A girl on her phone.

5 Ways to View Instagram Stories Anonymously

One of the most frustrating feelings in all of social-media is wanting to view someone’s Instagram story, but being afraid to let them know you viewed it. Some people eventually get over it, but others can’t help themselves.

Maybe you are trying to keep tabs on an ex, or you’re scoping out your new crush. Maybe you’re trying to figure out gift ideas for a friend, or your curiosity is getting the best of you. Whatever reason you have for needing to be incognito for viewing someone’s story, there’s no need to feel ashamed. Everyone has been there at least once

Currently, there is no official way to view an Insta story without someone noticing, so you’re going to have to get a little creative to do your snooping. Luckily, there are several well-known tricks at your disposal. These first few are less complicated, but they are only useful when trying to view a public account. So, if you’re trying to look at a private account, go ahead and skip forward a couple.

1. “Finsta”

Classics are classics for a reason: they work. This method for anonymous viewing is about as old as Instagram itself.

For those that don’t know, “Finsta” is short for “Fake Insta.” You make a new Instagram account to be sneaky and look at things you don’t want on your main account. It works for viewing stories just as well as it has for everything else.

One thing to note, this isn’t perfectly stealthy. The person can still tell someone viewed their story, they just might not recognize who right away. So make sure no one can easily figure out you’re the person behind the random new account that just viewed their story. 

2. Anonymous Viewer Software

This might feel a tad bit more creepy to go through third-party software to view someone’s Instagram story, but it isn’t super different from using a Finsta. The big difference is that this method doesn’t even leave behind a trace of the fake account. There are several different Anonymous Viewers you can use — the main factor in which one you’ll use is your platform.

  • InstaStories: For anonymous viewing from the comfort of your desktop, check out InstaStories. It works directly from your browser so you won’t have to worry about download sketchy software, and you don’t need an Instagram account. You can use it to view any public Instagram profile, including their stories. You can also use it to download and save photos and videos from posts or stories.
  • Story Ghost: This is the iOS app for anyone trying to be sneak from an iPhone. It does all the same things as InstaStories does, though you do have to download it. Story Ghost also allows you to save your favorite stories so you can view them later.
  • Gramster: And the app for all the Android and Google phone users. It is an app like Story Ghost, which means it has to be downloaded. This app goes a bit further and lets you view live streams anonymously, as well as getting notifications on story updates. For the extra cautious, you have the option to use a password for Gramster, in case someone breaks into your phone.

Here’s where we get into the ways to anonymously view private accounts you follow on your Instagram account. These methods are more tricky and messing up will probably get you caught, so read carefully and follow the instructions.

3. Airplane Mode

For those of you that have never used it, turning on Airplane Mode prevents data from going in or out of your phone. You can take advantage of this to spy anonymously on an Insta story. It should be noted that this method only works for smartphones.

  • First, open up Instagram.
  • At the top of the screen, you should see all the Instagram stories of the people you follow, if they have a story at the time. If you’re trying to view the story of someone you don’t follow, head to their profile.
  • Look at the icon of the story you want to look at, and make sure it is loaded and ready to play. If you aren’t sure it’s loaded, drag the page down to refresh.
  • Set your phone into airplane mode. The best way to do this is to open the quick menu of your phone and tap the button with the airplane on it. You can also manually go into your settings, but that may cause issues with not being able to pull up the story.
  • Tap on the story to view it. You should still be able to watch the whole thing, but since you have airplane mode on, your phone can’t send out the data that you viewed the story.
  • When you’re done, fully exit out of Instagram – all the way, even take it out of the background apps. Then, turn airplane mode off.

If you did this correctly, you should be able to watch a whole story and leave no trace of it. This method is simple but tedious, especially if you want to view more than one story or the same one multiple times.

4. The Half-Swipe Peak

This method is tricky and somewhat nervewracking because it’s easy to mess up. There is much less finicking than the other methods, and you can do this innately with just the Instagram app. This also only works on the app, and only on people you are following, but that shouldn’t be too much of a barrier.

  • Open Instagram
  • At the top, look for the line of stories. Start playing the story directly before or after the story you want to peak onto. If there are none, either try again later or use a different method.
  • While the story is playing, pause it. To do that, tap and hold the screen while the story is playing.
  • This is the tricky part. Hold your thumb on the screen and swipe as if you were going to switch stories, but don’t release your thumb or swipe all the way. You’ll be able to see a preview of their story — it’ll kinda look like your peaking around the corner of a building. It’s incredibly easy to mess this up and swipe all the way or let go, so be extra careful.

This method does have the additional downside that you can only view the first piece of someone’s story. If that first part happens to be a video, then you can’t watch it either, just a still frame.

5. Block Them After

This is just about as crazy as these tricks get. If you block someone right after you watch their story, then they don’t get to see that you looked at their story.

The reason this gets messy is that you watching their story only remains hidden as long as you have them blocked. That means you have to keep them blocked for up to 24 hours or however long the story has left before it deletes itself. However, if a part of their story gets saved to their highlights, then you would have to keep them blocked for a full year to keep them from seeing you watched that story.

You only get one shot to view their story. Okay, not just one, but the longer you take to block them after, the bigger risk you run of them catching you. It’s also ill-advised to try and bounce back and forth with blocking and unblocking them. There is also that serious gamble of needing to keep them blocked for a whole year.

You could probably do some serious snooping if you combined this with a Finsta. So, you would use the Finsta to view the story and block them. It won’t be a big deal that you have to keep someone blocked on an account you use just for snooping anyway.

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