Finally, Instagram now allows users to download public Reels posted by other users. This means that reels posted on the app can be downloaded on the device of those interested and shared to other social media platforms. The company’s head Adam Mosseri announced on his Instagram broadcast channel on Tuesday that users based in the U.S. will be able to download Reels to their camera roll. Users can do so by hitting the share symbol and then choosing the Download option.
However, prior to this time users of rival short video app TikTok have had this feature for years and the company gained popularity by people watching short videos with the app’s watermark outside the platform.
Mosseri pointed out that only reels from public accounts are available for download. Furthermore, public accounts can disable the ability to download Reels by third parties.
While Mosseri did not specify whether the downloaded Reel would have an Instagram watermark, the image he uploaded implies that the downloaded reel will include an Instagram logo as well as the name of the creator. TikTok employs a similar method to add a watermark to downloaded videos. Notably, Instagram has always enabled users to download their own Reels from drafts without a watermark.
Instagram stopped promoting content with a TikTok watermark (or any watermark) on videos in 2021. YouTube began placing a logo-based watermark on downloaded Shorts — the company’s short video product — in August to deter cross-platform sharing. As a result, Instagram’s decision to allow users to download Reels could be a ploy to entice users to view more videos on their platform.
In recent times, Meta has placed a stern focus on reels to drive growth and revenue. During the company’s first-quarter earnings call in 2023, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that time spent on Instagram increased by 24% as a result of AI-powered Reels recommendations.