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Audio Heist: How to Save a Reel with Audio?

While Instagram finally introduced a way to download (some) reels, the sound is not included in the platform-native tool. So is there a way to save a reel with audio? Or is it really rocket science?

Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

In today's digital jungle, Instagram reels are the roaring lions, capturing moments in bite-sized videos and audio, which is a big part of the clip’s success. Saving these gems in their full auditory glory can be challenging. Yet when you stumble upon a reel that's too good not to share, you probably want it to have both: the picture and the sound.

In this guide, we'll explore the most straightforward methods to save an Instagram Reel with audio, ensuring your favorite moments are always just a tap away, no matter which device you use.

Why should you care about saving reels?

Instagram is the fourth most-visited website globally, raking in a cool 6.7 billion monthly visits. It has over 2 billion active monthly users. It’s a virtual universe where trends are born, and voices are amplified. With over 140 billion plays daily across Instagram and Facebook, reels are a powerhouse of engagement. So it’s probably not an overstatement to call reels a cultural phenomenon.

Reels have transformed how we consume content. They're bite-sized, yet they pack a punch with creativity. They're making up more than half of content shared in direct messages.

But here's the kicker: How often have you stumbled upon a reel that captured a moment so perfectly you wanted to share it outside Instagram? Maybe through an email or another messaging platform? That's where the challenge lies. Sharing these audio-visual gems in their original form can be tricky. Stick around, and let's master the art of saving reels with audio together, ensuring your favorite snippets aren't confined to the Instagram app alone.

Can you save a reel with audio on Instagram natively?

June 2023 marked a significant update for Instagram: the ability to natively download someone else's reels. This change, initially rolling out in the US before going global, finally ended the restriction of only being able to save Reels within the app for later viewing. But has it really?

As with any tech update, there are nuances to navigate. Here are some:

  1. Creator’s consent: The power lies in the hands of the creator. You can only download a reel if the creator has enabled this option. Creators control this through their settings: by navigating to Settings > Privacy > Reels and Remix and toggling the “Allow people to download your reels” option. You can check the full documentation on the subject on Instagram support pages.
  2. Mobile-only feature: This download capability is exclusive to the mobile app. Desktop users, unfortunately, won't find this option available.
  3. Watermarks included: Much like TikTok, downloaded reels come with Instagram's watermark, showcasing the account name. This is a nod to content ownership and a subtle branding move by Instagram.
  4. The audio catch: Here's a crucial caveat – if you're downloading a reel that uses a licensed audio track, brace yourself for a silent video. The downloaded version will lack audio. It’s only the reels with original audio tracks that retain their sound in the downloaded clip. Considering the popularity of licensed tracks on reels, this could mean that most downloaded reels will be without their accompanying tunes.

Finding and downloading a reel is straightforward – if the creator allows it. As you browse through reels, and one catches your eye, tap on the airplane icon. If the download option is enabled, you'll spot a download button on the bottom menu. With a simple tap, the Reel is whisked away to your phone's photo gallery, ready to be relived or shared outside Instagram's walls.

Read also: An ultimate guide on how to save music on Instagram and create a music library from Reels and stories.

How to save a reel with audio to your camera roll

Muted experience of downloaded reels with licensed tracks may still leave you searching for ways to preserve the full audio-visual experience. Let’s explore other methods to save reels with their audio intact.

On mobile: iOS

Screen recording

Credit: Insider Tech.

This method is for those Apple fans who prefer the in-built tools over third-party apps. Here’s how you get started:

  1. Setting the app: Dive into the Settings app, and tap 'Control Center'. Hit 'Customize Controls', and you'll spot 'Screen Recording'. It's like finding a cheat code in a video game.
  2. Add to your arsenal: Tap the plus sign beside 'Screen Recording'. This move is like adding a new skill to your character's skill set.
  3. Quick access setup: Arrange your Control Center for quick-draw access. Hold and drag to rearrange the tools. It’s like setting up your gadgets for a spy mission.
  4. The action begins: With the stage set, swipe down (iPhone X or later) or up (older models) to reveal the Control Center. Tap the record button. A red timer pops up, signaling "Action!"
  5. Capture the reel: Open Instagram, find the Reel you're after and let it play. With a swipe to the Control Center, hit record. It's like starting a heist's timer.
  6. Record with sound: Ensure the microphone button is red if you want your voice in the mix. It's like tuning your radio for transmission.
  7. Mission accomplished: End the recording the same way you started. Your prize, a high-quality video with audio, waits in the camera roll. It's time for the victory dance.
  8. Trim and share: The final step, trimming the video, is like chiseling a sculpture. You're now ready to share this audio-visual trophy far and wide.

Save the reel with audio using third-party apps

In the crowded arena of the third-party app for downloading Instagram reels in App Store it’s really hard to choose.  Among a sea of options, "Story Viewer & Saver - InLook" seems to be a better option. It's not the app with the most reviews, but it's responsive developer and recent positive feedback make it a worthwhile choice.

To dive into its functionality, it's straightforward: copy the link of the reel you wish to download and insert it into the only field of the app dashboard. If you're navigating the free version, patience is key as you wade through ads. However, this brief wait is a small price to pay for the reward (and the fact that the app is actually working) – once the ads conclude, the chosen reel is yours to download.

On mobile: Android

Screen recording

Credit: Primal Video

For Android users, snagging that perfect Instagram reel with audio can be as easy using the device's built-in screen recorder as with iOS. Navigating to this feature is a breeze: simply swipe down from the top of your screen twice. This action reveals the quick access menu with a screen recorder in it.

Before diving into recording, you're presented with some options – whether to include audio in the recording, or to visualize your touches on the screen. Once you've tailored the settings to your liking, it's go time: hit 'start' and let your reel play out.

And when you've recorded what you need, a tap on 'stop' wraps up the process. What you're left with is a copy of the reel, nestled safely in your gallery, ready for playback anytime on your preferred device and media player.

Third-party apps

If, for some reason, native recording seems too complicated, third-party apps step up to fill the gap. While there are numerous options, one app stands out for its reliability and user ratings: Story Downloader - Story Save. It has over a million downloads and an average rating of 4.8 from more than 29,000 reviews.

Whether it’s videos, photos, reels, or stories, this app is your one-stop solution. Its standout feature? You can download content without the hassle of logging in.

The process is straightforward and user-friendly. First, navigate to the Instagram reel you want to save. Simply copy the reel's link, and the app takes care of the rest. With a single click, you can download the reel directly to your device. It's that easy. The downloaded content finds its home in your gallery, where you can watch it anytime, anywhere – even without an internet connection.

How to save a reel with audio on desktop

Since not everyone is on mobile, let's move on to desktop options. There are three the most common ones: online website downloaders and standalone third-party software. Although you also can use screen recording just like on your mobile device, it’s a bit more complicated so, the majority of reels aficionados prefer the easier desktop options.

Website downloaders

I tested a few reliable options and found Indown to be a simple, free tool to download reels (and any videos, really) that actually works.

With 8.149 million monthly visitors in December, according to Similarweb, Indown is gaining popularity for allowing unlimited reels downloads without needing an account or login credentials. It works by taking the link to the Instagram reel you want and generating a download link instead of using Instagram's API. This means your details stay protected.

To use it:

  1. Copy the link to the Instagram reel from your browser.
  2. Paste the link into Indown's search field and hit enter.
  3. Click the download button at the bottom of the page. This will open the video file in a new tab.
  4. Right-click on the video and choose "Save Video As" to save it to your desktop.

As well as Instagram, Indown can also be used to download content from TikTok and Pinterest - making it a versatile online tool for saving any social media videos you want to keep.

Third-party software

While web downloaders provide a free and easy way to save reels, it has limited capabilities and it can be pretty slow. Power users may want to use a specialized program like 4K Stogram. As a cross-platform desktop app for Windows, Mac and Linux, 4K Stogram offers advanced features for downloading and managing Instagram content.

With over 11 million users using it to download content, the app is considered a safe, reliable way to archive posts. You can also download posts in bulk, browse accounts anonymously, and download much more content from Instagram: from streams to highlights. You can also bookmark reels on Instagram first, then have 4K Stogram automatically back up your saved posts.

To save reels with audio:

  1. Download, install and launch 4K Stogram.

2. Sign in to your Instagram account.

3. Enter the username of the account with the reel.

4. Select the right account from suggestions.

5. Click settings next to the Download button:

6. Uncheck all boxes except "Feed posts → Content format → Only Video."

7. Pick a custom date range (optional).

8. Download the reels you want.

If you only need to download up to 200 reels per day and not interested in extended features, you can use the app for free. If you are a high-volume Instagram user, 4K Stogram requires a paid subscription, starting from $15 for an annual license and several one-time fee options at the moment of writing this guide. But it can be invaluable for social media managers, influencers, and marketers wanting to archive content.

And those are two options for saving Instagram reels with audio to your desktop! Whether you want a quick free tool or an advanced program with more features, solutions are available both online and via the app. But whichever tool you are going to use, please, proceed with caution.
Instagram, in its December 2023 update, has tightened its rules against spam and automation. Using third-party software for downloading content might not directly wave a red flag for a ban, but it's playing with fire.

TL;DR: moderation is your friend.

Choose your download frequency carefully. Too much too fast can trip Instagram's alarms. Avoid using Instagram simultaneously with these tools. It's like inviting the watchdog to your party. Consider having a throw-away account when using automation, especially for bulk actions. And if Instagram's giving you the side-eye (read: warnings), take a break from these tools.

Remember, it's not just about playing smart. It's about staying in the game.