform of Instagram influencers and proprietary AI to help you grow your organic reach. Build an Instagram community with followers that will love and engage with your content today!