Instagram mutes downloaded Reels in latest fight against TikTok

Instagram is tired of creators making their videos at Reels and then turning to TikTok. While using the rollers this week, the edge It discovered that when trying to download an edited clip on iPhone, the audio from the clip disappeared. This means that if you want to export the footage from Reels for use in another application, you actually have to publish the Reel first in order to save the audio. As recently as late July, it was possible to download the clip with audio and use it in a separate app – like, say, TikTok – without publishing it first.

Audio was stripped from three iPhones we tested, although exports with audio were still possible with Instagram on Android. Instagram did not respond to multiple requests for comment on whether this was a bug or an intentional change.

Speaking from experienceTikTok’s in-app tools aren’t particularly useful for more advanced editing. TikTok does not allow you to use some filters when starting with footage shot outside the app, nor does it allow you to download unfinished or watermarked clips. (YouTube shorts only Added watermark condition too.)

To get around this, TikTok users can go to Instagram, which has similar features to Reels. You can, for example, use the Instagram green screen effect – which is more flexible in editing than the TikTok version – and then download that clip and send it to TikTok. The creators use this trick as a way to bypass TikTok’s horrible editing tool and as a way to use video features or filters that only exist on Instagram. Or at least it used to be.

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While all of these steps make shooting for creators a little more time-consuming, relying on downloaded Instagram clips was one of the easiest ways to create more dynamic TikTok videos while still using filters. Without the ability to download clips with audio, users now face two options: rely entirely on TikTok’s bad editing software only to use certain features or upload to Instagram Reels.

This change comes on the heels Instagram temporarily rolls back TikTok-esque algorithm changes. But it’s still a sign that Instagram is determined to steal the short video platform’s throne.

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