A pretty girl on her phone.

How to Download Instagram Live Videos

Like nearly every social media outlet on the market, Instagram has a function that allows people to live-stream themselves with the push of a button. It’s one of the best tools influencers and personalities to encourage follower engagement. However, Instagram does lack one of the key live video features that most other platforms have.

When an Instagram live video is done, it is usually gone for good. Followers have no way to go back and watch their favorite moments. Luckily, there are some simple fixes to this issue.

If You’re Watching the Live Video

So, the method you’ll want to look into for downloading someone else’s live video depends on whether or not you were able to catch it yourself. Being there while the live stream is going on makes it much easier to save the video for yourself later. However, if you jump into the live video halfway, you won’t be able to recover the stuff you weren’t there for. 

If you happen to miss the video itself, then don’t worry. You may still have a chance to download the video and watch it.

Screen Recording Method (Built-in): You might not believe how simple the process is. All you need to do is watch the live stream while you use some kind of screen recorder. Most smartphones have been able to record a video of your screen for a few generations of software. 

For anyone running on an Android phone, you’ll need to have download the Android 10 operating system, or any of the later versions. You can activate its screen recorder from the Quick Settings menu you get when you swipe down from the top of your screen. Depending on the specific operating system, you may have to dig around in the menus to find the screen recording settings. Just turn it on, enjoy the live stream, then switch it off when you’re done. You should be able to find the video later, saved to your phone’s files.

Fans of Apple products will be in a similar situation. iPhones and iPads have been able to quickly do screen recordings since about iOS 11. Keep in mind you have to enable the feature before you can find it in your Control Center menu. To find that option go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls > Screen Recording. After you enable it there, you should be no more than a swipe and a couple of taps away from being able to record an Instagram live video that you are viewing from your phone.

If you’re trying to use a smartphone with an older operating system, then you’ll have to be a bit more creative. Well, not really, you just need to find a screen recording app. There are at least a dozen of these for both Android and iOS users. They can be a bit fidgety, and it can feel a bit annoying to have to get a third-party app for something other phones can do already. On the bright side, most of the screen recording apps are free, and sometimes have a tad bit more functionality than the built-in smartphone versions. DU Recorder for iOS, for example, can record the internal audio of whatever you are watching and your microphone at the same time.

Screen Recording Method (Desktop Software): For the vast majority of people, you’re going to be viewing Instagram from your smartphone 99% of the time. But for that remaining one percent of the time, you’d probably feel bad if that was the moment you needed to know how to record a live video from your desktop.

It’s the Same Basic Principle: Just watch the live video while you have a screen recording feature running. Depending on how you want to split hairs, this isn’t something most computers can do innately. Though most of the major browsers have plug-ins you can install that will allow your computer to record its screen and save it as a video. 

They’re free, easy to use, and usually a pretty quick download. You also get the added benefit that most any browser you use will also have developed the plug-in you can get to let it record your screen. So no worries about messing with possibly unreliable third-party programs.

Not to fully disparage third party screen recorders. Some of them are capable of doing more than the basic ones provided by your browser of choice. Though, you either have to pay for these extra features or be okay with downloading moderately suspicious software onto your computer.

If You Missed the Live Video

If you didn’t manage to catch the live stream to record it, or if you came in halfway and wanted to see what you missed, don’t worry. There is a way for you to save an Instagram live video that was streamed earlier.

When someone finishes a live stream on Insta, there is an archive of it that you can see bundled with the stories. Also like a story, this archive is only available for 24 hours, so if you missed a live stream by more than that, you’re out of luck. This is also a feature that can be disabled, but most people never bother to do so.

This is going to be one of the few instances where the desktop version of Instagram is more useful than the app. With no extra components, you can download the archive of the live stream onto your computer. Here’s how:

  • Pick up the Save IG Live extension for your browser. 
  • Open up Instagram, and right-click on the live video archive you want to download. Then click “inspect”.
  • A somewhat intimidating window will pop up, but don’t worry. You won’t have to mess with it too much. Select the “Networks” tab, then choose “All.”
  • If nothing appears right away, refresh the page. Then sort your options by file size. The video you are trying to download will usually be the first result, but you may have to look for it.
  • Right-click on the “.mp4” file, then select “Save Video As,” and you’ll have the option to name the file
  • Just like that, you have the video saved to your computer, free to watch as you please!

This method feels technical and overwhelming, but it’s a breeze once you’ve done it a couple of times. Plus, it works without fail, as long as there isn’t some sort of obscure setting messing with the software.

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