Before Instagram launched its native archive feature, permanently deleting old posts was the only way to curate your grid. But since June 2017, archiving old content has been the go-to option for any Instagram user looking to retroactively edit what they’ve posted.
The in-app archive (not to be confused with Archive the brand, hi, that’s us 👋) allows Instagram users to manage their accounts more effectively by temporarily hiding content. The best thing about the option to archive content is that if you change your mind or shift your strategy, you can easily unarchive Instagram posts to make them public again.
Instagram’s archive feature is a great way to keep your feed fresh and relevant without losing any of your content or scrubbing your engagement stats. Let’s look at why archiving social media posts is an important capability for brands, and explore how to unarchive a post in seven easy steps.
What You’ll Learn:
- Archive Instagram posts to hide posts from your feed instead of permanently deleting them.
- Your posts archive is private; none of your followers can see your archived posts.
- Unarchiving a post restores it to your feed in the same place it originally appeared.
- Unarchiving a post restores all of its original engagement metrics (likes, comments, etc.).
What’s the Deal with Archived Posts on Instagram?
Instagram may have made it big as a platform for friends to share perfectly square photos with sepia filters, but as we all know, times have changed. Today, as many as 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the app.
The brands that successfully connect with consumers on social media are active and engaged around the clock, and posting constantly can lead to a cluttered —or worse, irrelevant — feed. At that scale, it can be hard to know what content is going to have any staying power before putting it out into the world.
Keeping your grid up to date is an important strategy for brand recognition and awareness; potential new followers will likely assess your profile page as a whole when they first visit your Instagram account. If a post falls flat on the engagement scale, becomes irrelevant or even inaccurate, or when it just doesn’t match your brand aesthetic anymore, it’s time to take it down.
Here are just a few scenarios that might make brands want to put a post on ice:
- The post isn’t getting enough traction: likes, comments, shares, etc.
- You post frequently about a recurring event and you don’t want your grid to fill up with repetitive content.
- The post was timely and that time has passed.
- Your branding has changed and the post doesn’t match your identity anymore.
- The product you posted about is out of stock or discontinued.
- You hired a new social media manager and the old post doesn’t fit their vision.
The list goes on. Your reasoning for hiding posts doesn’t matter as much as your ability to do so. And when it comes time to update your grid by removing content, throwing it away is probably not the right call. Even if some aspect of the post is throwing you off, repurposing content is a basic best practice in the social media world. We repost, reshare, remix, and so much more. That’s where Instagram’s archive feature comes in handy.
How Do Archiving & Unarchiving Work on Instagram?
Instagram’s archive option allows Instagram users to take down posts without deleting them, and then easily repost, reuse, or reference them later. Most importantly, you can also unarchive a post to add it right back to your grid like nothing ever happened.
While deleting a post is irreversible, archiving it buys you as much time as you need to decide what you want to do with it. Even if you never look at the post again, archiving an Instagram post preserves the image, caption, and all the engagement it received inside the app. That means you won’t have to start from scratch when you unarchive it; no data loss, no conversations with customers dead in the water, and no need for extra storage space in your camera roll.
You can also archive (and unarchive) live broadcasts and Instagram stories, or adjust your settings in the app to archive all your live broadcasts and stories automatically after they expire. Live broadcasts, stories, and posts saved in your Instagram archive are totally private; no other Instagram user can see the content saved in your archive unless you repost it or add it back to your feed.
Keep in mind that while archived posts and stories are stored forever, Instagram’s archive option only saves live broadcasts for 30 days before deleting them permanently.
How To Unarchive a Post On Instagram
If you change your mind about an archived post and want to show it on your profile again, a few taps in the app is all it takes. Unarchiving a post will send it back to its original spot in your Instagram grid; it won’t appear at the top of your feed like a new post would.
Whether you’re using an Android or iOS device, you’ll need to log into your mobile device to access your posts archive. Here’s how to unarchive a post on Instagram, step by step:
- Open Instagram and tap your profile icon in the bottom right corner
- Tap the ☰ menu icon (those three horizontal lines are called a hamburger icon) in the top right corner of your profile page
- Tap archive
- Tap the title at the top to switch between your Instagram stories archive, posts archive, and live archive
- In your posts archive, tap the post you want to restore
- Tap the ⋯ menu in the top right corner of the post
- Tap show on profile to add it back to your feed
Once you follow these steps to unarchive a post on Instagram, it will return to your feed as if it never left. That means all the likes and comments it originally received will be available immediately, and the post will continue tracking new engagement from that point forward.
Let’s address a couple of FAQs about archived posts on your Instagram account.
- Timing: There’s no time limit on archiving/unarchiving — no matter how old your archived post is, you can always choose to show it on your profile again.
- Labels: There’s no public label or indicator when you unarchive a post, it will look like every other post on your Instagram account.
- Notifications: Your Instagram followers won’t receive notifications when you archive Instagram posts or unarchive them.
That means visitors to your Instagram profile won’t know that you’ve had a change of heart (unless they’re paying very, very close attention to your feed).
The ⋯ menu on your archived post also offers other options; you can save the post to one of your Instagram collections, create a QR code that links directly to the post, or create a reel from the post if it’s a video or includes multiple slides. And if at the end of the day you decide that deleting the post is the right move after all, you can do that from here too.
Manage Your Own Library of Archived Posts, Stories, Reels & Videos
Brand accounts must continuously evolve to keep up with prevailing styles, changing customer habits, and best practices on the Instagram app. It’s a good idea to regularly review your Instagram feed and check your analytics to get a handle on what types of content perform well.
Periodic maintenance makes the process of cleaning up your feed easier and faster. It also keeps your Instagram account relevant and on-trend, without huge gaps between the content updates that keep your profile page fresh.
We’ve already looked at how unarchiving a post sends it back to its original spot in your Instagram feed. If you’d rather see a previously archived post at the top of your grid, you’re better off downloading it and creating a completely new feed post. There’s no native download option inside the Instagram archive feature, so you’ll need to screenshot the original to post it again.
But manually downloading individual Instagram posts is always a hassle. Once you get started in the screenshot game, things can get messy quickly. Suddenly, you’re trying to manage your own brand posts, capture all your best user-generated content, and make sure everything comes together in a vibrant and beautiful feed.
Instead of compiling a complicated mess of screenshots in an album on your camera roll or a folder on your harddrive, make the robots save all your content for you. Archive is an AI-powered social commerce tool that collects all the Instagram posts, stories, reels, and TikTok videos that tag your brand. Manage all your UGC in one place and get influencers’ permission to repurpose their content in your next great brand campaign or right there on your Instagram feed. Get started with a free trial of Archive today.