Instagram rolls out download of public Reels to more countries worldwide

You could attribute TikTok’s success with the feature of sharing their videos off-platform, allowing users to download the videos watermarked with the account. Meta has now implemented the same feature for Instagram Reels, after its initial announcement back in June 2023 (source: TechCrunch).

Although Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri stated that US-based users would be the first to see it, a timeline wasn’t announced for the rollout to other countries worldwide. It looks like the option is now expanding to more countries worldwide including the Middle East region. How? It just so happens that I was creating a Reel and the pop-up just showed up.

Instagram Reels with Download option
Image Credits: Instagram/Adam Mosseri

Download and Share Reels

Downloading Reels is as simple as tapping on the share icon and then selecting the Download option.

  • Only public accounts have the option to toggle the Download option.
  • You can also retroactively toggle it for each previously-published Reel to be downloadable.

All downloaded Reels will have an animated watermark showing the account name in different positions based on the video length.

However, it seems there is a difference between iOS and Android when I tried it with a random Reel from Adobe Video. Anyone who has saved a video from TikTok will have seen that the resoltuion is in SD (540×960 px).

  • Downloading via iOS gives a video in HD (720×1280 px) encoded in MPEG4/H.264
  • Downloading via Android app gives a video in FullHD (1080x1920px) encoded in HEVC/H.265
Metadata for same downloaded video on iOS (left) and Android (right)

It’s not clear why there is such a difference, but this might come down to each platform’s technicalities. Having watch the same video from both devices, they showed no visible loss in quality.

The move is looking to capitalize on the momentum for people to watch more Reels on Instagram natively. Also a great way to complement the recent launch of Threads.

If you’re not seeing the option to download, make sure you’ve updated the Instargam app to the latest version on both iOS and Android.

Header image credit: Alexander Shatov

Author: Yasser Masood

Think of me as a grassroots community evangelist. Juggling social media while covering technology/digital trends across the Middle East and crossroads of society and culture, while unearthing other perspectives that pique my interests.

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