One of Instagram’s newest features is one it probably should’ve had years ago: the ability to delete a photo or video from a post that includes several.
So if you’re someone who’s fallen out of love with a picture (or a person) in one of your posts, but haven’t trashed it because you like the other images, now’s your chance to excise that malignant memory like a skilled social media surgeon.
How to delete an image or video from an Instagram carousel
For those unfamiliar with the term, a carousel is a single Instagram Post that features two to 10 images or videos. They’ve been around since 2017, but it was only this week that Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, announced that users can now delete one of those items without deleting the entire post.
We’ll start by noting that you can’t delete one image from a two-photo carousel, potentially because that would make it a single-item post and mess with something inside Instagram, though we can’t say for sure. These steps will only work with a post stocked with at least three pieces of media.
First, go to the post and tap the three dots in the top right corner of your screen. Ignore the bright red “delete” option, hit Edit and scroll to the image or video you want to send to the trash. Now, tap the little trash can icon in the top left corner of the image. Instagram will ask if you really want to scrap it, and you do, so hit Delete to confirm. Your problematic post has been cleansed.
How to recover deleted photos or videos on Instagram
Any deleted items will hang out in a folder deep within your settings for 30 days, and if you change your mind you can recover them before that time runs out. Or you can go in and delete them permanently so you’re not tempted to restore them at a later date.
To find them, go to your main Instagram profile page and tap the three lines in the top right corner. Then go to Settings, Account, and Recently Deleted. Now, tap on the image you want and hit the three dots in the top right. You’ll have two options: Restore and Delete. Deleting anything from the Recently Deleted folder will erase it forever, while restoring it will put it back where it was—kind of.
We say “kind of” because if you delete an image from a carousel and then restore it, the photo won’t go back to its original spot in the lineup. It’ll show up at the very end. This may not matter, but if you’ve carefully curated a group of pictures to tell a specific story or exude a certain aesthetic, this could ruin that. And if that’s a problem for you, just reupload the whole batch—maybe you’ll get more likes this time around.