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If You're New To Instagram Stories Highlights, Here's How It Works

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With Instagram’s Stories Highlights, users can take their once-temporary photos and 15-second video clips from their archived collection of Stories past and showcase them on their profiles sans ephemerality. That's right, your carefully crafted Stories no longer have to disappear into the ether after a mere 24 hours — they can live on your profile page forever as Highlights, which observe the same privacy guidelines as the rest of your Insta content. And who can actually see your Story Highlights on Instagram? The answer is simple.

The people who have permission to view your Instagram Stories Highlights depends on the privacy settings you’ve set for your own account. If your profile is public, anyone can check out your Highlights at any time. If it's private, that privilege is reserved for your followers. Given their permanence, spending hours making them just perfect is a legitimate way to spend your time.

Why Is Highlights even a big deal? This tool enables users to take those Stories from all their Instagrammable adventures — concerts, vacations, brunches, family get-togethers, you name it — and make them a part of their profiles. You can have a couple stand alone Stories or curate collections of clips, each their own theme. For example, you can pool all your Stories featuring your child or pet into one reel. If baking is your forté (or not), start a Highlight called #nailedit. As TechCrunch pointed out, the advent of Highlights represents the first time that Instagram will allow users to post content that does not funnel directly into their followers' feeds. Instead, Highlights will live on for as long as the poster wants them to in a newly designated section directly below his or her bio. That means that anyone with access to your profile can see your Stories Highlights, but they'll have to actually visit your profile in order to do so.

There are a few different ways to go about adding content to your Highlights, but the first thing you need to familiarize yourself with is the Stories Archive tool.

Instagram rolled out Stories Archive and Stories Highlights in late 2019 for both Android and iOS users all over the world. With Archives, individual Stories, which have the public lifespan of one day, are automatically saved to a private space within the app. That's super handy, as many users were manually downloading their stories before they reached the 24-hour expiration. With Archive, you can quickly find old Story content in one place. From there you can download it, DM it to a follower, repost it to your Instagram, or just take a trip down memory lane. To get to your archive, go to your profile page, click on the “hamburger” (or three horizontal lines at the top right corner) for a menu to pop up at the bottom of the screen, and select “Archive” from there. Tap on a Story to view, and you’ll see the option to add it to a Highlight in the bottom right corner. You can either create a new Highlight or collection of Stories or attach it to an existing Highlight that already exists on your profile page.

The second way to curate a Highlight is directly from the Highlights bar. Simply tap the "New" circle below your bio. You'll end up in the Archive section, where you can decide which Stories to include in a Highlight. This route is most convenient if you’re planning on building a big highlights reel because you can select up to 100 photos or videos from here, so go ham. Give your collection a name, slap on a cover photo, and post. Don’t worry, you can always add one-off stories to existing Highlights in the future.

A third way to add to your highlights reel is by pulling from your currently live stories. Click on your profile shot to view them and at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see the “Highlight” button. If you know you’re going to want this Story to have a longer lifespan than 24 hours, go ahead and add it.

It's easy to see how this feature, which essentially takes Snapchat Memories a step further, could be a hit among users. After all, Instagram described Stories in its new feature as a "key part of how you express yourself," and who really wants all that self-expression to simply disappear after 24 hours? Now, users can curate, group, and show off those memories for as long as they want on their profiles. If a person's Instagram feed is a reflection of who they are, it makes sense for those Stories they create as they go about their days to help to, literally, tell the story of who they are, too.

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