For many of us, the end of the year brings nostalgia and the desire to look back to see how much we’ve changed. To help with this retrospective exercise, Instagram has launched a new feature called On This Day, which lets you share highlights of your past self with anyone who views your Stories.
You can access this tool directly from the Stories platform, or you can find more specific moments by diving into your archive. But whichever method you choose, make sure you have the right nostalgic soundtrack to go along with your blast from the past.
Method 1: Access On This Day from your Stories
We probably don’t need to tell you how to create a new story on Instagram, but just in case you’ve spent a lot of time on other platforms lately and need a refresher, tap the plus button at the top of your Instagram feed and choose Story.
Instagram will open your device’s camera, but do your best to refrain from taking a selfie. From the menu on the left, tap Create—if you don’t see it, tap the Aa icon. At the bottom of your screen, right where your camera’s shutter button usually is, slide the Aa button to the left to reveal more Story formats. On This Day is the fifth one—it’s the icon with the clock and counterclockwise arrow.
When you choose this format, Instagram will show you something posted on the same day as the current date—it may be from three, five, or whatever number of years ago. If you have more than one post that meets the criteria, you’ll be able to see them by tapping the two die button at the top of your screen. When you do, you’ll see more than posts: You’ll also see if you’re celebrating any followversaries—when you and someone else mutually followed each other.
To finish, tap the On This Day button again, and do any editing you want to do to get your IG Story looking awesome. After that, you can share it as a story or send it as a direct message to someone on the app.
Method 2: Take a look back from your archive
If you want to have more control over what memories you share on your Stories, you can check out almost everything you’ve posted there by visiting your archive.
To access it, go to your Instagram profile, tap the main menu button (the three lines in the upper right corner of your screen), and choose Archive. There, you’ll see an On This Day memory—tap Share to take you directly to the Story editing platform, and proceed as you would with any other Story.
You can also scroll down and get another hit of nostalgia by looking at almost every story you’ve posted going back to the first half of 2018—but the exact date varies. Instagram launched Stories in August 2016 but apparently didn’t start storing these posts on their servers until two years later. This is why no matter how much you try, you won’t be able to see your first-ever story if it was posted before the archive came online.
To see every story, from the most recent to the oldest available, scroll down on the main Archive screen. But scrolling all the way back to the wee days of 2018 can take a while depending on how active you’ve been on the platform. To save yourself some time, tap the calendar icon at the top of your screen to see your stories sorted in a more easily scrollable calendar format.
You can also tap the third location icon on the right to see the stories on a map. Don’t be surprised if you find some of your stories missing, though—this view will only show the stories you’ve added a location tag to. Use pinching gestures to zoom in and out of the map, and tap on the stories you’re interested in to open them.
So, as 2021 comes to an end, get comfortable and take a look back at your year and the ones that came before. Then, go ahead and create new memories.