Instagram’s archive feature goes live, letting you hide photos indefinitely

Last month we noted that Instagram was testing a new feature called “archive”, which lets users hide any of their posts from anyone else – either permanently or indefinitely. Today this will roll out to everyone on Instagram, meaning you can start hiding photos today.

You can archive any photo or video on your profile by tapping the “…” three-dots button in the top right of the post, then selecting “archive”.

After being archived, these posts move into a special section of the app located at the top right corner of your profile.

This archive page, and all the posts inside it, are only visible to you. You can then opt to eventually unarchive a photo and “show on profile”, or just leave it there forever for your personal records.

So why would someone want to archive a photo?

Maybe you want to hide a post that didn’t get that many likes, but you want to remember the moment and not lose the memory amongst the tens of thousands of other photos in your camera roll. Or maybe you’re fighting with a friend or broke up with a significant other and want to take a break from seeing them on your profile without committing to deleting them forever.

Or, maybe you just want to take a total break from social media and archive all your photos for a bit.

The feature is slightly reminiscent of Snapchat’s Memories section, which is designed to hold photos and videos you capture for posterity, but don’t necessarily want to share with friends or on your story.

The only difference is you can’t post an Instagram directly to the archive folder – i.e the photo has to be public, at least for a second so you can switch pages and add it to your archive. For this reason the feature will probably be used less as a personal gallery and more of an actual archives section, where you hold photos that you honestly don’t know if you’ll ever make public again in the future.

It will be interesting to see if Instagram ever launches a feature to keep a photo private from the start – almost like a built-in “finstagram”, which is what some people call their second, “fake” and secret Instagram account designed to memorialize personal photos and maybe share them with very close friends and family.

The feature launches for everyone today.