Launched in 2016, it’s hard to believe that Instagram Stories has become a better way to engage your friends, family, and fans to your daily dose of content. This is because it is positioned above Instagram posts when opening the app and automatically slides on the next user’s content, which is easier for everyone to access than regular posts.
But like everything else in life, Stories has its own set of disadvantages as well. While any one of your followers or anyone (if your account is public) can see your post without liking it and letting you know that you saw them, viewing someone’s Stories lets them know that you viewed them until the story expires.
What this means is that every time you view someone else’s Instagram Story, they will be able to check whether their story was viewed by you. So is there a way you can view someone’s Story without them knowing? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Why you may want to view someone’s IG Stories privately?
If you’re wondering why somebody would like to view others’ Stories without letting them know, there are a bunch of reasons why you would want to do that.
- Prevent brands and retailers from targeting you with ads when looking for their products on Instagram
- Keeping tabs on someone you know, perhaps an ex or crush (which you shouldn’t!)
- Keep an eye on a slandering account without alerting its owner
- To check a rival product/brand’s page
- Brands can verify an influencer’s content without them knowing
- Check content from an Instagram user who might have blocked you
Can you view Instagram Stories Anonymously?
Yes, but it has its own limitations. While there’s no official way you can view Stories privately on Instagram, there are some workarounds that make it possible. Setting your account to ‘Private’ doesn’t mean your name won’t appear in the other person’s list of people who viewed their Story. Both Public and Private accounts will be registered as ‘viewers’ of someone’s story the moment you tap on it.
What kind of Instagram Stories can you view privately? It’s important that you know that you can only view Stories of Instagram users who have their accounts set to Public. As you might expect, you cannot view Instagram Stories of users that have set their account accessibility to ‘Private’. This rule also extends to those stories that are published to the “Close Friends” group of someone. There’s no workaround to see Stories that someone posts for their “Close Friends”.
How to View Instagram Stories Anonymously or Privately
If you have made up your mind and you want to view someone’s Story on Instagram privately, then you can take a look at the different methods below to get started.
Method #01: The easy and the most annoying way
The easiest of the methods we’ve mentioned here can also be the most annoying as well and it involves using your phone’s Airplane or Flight mode.
To use this method, first go to the user’s profile page on Instagram and make sure you’re able to see their posts. You can view someone’s post only if their profile is set to public or you’re one of the followers of a private account. Once you have gone to their profile page, wait for a few seconds for their Stories to load up on your phone. You can also do this on your Instagram Home Screen if the person’s profile picture appears at the top of your Instagram Home Screen.
You will know when a story has been loaded if a red and orange-colored ring (or green ring if you’re one of their “Close Friends”) appears around the user’s profile picture. When this ring appears, turn ON the Airplane mode or Flight mode on your smartphone from Quick Settings on Android or the Control Centre on iOS.
Once Airplane mode is turned ON, open the person’s Story by tapping on them. You can view as many of their Stories as you want depending on whether Instagram loaded them for you. After you have viewed their Stories, go back to the Instagram home screen and force close the app.
On iOS, you can close the app by swiping the app screen upwards from the Recents.
On Android, not all apps close straight away after clearing them from the Recent Apps screen. To force close apps on Android, you will have to go to the app’s App Info (by tapping and holding on Instagram’s app icon) and select the ‘Force stop’ option.
If you don’t close Instagram properly, your view will register on their list of people who saw their story.
If you don’t want to waste your time putting your phone on Flight mode every time you want to view someone’s story, there’s one more easy way you can view someone’s story on your phone. This method involves creating a new Instagram account directly from your current one but you need to make sure of one thing. You should not post or have any piece of information on this new account that traces back to you.
To create a new Instagram account from your current one, open the Instagram app on your phone. When the app is open, tap and hold on your profile picture at the bottom right corner.
This will open a new popup menu at the bottom. Here, tap on the ‘Add Account’ option.
Since the aim here is to create a whole new account that’s not traced back to you, select the ‘Create New Account’ option.
On the next screen, you will be asked to enter a username for your new account. Make sure the username you create isn’t identical to the one you currently have or it doesn’t have any reference to your name or your interests. Once you’ve entered the username in its box, tap on the ‘Next’ button.
Next, you’ll need to create a password for your account. Enter your preferred password or let your phone suggest one for you (both Android and iOS offer a password generate tool when creating new accounts). Since this is a secondary account that you won’t use regularly, it’s preferable to let Android or iOS generate a password for you.
Once you have entered a password or generated one, tap on the ‘Next’ button under it.
On the next screen, tap on the ‘Complete Sign Up’ option.
Instagram will now register your new account. Once your account has been registered, you will be taken to the ‘Find Facebook Friends to Follow’ screen. Make sure you tap on the ‘Skip’ option to avoid linking any personal information to this new account.
Next, you can either add a random profile photo or tap on ‘Skip’ to avoid adding one.
You will now be able to use your new account to view any public account’s Instagram Stories privately. Since this is a fresh account, you will have to manually search for someone’s profile inside the Instagram app to view their new Stories. They won’t appear at the top of your Instagram app like you’re used to.
To search for someone’s account, tap on the Search button at the bottom of the Instagram app and search for the person’s name or username to view their stories.
Once you’re done viewing (spying!) on someone, you can switch back to your original Instagram account at any time. For that, tap and hold on the account picture icon at the bottom right corner.
Select your primary account from the popup screen to return back to browsing Instagram the normal way.
Method #03: Using Stories Viewer apps and websites
If you’re not satisfied with any of the methods mentioned above, don’t worry. There exists a list of apps and websites that let you view Instagram Stories privately and even save them. These services offer utilities of their own like downloading the Stories you view and some don’t even require you to have an Instagram account to see them. We’ve compiled a list of websites and apps that you can make use of to view someone’s Instagram Stories without them knowing.
That’s all you need to know about viewing Instagram Stories anonymously.