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3 Ways To Find Your Instagram Reels History

Trying to find that hilarious Reel you watched last week? We’ve got three tips to help you locate it using your Instagram Reels history.

Colleen Christison September 13, 2023
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You know when you’re scrolling through Instagram, laughing at a Reel, only to accidentally refresh your feed and lose the video forever? Or maybe you found the perfect Reel for a blog post you’re writing, only to forget to save it? Wouldn’t an easily accessible Instagram Reels history be helpful?

As people who love using Instagram Reels for business, we say yes.

Unfortunately, IG doesn’t have an Instagram watch history baked into the platform. Don’t worry. We’ve been filling their suggestion box with requests since we realized the oversight. In the meantime, here’s how to see your Reel history on Instagram.

Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.

How to check your Instagram Reels history: 3 methods

There are three different methods for checking your Instagram Reels history. But, disclaimer: None of them are perfect (yet).

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1. Download your Instagram account data

The most time-consuming and information-stuffed method of accessing your IG Reels history is to download your account data from Instagram. This can take up to 14 days to complete, so if you’re in a hurry, you’re going to need to try something else.

Step 1: Sign in to your Instagram account on your desktop. This method can’t be done using mobile.

Step 2: Navigate to the Hamburger menu in the bottom left corner of your screen.

Hamburger menu Instagram

Step 3: Click on Your activity

your activity on Instagram

Step 4: Navigate to Download your information

download your information

Step 5: Make sure your email is right, choose the information format (HTML or JSON) and click Next

choose format HTML or JSON and click next

Step 6: Enter your password and click Request download

enter password for Instagram account and click download

Step 7: You will get a confirmation screen saying your download has been requested. It should appear in your inbox in as many as 14 days. As a note, you can only request your data once every 30 days.

your activity on Instagram download requested

Step 8: You’ll receive an official email from Instagram; click Download Information.

email from Instagram download information

Step 9: This will take you back to Instagram’s desktop site, where you’ll be prompted to log in.

log in on Instagram desktop site

Step 10: A page will pop up with information about your download. Click Download information.

Download information page

Step 11: Open the downloaded file and navigate to the folder titled ads_and_topics. Open it.

Open downloaded file and navigate ads_and_topics folder

Step 12: Navigate to the file titled videos_watched.html and open it.

navigate to videos_watched.html and open file

Step 13: Now, you have a list of links to every video you’ve ever watched, including Reels. This does not give you links to the videos, but rather, the name of the account and the time. You can use this information to sleuth through Instagram accounts, looking for Reels published after the time you watched them.

The reels.html file you see is actually the history of Reels you’ve uploaded in the past. Not the Reels you’ve watched (sorry to disappoint).

videos watched history on Instagram

Limitations: Data takes up to 14 days to download. That being said, Instagram made our data available in a number of hours. Another note is that the data provided only gives you the account name and time you watched the video.

2. View previously engaged with Reels in the Your activity tab

One of the easiest ways you can access your IG watch history is to use the Your activity tab.

Step 1: Sign in to your Instagram account on your desktop. This method can’t be done using mobile.

Step 2: Navigate to the Hamburger menu in the bottom left corner of your screen.

Hamburger menu bottom left corner on Instagram

Step 3: Click on Your activity.

your activity on Instagram

Step 4: Within the Interactions tab on the left-hand menu, you can view all of the content you’ve previously interacted with. You can filter these by newest to oldest or oldest to newest, and likes, comments, Story replies, and reviews.

Interactions tab likes comments story replies and reviews

Here, you can see which pieces of content are reels, indicated by the icon in the top right corner of the thumbnails.

Interactions tab likes comments story replies and reviews

Limitations: You must have previously interacted with the reel to see it. If you simply watched it without liking, commenting, or sharing, it will not show up.

3. Use your Saved tab

Being able to save content on Instagram has saved me hours of searching for lost Reels. If you’re a stranger to the Saved tab, let me enlighten you on how to save Reels and access them later in your Saved tab.

