Ever come across an entertaining or informative Reel on Facebook that you wanted to save for later, only to find the “Save” button mysteriously missing? You’re not alone.
Facebook currently doesn’t allow users to locally download Reels from its app and platform. When this essential save feature goes missing, it can certainly be frustrating.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain the reasons why you can’t save Reels on Facebook, and provide helpful workarounds and alternatives so you can still preserve and access favorite Reels.
What are Facebook Reels and How are they Different?
Reels on Facebook are short entertaining videos set to music that users can scroll through and react to, similar to TikTok or Instagram Reels.
Introduced in 2021, Reels aim to encourage more engaging video content on Facebook. They can be recorded natively in the Facebook app or cross-posted from Instagram.
Unlike TikTok or Instagram though, Facebook currently does not allow users to save, download or share Reels to device storage or other apps. There is no “Save” button visible on Facebook Reels.
This restrictive saving policy is the source of frustration for many who want to store favorite Reels. Let’s look at why Facebook lacks this essential feature.
Why Facebook Doesn’t Allow Saving Reels
There are a few reasons why Reel saving capabilities are still limited on Facebook:
- Copyright Concerns: Facebook prioritizes protecting media copyrights, so downloading Reels with licensed music poses legal challenges.
- Licensing Restrictions: Rights-holders may prohibit Reel copying as part of their content licensing deals with Facebook.
- Promoting In-App Engagement: Keeping Reels “trapped” incentivizes engagement like reactions, shares, and comments within the Facebook app.
- New Monetization Strategy: In the future, creators may be able to earn ad revenue from Reels. Disabling saving helps that model.
- Curb Spread of Misinformation: Spreading viral Reels outside Facebook hampers their ability to add context labels to misleading content.
While these reasons are understandable to protect creators and Facebook itself, the inability to save remains a major pain point for users. Let’s look at some possible workarounds.
Workarounds to Save Reels from Facebook
Until download capabilities are officially supported, here are some handy tips to get around the system and save Reels you love:
Using Third-Party Apps and Extensions
Specialized social media tools like Repost for Instagram (iOS) or Social Video Downloader (Android) allow saving Facebook Reels along with other video formats. Simply paste the Reel URL into the app.
Browser extensions like GetSocialVideos or VideoDownloader Professional also work. Enable before playing the Reel and use their download buttons.
Screen Recording the Reel
If on mobile, open the Reel then swipe down from the top to access quick settings. Start a screen recording, then play the Reel. Stop recording to save a copy to your camera roll.
On desktop, use built-in screen recording features on Mac or Windows while playing the Reel in the Facebook browser.
Saving from a Shared Link
If the Reel was shared as a post or via Messenger, click the three-dot menu and “Copy Link”. Paste this link into a browser or document for safe keeping. You can view the Reel again later by clicking the link.
Using Desktop Browser Extensions
Chrome extensions like Video Downloader for Facebook or FBDown allow saving Reels when browsing Facebook on a desktop computer. Click their icon when viewing a Reel to download.
While not as seamless as a native Reel downloader, these methods enable keeping favorite Reels for personal use.
How to Repost and Share Reels You Can’t Download
If you want to showcase a great Reel that you can’t download, you can still repost or share it to give the creator more exposure:
- Tap the Share button below the Reel > Choose Post to repost it to your own Facebook feed.
- Tap Share > Send to forward the Reel to Facebook friends via Messenger.
- Copy the Reel’s link and paste it in a new Messenger chat or Facebook post to share virally even without saving.
- Use the Reactions below the video to give the creator positive feedback.
- Leave an appreciative Comment on the Reel detailing what you enjoyed.
While not permanent, reposting and sharing are a quick way to spotlight Reels you love but can’t yet save locally.
Sending Reels to Friends
Similar to sharing, you can send cool Facebook Reels you discover to your friends so they can see it too.
To send a Reel:
- Tap the Share arrow below the Reel.
- Select Messenger to start a new message.
- Choose the friend(s) to send it to.
- Type a message or react with a sticker to accompany the Reel.
- Hit send and your friend will be able to view the Reel directly within Messenger.
