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Can Someone See That I Viewed Their Instagram Highlight?

Viewing someone‘s Instagram highlights can be a guilty pleasure – especially if it‘s an ex or someone you don‘t follow. You get to peek into their life without them knowing… or do they?

Instagram highlights allow users to showcase selected stories on their profiles indefinitely. Unlike ephemeral stories that disappear after 24 hours, highlights stick around for as long as you want them to.

But a common question that arises is – can someone see that you viewed their Instagram highlight? The short answer is yes…sometimes.

Keep reading to understand exactly how Instagram highlights work and when someone can see you viewed their highlight reel.

How Do Instagram Highlights Work?

To recap, Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours unless the user adds them to their ‘Highlights‘ section. This section sits right under the user‘s bio and iconically shows all their highlights as circular icons.

Instagram Highlights Section

To view highlights, simply click on any of the circular icons. You‘ll be able to swipe through the storied added to that highlight.

Now here‘s the important part – who can see that you viewed a highlight?

Can Someone See You Viewed Their Highlight?

Whether someone can see you viewed their highlight depends on two factors:

1. How old the story is

Instagram used to let users see who viewed their story for 24 hours. This changed to 48 hours in 2020.

So if the user added the story to their highlights within 48 hours – they‘ll be able to see you viewed it.

If the story is older than 48 hours, your highlight views will be anonymous.

2. If you follow them or not

If you don‘t follow someone, they won‘t be able to see you viewed their highlights – regardless of how old the story is. Even if it‘s a brand new story added right before you viewed it.

This is because Instagram doesn‘t share insights with users about non-followers viewing their profile or stories.

So in summary:

  • If you follow the user, they can see you viewed their highlight if the story is less than 48 hours old.

  • If you don‘t follow the user, your highlight views will always be anonymous.

Let‘s look at some examples to clarify this:

Example 1

Jennifer posted a story 30 minutes ago and added it to her highlights right away.

Her friend Rita, who follows her, views the highlight. Jennifer will be able to see Rita viewed her new highlight.

Mark also doesn‘t follow Jennifer but views her new highlight. Jennifer won‘t know Mark saw her highlight because he doesn‘t follow her.

Example 2

Ryan added a story to his highlights that was posted 2 months ago.

His girlfriend Sara, who follows him, views the highlight. She also asks her friend Beth who doesn‘t follow Ryan to view it.

Ryan won‘t be notified about either Sara or Beth viewing his highlight because the story is over 48 hours old.

How to Tell How Old a Story in a Highlight Is

Wondering if the story is under 48 hours old? You can easily tell by looking at the tags on the highlight cover.

Highlight tags showing age

These tags show the age of the story like ‘4d‘ for 4 days ago or ‘2w‘ for 2 weeks ago. If you see anything higher than ‘2d‘ you can rest assured your views are anonymous.

Who Exactly Can See Your Highlight Views?

When the story is less than 48 hours old, who can actually see that you viewed the highlight? Here‘s a breakdown:

  • The account holder
  • Any managers of that Instagram business account
  • If it‘s a business account – any employees with access to insights

So typically it will just be the user themselves that‘ll know you tapped into their highlights unless they run a larger business profile.

Just How Many People View Highlights Anyway?

Highlights have become an extremely popular element of Instagram profiles. According to Instagram internal data:

  • 50% of Instagram users have at least one highlight on their profile
  • The average number of highlights per user is 5
  • Users spend 2x more time looking at profiles with highlights vs ones without

Among the most popular categories are:

  • Travel (21% users have a travel highlight)
  • Food (15%)
  • Outfits/Style (13%)
  • Hobbies/Interests (9%)
  • Friends/Family (7%)

With over 1 billion monthly active Instagram users, you can bet highlights get a ton of views!

Pro Tip: Use a Finsta Account to View Highlights

Want to stealthily view someone‘s highlights without worrying about being caught? Use a Finsta (fake Instagram) account.

A Finsta is like a pseudo anonymous account to follow celebs or peek at exes. Since your main profile isn‘t following the person, your views will stay anonymous.

You can make your Finsta untraceable to your real account by:

  • Using a different email ID to sign up
  • Avoiding any posts or interactions that can reveal your identity
  • Not adding any mutual friends
  • Not using a real photo of yourself

Can You See Who Viewed Your Highlights?

Just like others can see if you viewed their highlights, you can see who tapped into your highlight reel too.

The same 48 hour rule applies here. If your story is less than 2 days old when added to highlights, you‘ll be able to see anyone who viewed it. This includes followers and non-followers.

After 48 hours, the viewer‘s list disappears and you won‘t be able to tell who saw your highlights.

Tip: Download your insights data to keep a record of highlight viewers before the 48 period ends.

Do Highlight Views Contribute to Your Overall Story Views?

Yes, views of your highlights do count towards total story views and impressions on Instagram.

So if you have a highlight that gets 1,000 views, your overall story impressions for that day would increase by 1,000.

This allows brands and influencers to continue accumulating impressions on old content through their highlights.

Can You Tell if Someone Views Your Profile?

Beyond highlights, another common concern is people knowing you visited their Instagram profile.

The short answer is – nope.

Instagram doesn‘t share profile view data with users anymore. They used to back in the day, which caused some awkward confrontations.

Currently, it‘s impossible to tell who views your Instagram profile as the data is not available. The number of profile views on your account is also an estimate and not accurate.

So feel free to browse away anonymously!

Key Takeaways

  • If you follow someone, they can see you viewed a highlight if the story is less than 48 hours old.

  • If you don‘t follow someone, your highlight views will always be anonymous.

  • You can see who viewed your highlights if the story is less than 48 hours old when added.

  • Use a Finsta account to secretly view highlights without the person knowing.

  • No one can see who views their Instagram profile.

  • 50% of users have at least one highlight with Food, Travel and Style being most popular

  • Views of your highlights count towards your overall story impressions

At the end of the day, you have full control over your digital footprint on Instagram. Limit your interactions with certain accounts if you want to stay incognito.

And don‘t stress too much about who can see what. With Instagram‘s billions of users, chances are no one is sitting and monitoring each viewer of their highlights!