Accessing My Instagram Historical Data

posted in: Social Media | 3

If you haven’t heard already, you can review and download your Instagram data – the downloadable data is (some of) the info Instagram has collected from your activities on your account. Out of curiosity, I decided to check out what exactly Instagram has on me that I could download. Turns out… A LOT.


What Info Instagram Has Collected About Me

There are two options here: reviewing data and downloading data. I was interested particularly in the downloadable data. Before downloading the files (which is what you have to do), I thought perhaps Instagram just collected what pictures I have on my profile, as well as what posts I’ve liked. But, oh no, it’s a little more detailed than that.

The downloaded files are carefully categorised (well done, Insta – I love organisation to that extent) into the following:

  • Comments
  • Connections
  • Contact
  • Direct
  • Likes
  • Media
  • Messages
  • Photos
  • Profile (x2)
  • Searches
  • Settings
  • Stories
  • Videos

Each category has everything recorded since I started using my Insta account (more or less).

Yep, certainly way more than I expected. 

Even though I’ve willingly interacted with the platform and shared all of the above, it was kind of creepy to view everything. There was so much of detail; it chilled me.

It had the first contact/person I ever followed, including the date and time right down to the last second. Every single Like of mine since the beginning is recorded. Even screenshots that I’ve sent via DM were stored. And, let’s not forget, all the profiles, people and businesses I’ve searched for were also available for my perusal. (Every single item is recorded with the date and time.) There are two profile folders: one had my current profile picture, and the other had my profile bio.

The one thing to note about the search data is that it only recorded it since my last set of searches after deleting my search history. I regularly delete my search history (it’s just that OCD side of me).

What Info Instagram Has Not Shared With Me

What’s interesting to note is that as much as there’s all this data collected on me, there are certain things that aren’t available for me to download and view.

  • When/How many times I’ve opened the app
  • Whose stories I’ve viewed
  • How many people’s posts and videos I’ve viewed while scrolling
  • Which devices I’ve used to log on
  • When people started following me

To name a few.
The possibilities are endless.

After everything that has happened with Facebook recently, I have almost no doubt that Instagram (read Facebook) has this kind of information recorded that they’re keeping to themselves, for intents and purposes that only they know.


How To Download Your Instagram Data

The first step is to let Instagram know that you’d like to get your data.

Log into your account via the desktop site:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on the cog
  3. Click on Privacy & Security
  4. Go to Data Download and click Request Download
  5. Enter your email address
  6. Enter your Instagram account password
  7. You’ll receive a link within 48 hours to download the data
What your email will look like.


I received my data within 30 mins of requesting it.

You’ll receive an email where you can download the data – a zip file. Once unzipped, the files will be in a .json format. This means that the information is riddled between code. If you aren’t familiar with reading files of this type, good luck!

Excerpt from my Media file


There is also the other option: To review your data – this info is different from the above.

How To Review Your Instagram Data

You can review this data immediately, and these are the types of info you’ll find:

  • Account: Changes to your Privacy, Password, Emails, Phone Number
  • Connections: Accounts you follow, Who follows you, Hashtags you follow, and Blocked accounts
  • Profile Info: Former names, Bio texts, Links in bios
  • Activity: Logins, Logouts, Search History

Log into your account via the desktop site:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Click on the cog
  3. Click on Privacy & Security
  4. Go to Account Data and click View Account Data
  5. To review a specific type of data, click View All.

I guess it is arguably a little less creepy here and there… but it’s up to you to decide, once you’ve seen everything.


Are you interested in seeing your historical data from Insta?

Follow Saajida Akabor:

Digital Copywriter

Freelance digital copywriter; animal-lover; reader; photography enthusiast; and a tea drinker.

3 Responses

  1. scifihammy

    Wow This is very creepy! I am so wary of sharing more than I absolutely have to online and have been toying with the idea of starting up an Instagram account. Now I don’t think I will! Thank you for the insight. 🙂

    • Saajida Akabor

      Hey there. You’re welcome… but do remember, they’re storing the information you willingly share on their platform. So if you do want an Instagram account, just make sure you’re sharing only what you would be okay with them storing. 🙂 Hope it helps (as my intention was never to deter people from Insta. I use it ALL the time but rarely share overly personal pics!)

      • scifihammy

        Oh no worries – when I read their Terms, it put me off anyway, even if I do not share personal stuff. As you point out tho, it is amazing just how much they Do glean from your online activity.

Your thoughts?