Since Instagram’s “Archive” function first appeared in 2017, it’s gained some serious popularity.

Let’s face it. We’ve all had moments that we wished we could just sweep something under the rug on our Instagram feed.

Sometimes, you want to get rid of content, but you’re not 100% sure if you want to delete it just yet. After all, most of the posts, videos, and stories that you create for Instagram take time and effort. If you’ve put the work into making that material, it seems a shame to just delete it. That’s where the Instagram archive function comes in.

With Instagram Archive, everyone’s favourite visual social sharing site provided users with a way to create a private gallery of posts that they don’t want on their profile (yet). So, what happens when you decide that you want to pull content out of your archive?

archive Instagram posts

Here’s your guide to how to unarchive Instagram photos, stories and more in an instant.

What is Instagram Archive?

Before we get carried away with looking at how you can unarchive Instagram content, it might be worth making sure that you understand how the “Archive” function actually works.

Although Archive has been around for a couple of years ago, it’s not as flashy as some of the other features available from Instagram, like Stories or IGTV. Because of this, a lot of brands still don’t fully understand what it means to archive their posts.

Instagram Archive is your alternative to deleting your posts outright. With a couple of taps, you send the content that you’ve already created for your Instagram account into a private folder. That folder or archive is only accessible to you. The archive function is useful for a number of reasons:

  • You can archive content until you’re ready to announce something important or share new information.
  • Archive your content to create a sense of mystery for your customers.
  • You can put irrelevant content to one side for a while and get it back out again when it becomes interesting.
  • Users can put material in the archive until you decide what you want to do with it.

Instagram allows you to archive both your Instagram pictures, and your Stories. Stories that you save to the Instagram archive will be automatically stored in chronological order. You’ll also save any date stamps that you’ve included in the content too.

Within your Instagram Story archive, you can view your content, save details to your smartphone, and post parts of your stories as Highlights on your profile. Remember, highlights can really help to spruce up your Instagram profile by giving your followers another interesting piece of content to view. Your highlights are also a great feature to take advantage of if you want to share unique tips and content with your followers.

How to Archive Content on Instagram

Archiving posts on Instagram is simple enough.

Start by logging into Instagram. On your profile page, you’ll see a clock with a counter-clockwise arrow in the top of your page. That’s what you click on to go to your archive – we’ll come back to that in a minute. Search through your content until you find the material you want to archive, then click on the “…” settings option in the upper right-hand corner.

How to Archive Content on Instagram

A menu will pop up that allows you to do everything from turning off commenting, to editing your photos. You can also use this menu to select the “Archive” option:

Click on “Archive”, and Instagram will remove the post from wherever it was on your newsfeed and send it instantly to your archive. Your picture will have the same comments and description that it had when it was on your newsfeed.

Don’t worry; no-one can see your Archive folder but you.

How to Unarchive Instagram Content

Once you’ve archived posts on Instagram, you’ll also have the option to unarchive them again. To do this, you’ll need to go back to your main profile page and return to that little clock icon that we mentioned above. You should find it in the top right-hand corner of your page.

Click on the icon to visit your personal archive. You’ll be able to see a complete list of all the posts that you’ve saved so far. You can open your archive either on Instagram for PC or on the Instagram app on your smartphone.

To unarchive the posts that you’ve saved in your own private folder, go into your Post archive, or your Story archive. The two options are separated – probably to make it easier for you to track your Instagram material. If you want to learn how to unarchive Instagram Stories:

  • Click on the story that you want to recover
  • Select the “Highlight” option in the bottom left-hand corner
  • Choose the album that you want to add your story too

You can’t get the full story back on Instagram in its original format, but the archive feature ensures that you can pluck some of the best parts from your content and re-share it online. You can even create multiple highlights from a single story or download parts of your story to your smartphone.

If you’re interested in figuring out how to unarchive Instagram posts, then the process is a little different. To get started, choose the “Posts” tab in your archive and find the content that you want to bring back into your account. Notably, the content that you unarchive with Instagram will be restored back to wherever it was in your feed when it was originally archived. In other words, if you archived a post quite a while ago, then that image isn’t going to appear at the top of your newsfeed.

  • Tap the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen
  • Choose “Show on profile” and tap it
  • Confirm your request if asked

Once you’ve agreed that you want your post to show up on your profile again, it will immediately be restored back to your new feed, complete with all the comments and description details that it had before.

