How to save Instagram photos on Mac

4 min read

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has quickly become the most influential social media platform. Its visual nature, mainly photos and videos, are attractive and easy to consume. The addition of Stories, a feature first introduced by Snapchat, in 2016 further accelerated the collective Instagram addiction by playing on time sensitivity (Stories disappear after 24 hours). 

So, overall, Instagram is taking over. Right now it’s the best place to keep up with friends, follow celebrities, express your creativity, and get inspired by what others are doing. However, if you stumble upon some visuals you like and want to bookmark or download Instagram pictures for later reference, you’ll find that it’s not easy to do, since all Instagram files are DRM-protected. 

But there are some workarounds that can show you how to download instagram photos on your iPhone and Mac. On iPhone, for example, you could take screenshots and then crop them to only show the actual photo. Then, you might wonder, how to download pictures from Instagram for Mac? 

How to download Instagram photos to Mac

Because Instagram is so dominant today and we post so much (more than 100 million photos every day), for a lot of us, it’s the most complete photo collection of our lives that we have. So let’s first explore how the built-it Instagram photo downloader works to be able to retrieve our own images.

To activate Instagram downloader:

  1. Go to the Instagram website on your Mac
  2. Click on your profile ➙ Settings
  3. Navigate to the Privacy and Security tab
  4. Select Request Download in the Data Download section
  5. Type in your email to receive a link to the archive ➙ Next
  6. Enter your password ➙ Request Download

download photo from Instagram to MacWhile it might take up to two days to process your request (although unlikely), Instagram will then email you a package with all your photos, comments, profile information, and more. That’s one way of getting your photos back in full resolution. But what if you only need to get that one photo real quick or something from a profile you’re following?

How to save Instagram photos via source code

The beauty of the open web is that with little technical assistance you can read the source code of any website and get any files you want when you know where to look. 

To manually work around the Instagram picture downloader:

  1. Right-click on the photo you like and select to View Page Source or Inspect Element, depending on the browser you’re using

  2. Navigate to the Sources tab

  3. Find the Images folder

  4. Scroll through all the elements and, when you find the photo you’re looking for, literally drag it to your Desktop to save it

download Instagram source codeThis way, not only can you download Instagram photos, you can also save photos from nearly any website on the web. 

How to bookmark images on Instagram

If all you want is save Instagram photos so you can simply reference them later, the easiest way to do that is using Instagram’s native bookmarking functionality, which lets you save any video or image, and even organize them into custom collections (on mobile only).

To save Instagram photos and videos to collections: 

  1. Open the photo or video you like

  2. Click the bookmarking icon to save it

  3. See all the saved items when you click on your profile ➙ Saved

saved Instagram collection Mac

When you bookmark an image on iOS or Android, you get to also tap Save to Collection and create a new folder or choose an existing one.

How to edit and upload Instagram photos in bulk

After you use the Instagram image downloader to get all your photos from the platform, you might want to rename or resize the files for your local library. Doing it one file at a time would be a complete waste of time. Is there a more automated solution available? 

PhotoBulk is a workflow-based image editor that lets you modify dozens or even hundreds of images at once. Apply watermarks, get rid of any metadata, resize, rename, optimize, and even change formats — all with a single click of a button. To edit, simply drag and drop your images into PhotoBulk, add the appropriate functions, and click Start.

PhotoBulk edit photo Mac

You can even use PhotoBulk to create a uniform Instagram profile, where all the pictures are of the same size, don’t have metadata, and feature watermarks to protect your intellectual property.

How to save Instagram Stories offline

While we know how to use the Instagram post downloader to get the images and videos you like from your feed, what do you do when you want to save a few Instagram Stories?

It’s easy to download Instagram pictures from your own Stories: just click the three dots to call up a menu and then choose “Save photo.” Downloading someone else’s Stories is trickier. On your iPhone, you could take a screenshot and then crop it to only show the photo. On your Mac, your best bet is to use a high-quality screen-recording app.

CleanShot X is an almost invisible but powerful screenshot taker. Most of the time, the app stays out of the way in your menu bar, always easily accessible. Just click its icon (or set a specific shortcut in Preferences) and choose which way you want to record your screen, from a simple screenshot to a scrolling capture to a timed shot. You can even hide Desktop icons, annotate, and blur sensitive information in seconds.

CleanShot X screen recording Mac

Capto is the best choice when you need to record video Instagram Stories and edit them using the same tools. The app lets you choose a portion of the screen or a particular app window to record (using a handy menu bar utility), and crop the result right away using built-in features. After that, you can seamlessly share the video online or save it to your local library. 

Capto record screen video Instagram Mac

As you can see, there are quite a few techniques to approach the how to download pictures from Instagram problem. You can use CleanShot X for photos, Capto for videos, and edit a few at a time with PhotoBulk. These tools really offer you the best Instagram workflow on Mac. 

Best of all, PhotoBulk, CleanShot X, and Capto are available to you absolutely free for seven days via Setapp, a platform with more than 220 outstanding Mac and iPhone apps for practically anything you want help with during your day. 

250+ apps for $9.99
per month

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.