Instagram 101: How to save your original images in Instagram

Instagram, iphone photo, iphoneography


UPDATE: Welcome to Life In LoFi, Android users. When this post was first written, Instagram was an iPhone-only app. With the recent release of Instagram for Android, these instructions may work in concept, but the location of the actual settings and the look of the screens will be different. I don’t have an Android device to update this post. If you’d like to share how this works on an Android, please shoot me an email. Thanks! =M=

Instagram iPhoneInstagram is the social photosharing app that makes it easy to snap photos, apply one of a couple dozen or so filters — most of them pretty good — and share it with your friends. It’s often the number one free app in the photo section of the App Store.

It’s got it’s own photosharing network and adds integration with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr and others, making it easy to upload images from within the app.

The app saves processed images at a pretty small 612×612 pixels, which has drawn the ire of some non-users. The app isn’t designed for creating prints, though, it’s designed for sharing them and small file sizes use up much less bandwidth. 612×612 is a good size for photos that are only going to be seen and shared on a phone or a computer screen.

One of the complaints about the app is that it doesn’t save full size original resolution images. It actually does — the feature is just turned off by default and Instagram’s setting are hidden away pretty well. Here’s how to save your original photo as well.

instagram settings panel iPhone

Open the iPhone’s settings app. Scroll down until you find Instagram’s settings panel. Switch the Save original photo setting to “ON”.

Your original, high-res images will now be saved to your camera roll and you’ll have them to process with other apps.

I use Instagram, not to create gallery prints, but as a way to share snapshots with my friends. It’s a fun app.

Instagram is a free download.



About Marty Yawnick 1826 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Now if only it could save the filtered images full-size somehow!!

    I actually like a couple of the filters, and would love to make prints with some. Or even upload them to Flickr, without them looking smaller than my other images…

  • donn

    +1 to Anton's comment.. would love to have a high res save of those filtered images…

  • denali

    this software is awesome and it's the mostly used one among all the other applications on my iphone.

    all the photos up there are definetly AMAZING and it's really a pity you only get to look at it but can't save it to your phone. is there a possible way to save the photos of others?


  • The Wallbanger

    Here's an important problem I noticed on Instagram yesterday. After taking a photo and applying the filter, Instagram DRASTICALLY reduces the image size. It essentially creates a large thumbnail for easy uploading to Instagram's site, but there's no way to get that full-res, 5 megapixel, edited image back. You can only save the original (sans filters) image by adjusting the settings on the iPhone's main setting.

    Instagram needs full-res photo support!

  • Mark

    if you see a photo u like on instagram how can you save it to your camera roll???

    • Hi, Mark,

      You can't save photos from within Instagram. Best you can do at this time is to use one of the third party web sties that lets you search Instagram users, find their streams, then download to your computer from there. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any of those websites. They seem to change regularly as Instagram change their APIs. Check . They might have those resources.


  • Mshannett

    Thanks alot!!! If you didn’t blog about this il go crazy. Haha! Thanks again it was so helpful. :>

  • Nikki

    I really want to use my instagram photos on my blog, is this possible of is the best I can do to add the link. I really want to use the photo itself even if it is small. I tried emailing it to myself but there was no way to then save the iambs to my laptop to then upload to the blog

  • zee

    How can I save my filtered pictures to my phone from instagram? I have a Droid.

  • zee

    How can I save my filtered pictures to my phone from instagram? I have a android.



  • James

    Nothing like InstaSync app to save instagram photos right onto your phone's cameral roll. Helps grab loved ones too

  • celine

    Hey hi?

    I need help on using insta on android phone. Maybe If you don’t mind teaching me to post an ori photo size to insta ? I mean without needing to crop it. Lol

    • Hi, Celine,

      I wish I could help you with this, but I'm strictly iPhone here. I don't know how different Instagram is on an Android and what third party apps are available and that work. Sorry. 🙁


  • Tristana

    Cannot find instagram in my setting panel though it is donwloaded and even logged in. What do I do? Would really love to have a full size resolution.

    Thank you!

  • Jeremy

    there’s also a google chrome extension that lets you save instagram pics with one click. its free, easy to use here’s the link: