Tech Tip: How Photos Meant to Disappear May Not


Q. Does Instagram notify the sender if you take a screenshot of a self-destructing photo?


Instagram’s new “disappearing phones and videos” feature lets users share self-deleting clips and images, a practice popularized by its rival Snapchat.

The New York Times

A. The Instagram app does indeed notify the person who sent you a “disappearing” photo or video if you take a screenshot of the image or replay the message. This is similar to its competitor Snapchat, which also displays a special notification icon for the sender of a Snap if the recipient has captured a screenshot or replayed the message before the timer runs out and the item is deleted.

The disappearing photos and videos are part of Instagram Direct, the messaging tool built into the Instagram app. The content deletes itself after the recipient views it, making the feature popular for fans of spontaneity and private moments.

However, as with many aspects of digital life, workarounds have emerged that let people circumvent the software’s protective intentions — so be careful what you share.

Among the various methods floating around the web, some Instagram and Snapchat users have been able to save copies of “self-destructing” content by checking their messages in the app, then flipping the phone into airplane mode in a quick-settings menu to make a screenshot while the app is deprived of a network connection. Other creative solutions and third-party recorder apps can also preserve a photo or video that was intended for only a quick single viewing.

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