Making the Most of the Instagram Archive Feature

The archive function on Instagram is useful and easy to manage too. You can quickly and seamlessly remove pictures or Stories from your content feed, then add them back into your profile at a later stage if you change your mind. The Archive function is so convenient, that many brands on Instagram are already beginning to discover new, more useful ways of playing with it.

Here are just some of the ways that you might consider using the Instagram Archive option as part of your social media strategy.

1.    Use Archiving to Build Up to a Big Announcement

Brands all over the world are still figuring out how to use Instagram to their advantage. With more than a billion monthly active users to attract on the platform today, it makes sense to think about how your campaigns affect your followers. Instagram Archive gives you a new way to delight and inspire your fans on Instagram if you’re willing to get creative.

Taylor Swift drew huge amounts of attention to her Instagram feed when she wanted to generate attention for a new single “Look what you made me do”. The artist achieved all of her posts, leaving her followers completely baffled.

Taylor Swift archive

While removing your content might seem like a strange way to engage your audience at first – it had the desired effect for Tay-Tay. Swift instantly generated buzz among her fans about what she was up to, and the internet swarmed over her Instagram account. By the time she was ready to announce her new single, Taylor Swift had generated vast amounts of hype.

If you’ve got plenty of followers and an active Instagram feed, then a similar strategy could work for you if you’re planning a new release or product update.

2.    Change Your Aesthetic

Appearance is a big deal on Instagram.

Companies and brands are constantly experimenting with different aesthetics that help them to showcase their personality to their followers. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to create a new grid appearance for your Instagram strategy if you’ve got older pieces of content holding you back. If you’ve decided that it’s time to spruce up your image, then archiving some of your older, less attractive photos could be a good first start.

Archiving on Instagram ensures that you can stick to a specific pattern with your Instagram posts, and create a compelling aesthetic. You’ll be able to remove anything that might be off-brand or embarrassing by your current standards.

If you don’t like how your new aesthetic looks when you’re finished experimenting, then all you need to do is use our guide above on how to unarchive Instagram content. You can even temporarily archive specific content if you want to draw attention to a particular product or campaign for a while.

Archiving also means that if you decide that you don’t mind having a slightly disjointed feed later, you can always bring your old content back onto your profile. You might even decide to archive pieces of content so that you can post similar images in a better quality later on.

3.    Improve your Reputation

Finally, the more time you spend on Instagram, the better you’ll get at using the channel to your advantage. Most people aren’t born Instagram experts. Over time, you learn more about who you should be following, what you need to post, and how you need to edit your images to have the best impact on your audience. The chances are that after a year or two, you’ll look back at your older Instagram material and cringe.

When that happens, archiving your content gives you a chance to eliminate anything that might be detracting from the current reputation you want to build for your business. If you’re worried that your old Instagram posts might make you look unprofessional or outdated, just archive them for now until you decide what to do with them.

Archiving your posts means that you’ll still be able to use them when you’re looking at your Instagram Insights, to benchmark your performance metrics and see how you’ve grown over time. This means that you can provide any stakeholders or marketing teams with a more complete collection of information.

At the same time, when you archive a post rather than deleting it, you leave opportunities open for the future. For instance, you might want to download a picture later and use it as part of a #TBT (Throwback Thursday) post to show your customers how far you’ve come. While you may not want a lot of evidence to how much of an Instagram Noob you were originally, showing off your progress is a great way to make your brand appear more humanized.

Ready to Use Instagram Archive?

Just like any Instagram feature, the Archive function can be a valuable tool if you learn how to use it correctly. Knowing when to archive material, and how to unarchive Instagram content means that you can create in-depth strategies for managing your feed. You’ll be able to instantly remove irrelevant photos from your feed with a couple of taps, without having to worry about deleting your hard work.

Some people use archive function on Instagram to delight and surprise their audience. Others need access to it as a way of tracking their progress over time. Either way, it pays to know how to use every aspect of your backend.

With a little luck, our Instagram archiving and unarchiving guide will have answered all of your questions. However, there’s always the option to browse through some of our other blogs here at if you feel like you need some further advice or guidance. Alternatively, if you need a quick and reliable way to grow your Instagram following fast – why not reach out to us? We’ll show you how to use the following and follower ratio on your Instagram account to your advantage.