Download Instagram photos with this Siri shortcut

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Download Instagram
You can download any Instagram photo -- even this one.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you like a photo or video on Instagram, you can like it, or you can save it to your collection. But what about just saving it? You just can’t download Instagram photos.

This week, a friend of mine posted some awesome videos he shot on tape back in the 1980s. I don’t want to dig around in Instagram’s ever-more-convoluted app just to watch them. I want to save them to my iPhone’s Photo Library. Instagram doesn’t let you save an image. Even if you copy the Instagram link using the share feature, then open that image in iPhone Safari, you can’t get at the image.

So I made a shortcut to do it for me. Check it out.

Introducing the Grabstagram shortcut

This shortcut does the following:

  • Take an Instagram link.
  • Finds the main image link in that Instagram web page.
  • Downloads the linked image.
  • Save the image to your Photo Album.
Here's my Grabstagram shortcut.
Here’s my Grabstagram shortcut.
Photo: Cult of Mac

There are some limitations. Because the shortcut looks for the “main image URL,” it can only grab one image. This means that it doesn’t download all the images in a multi-image post. Nor does it work with videos. Finally, this shortcut also downloads the preview image, which is around 640×640. So, it’s far from perfect, but it’s also a lot better than nothing. If you have any ideas on how to tweak this workflow to grab video, and more and better images, please get let me know on Twitter.

You can build the shortcut yourself, or download it here.

How to use the Grabstagram shortcut to download Instagram photos

To use this shortcut, I recommend that you set it to be available from the Today View widget. New shortcuts are added to that automatically, so that part’s easy. Then, on Instagram, tap the … icon above any image, and then tap Copy Link in the resoling menu. Then just close the app, and tap the Grabstagram button in the widget. It will take the URL from your clipboard, and do the rest in the background. You can check it worked by opening up the Photos app and taking a look.

The alternative — Webstagram

Webstagram is a site that lets you browse Instagram on the web. You can search for any user by name, as well as searching hashtags. This isn’t automated like our shortcut, but it does let you grab the original videos and images, and download them from the browser. To save a photo, just long-press on it and tap Save Image.

I’ll keep looking for a way to download higher-res images, and videos. If I find one, I’ll post the result here.