Step 1: Once you find a Reel you want to save, click the three dots in the bottom right-hand corner.

save reel of Sasquatch playing the saxophone by clicking three dots in the bottom right-hand corner

Step 2: Click the bookmark icon to save the Reel.

bookmark icon to save reel

Step 3: If you like, you can choose a Collection to save it to or create a new collection. You can also do nothing here, and the Reel will save to All posts.

choose collection to save to or create new collection

Step 4: Navigate to your profile, then click the Hamburger icon.

hamburger icon on profile

Step 5: Navigate to Saved posts.

saved posts on Instagram

Step 6: Find your Reel in the collection you saved it to.

find Reel in Saved collection of posts

Limitations: You have to have saved your Reel to track it this way.

Hungry for more Reel-good content? Check out these Instagram Reels hacks .

5 tips to find your favorite Instagram Reels again

While there’s no surefire way to find your Instagram Reels history, there are a few tricks you can employ to find your favorite Reels again.

Try to remember a keyword from the video

Instagram’s search capabilities are certainly better than they used to be! Can you remember the audio features, any keywords from the caption, or the account name? If so, you’ll be able to better search for those long-lost videos.

Use Google to find your Instagram watch history

If you’re not having any luck searching for your fav-but-forgotten Reels using Instagram’s search bar, try Google.

Input the keywords you remember here plus Instagram Reel, and (this is important) include the term site:www.instagram.com in your search. This will tell Google you only want results from Instagram specifically, so you don’t end up with blogs or how-to videos.

Google Reels watch history by including keywords such as www.instagram.com

Filter your results by video content so you can see the thumbnails and captions. Then, it’s as easy as scrolling through the results, looking for something familiar.

Make it a habit to use your Save feature

Slap that save button any time you watch a Reel for more than a few seconds. You can always go back into your Saved folder and remove all of the ones you don’t want to come back to later.

Make it a habit to like or comment on Reels

This tip will not only help you track your Reels, but it will also help those content creators sweating away behind the scenes boost their engagement rates. And why not throw your likes out there? They’re pretty affordable to give away, after all.

Start downloading Reels

Is simply saving or liking your favorite Reels isn’t working for you? Maybe you’ve been saving and liking so many that you’re losing your top favorites amongst your not-so-top favorites. If so, you could try downloading your top favorites, so you have a hard copy on your desktop.

From simply saving it to your camera roll to using third-party apps, we go over four ways to download Instagram Reels here.

FAQs about your Instagram Reels watch history

How do you see your history on Instagram Reels?

There are a few ways you can see your Instagram Reel history, but the most all-encompassing way is to download your data from Instagram. Follow the steps above to make it happen.

How do I see videos I’ve watched on Instagram?

You can see videos you’ve watched and liked or commented on within the Your activity tab, and then within the Interactions tab. You can see every video you’ve watched by downloading your Instagram data off the platform.

How do you delete Reel history on Instagram?

You can’t delete your watched video history from Instagram. The platform (like most social media platforms) keeps a record of everything you do on it. It uses this data to inform the algorithm, giving it signals on what you might enjoy watching next. That being said, you, as the account holder, are the only one who can access this information.

How do you change what Reels you see on Instagram?

You can change how Instagram serves you Reels by interacting with the kind of Reels you want to see more of. The algorithm will recognize this and try to serve you like-content.

You can also manage the kinds of Reels you see by letting Instagram know whether you’re interested in the content served to you. The next time you see a Reel you dislike, click the three dots in the bottom left corner, then click “Not Interested.” Instagram will stop serving you content like this.

You can control your “interested in” and “not interested in” content in your Suggested Content tab.

First, head to your profile page and click on the hamburger menu in the corner, then click on Settings and privacy. Next, click on Suggested content. From here, you can adjust the Interested, Sensitive content, Not interested, and Specific words and phrases areas to your liking.

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By Colleen Christison

Colleen Christison is a freelance copywriter, copy editor, and brand communications specialist. She spent the first six years of her career in award-winning agencies like Major Tom, writing for social media and websites and developing branding campaigns. Following her agency career, Colleen built her own writing practice, working with brands like Mission Hill Winery, The Prevail Project, and AntiSocial Media.

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