While not technically the same as saving a Reel, forwarding to friends lets them enjoy Reels you want to share outside Facebook.
What To Do When Your Own Reel Can’t Be Saved
Creators wanting to reuse content may find they too cannot save their own Reels after posting to Facebook.
Without the ability to download, your options are limited. But you can:
- Crosspost the Reel to Instagram where you CAN save your own Reels to device.
- On Facebook, tap the three dots on your Reel and “Copy Link”. Paste this to retrieve the content later.
- Screen record your Reel as you play it back in the app.
- Use third party apps connected to your Facebook account to save your Reels.
- Keep the original Reel video file before uploading to Facebook.
While not ideal, these techniques allow creators to retain their Reel content for repurposing.
Who Can Save Reels on Facebook?
At this time, no general Facebook users can natively save Reels, whether their own or others’ creations. This includes both mobile app and desktop users across all account types.
The only exception appears to be Facebook itself and some approved partners. For example, their Anthology archive project relies on collecting viral Reels with consent for sociological research.
But regular personal and business accounts have no special permissions to download Reels within Facebook’s walled garden ecosystem. All users face the same Reel saving limitations currently.
When Will Facebook Add Reel Saving Ability?
Facebook has not officially announced plans to implement Reel saving capabilities. But they did confirm in 2022 that downloading Reels is a “feature they support adding.”
Building the infrastructure to allow video downloads at Facebook’s scale is technically complex. Rights negotiations around licensed music also stall progress.
But given how crucial downloading is for users and competition from TikTok, it’s likely only a matter of time before Facebook enables Reel saving in some form.
The feature may be limited to only user-created Reels at first. Expect it to arrive alongside additional Reel monetization tools for creators.
Facebook Reel Restrictions vs TikTok and Instagram
It’s worth noting that Reel saving limitations are unique to Facebook. On other platforms like TikTok and Instagram:
- Users can save others’ public videos to device camera rolls and galleries.
- Creators can download their own Reels to repost or reuse.
- Sharing or cross-posting Reels externally is fully permitted.
- Third-party apps provide Reel saving options.
This stark contrast to unrestricted downloading on TikTok and Instagram makes Facebook’s Reel restrictions stand out even more. Let’s hope Facebook reassesses its restrictive policies soon for a better user experience.
FAQs About Saving Reels on Facebook
Why can I save Reels on Instagram but not Facebook?
Facebook has more stringent restrictions on downloading due to licensing, copyright concerns, and wanting engagement within their app. But Instagram allows saving as TikTok competition drives feature parity.
Can I appeal if a Reel I shared was removed?
If Facebook takes down your Reel for a saving policy violation, you can appeal the removal through the Support Inbox. But reversible download restrictions are unlikely since they apply universally.
Is it illegal to screen record Facebook Reels?
Technically screen recording falls into a legal gray area. But unless you share illegally, screen recording personal viewing should qualify as fair use and not grounds for account penalties.
Can I use a YouTube downloader to save Facebook Reels?
No existing YouTube downloaders can extract Reels from Facebook. Specialized social media downloading tools are needed that integrate with the Facebook platform and Reel file formats.
Why can I save live videos but not Reels on Facebook?
Facebook permits saving livestreams likely because they are less produced and pose lower licensing risks. But heavily edited Reels with overlayed music bring additional copyright factors that prohibit downloading currently.
Am I allowed to save Reels if I delete later?
No, Facebook’s terms prohibit any temporary saving or caching of Reels too. The only permitted ways to “save” involve sharing links or screen recording playback. Physical downloading is restricted universally.
While inconvenient for eager viewers, Facebook’s restrictive policies around saving Reels exist for understandable reasons – even if other platforms don’t impose such harsh limitations.
Thankfully, workarounds like screen recording and third-party tools offer helpful Reel saving alternatives for now. And hopefully Facebook soon loosens restrictions to add official Reel downloading abilities everyone can benefit from.
In the meantime, leveraging shares, links, and cross-posting lets you continue enjoying and spreading the entertaining Reels you discover. Stay tuned for future updates that may finally allow straightforward Reel saving on Facebook someday.Sharing Is Caring: