What causes the most social media-related nightmares? Here are a few possible answers: Accidentally liking your ex's new girlfriend's photo; sending a DM about your boss to your boss, instead of your commiserating co-worker; or taking a screenshot of something on Instagram without realizing the person who posted it will get a notification.
In addition to causing personal angst, that last instance is the source of much online debate, and for good reason: Over time, Instagram has conducted various screenshot notification tests, making it hard to keep track of when you will and won't get caught taking a screenshot. Or maybe you're on the other side of the equation, and you're worried about your photos being screenshot without the app notifying you. To put the record straight, we've put together a useful guide.
Ahead, a look at exactly when and where screenshots will result in notifications on Instagram.
Stories Are Safe — For Now
In February, Instagram raised alarms when it started issuing a notification to users who took screenshots of Stories. This end to "freedom" as one saddened user put it, was part of a test. It isn't unusual: Instagram regularly conducts tests for new features, some of which will end up becoming permanent parts of the app and many more that simply end.
For the time being, you can rest easy: "We are pausing this test as we continue to iterate and understand what will provide the best Instagram experience for our community," an Instagram spokesperson told Refinery29. This isn't to say there will never be screenshot notifications for Stories, just none right now.
There Are Some Screenshot Notifications
There is currently only one place on Instagram that can land you in screenshot hot water: Direct messages. Whenever you screenshot a disappearing photo or video, the person who sent the image will get a notification letting them know you have done so. Within Direct, there will also be a small, circular icon to the right of image, indicating a screenshot was taken.
The notification is a welcome level of transparency — if you're sending something private, that you think will disappear into the Instagram ether, you probably want to know if the person on the receiving end is keeping a copy.
You Can Trick The System
If you really want to go to elaborate lengths to screenshot a Direct message without the sender finding out, there is one way to evade detection. After receiving an image, turn on airplane mode, and open and screenshot message. Then, close Instagram completely and turn off airplane mode.
However, always think about the implications first. If you do plan on sharing your screenshot more publicly, run it by the sender beforehand to make sure they're comfortable with a wider audience viewing it.