How to Pause an Instagram Video Effectively: A Comprehensive Guide to Pause Instagram Reels

By: Val Razo

Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Val Razo

In today’s fast-paced digital world, Instagram reels have become a staple in our daily scroll through social media. These short, engaging videos often capture our attention, but sometimes, we need to pause and take a closer look. Whether you want to appreciate the details of a reel, read a caption, or simply take a moment’s break, knowing how to pause an Instagram reel is an essential skill for any avid user.

In 2023, Instagram continues to evolve, offering new features and functionalities that enhance our viewing experience. One such feature is the ability to pause reels. This may seem straightforward, but there are various ways to achieve this, especially when using the Instagram app on different devices like Android or desktop. Whether you’re watching a video on Instagram, trying to mute the audio, or wanting to rewind to catch something you missed, this article will guide you through the process.

We’ll explore not just the simple tap and hold method but delve into more nuanced techniques like using the screenshot function or utilizing filters to pause a reel. We’ll also address common questions and concerns, such as why sometimes you can’t pause or how to unpause the reel. By the end of this guide, you’ll not only know how to pause but also have a deeper understanding of managing your viewing experience on this popular social media platform.

How to pause an Instagram video

Understanding the Basics of Pausing on Instagram

Instagram, the renowned social media platform, has always been at the forefront of innovation, and in 2023, it continues to enhance user interaction with its features. One of the fundamental functionalities, often overlooked, is the ability to pause an Instagram reel. This simple yet crucial feature allows users to control their viewing experience, be it for better understanding the video content, appreciating a creator’s work, or simply taking a break from the distraction of the video.

When I first started using Instagram reels, I was amazed at how easily I could pause and resume videos. One day, while watching a tutorial on DIY crafts, I paused the reel to gather my materials. With a simple tap and hold on my screen, the video stayed paused as long as I needed, allowing me to follow along at my own pace.

The Basic ‘Pause’ Feature: How It Works

To pause a reel, the most common method used on the Instagram app is to tap and hold your finger anywhere on the video. This action temporarily halts the reel, allowing you to focus on a specific moment. It’s a quick and easy way to stop the video, and as long as you hold your finger on the screen, the video stays paused. Once you release your finger, the reel resumes playing. This method is particularly useful when you’re watching a video on Instagram and need a moment to take in all the details.

Instagram Reels have an average video view rate of 2.54%, outperforming regular Instagram videos. This highlights the growing popularity and engagement of Reels content (Demand Sage).

New Features in 2023: Enhancing User Experience

Instagram is continuously updating its features, and one of the new features that has been welcomed by many is the enhanced pause functionality. This includes the ability to not only pause but also rewind or go forward, giving users more control over their viewing experience. Additionally, for those who prefer watching without sound, the tap on the screen mutes the audio without pausing the video, which is a subtle yet significant enhancement.

The Instagram app on Android has seen specific improvements. For instance, the pause videos on this feature is more responsive, allowing for smoother interaction. Users can also mute the audio or filter through reels more efficiently, adding to the overall user-friendly nature of the app.

In contrast, the Instagram website on desktop presents a slightly different user experience. The way to pause Instagram reels on desktop involves clicking anywhere on the video. While this might seem like a minor difference, it reflects Instagram’s commitment to optimizing the user experience across various devices.

How to Pause Instagram Reels: A Step-by-Step Guide

Navigating through the Instagram app, especially when engaging with the dynamic content of Instagram Reels, can be both exciting and overwhelming. In 2023, with reels becoming increasingly popular, knowing how to pause Instagram reels effectively has become a necessary skill for any Instagram user. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process on different devices, ensuring you can pause and engage with content just the way you want.

Pausing Reels on Android Devices

For Android users, pausing a reel is quite straightforward. When you’re watching a reel and want to pause, simply tap and hold your finger on the screen. The reel will stay paused for as long as you keep your finger on the screen. To resume, just lift your finger. This method is perfect when you’re in the midst of watching a reel and need to take a moment to absorb what you’ve seen or if you want to read the caption or comments in more detail.

Instagram users spend, on average, about 30 minutes each day on the app, engaging actively with various features, including Reels (Demand Sage).

When you're watching a reel and want to pause, simply tap and hold your finger on the screen

Navigating Pause Function on Desktop

The experience of pausing videos differs slightly when using the Instagram website on a desktop. Here, you click anywhere on the video to pause it. This is particularly useful when you’re browsing through the Instagram feed on a larger screen and want to focus on specific content. To unpause the reel, simply click again. This method offers a more traditional video playback experience akin to other video platforms.

Pause Instagram Reels on Android and desktop devices may seem different at first, but they both offer the same level of control and interaction. Whether you’re looking to pause reels on Instagram to take a screenshot, read comments, or just take a break, these methods are both quick and easy to use.

As a fitness enthusiast, I often watch workout reels on Instagram. Recently, I found a particularly challenging routine that I wanted to try. To ensure I got the moves right, I used the pause feature to stop the video at key moments. This made it easier to understand and replicate the exercises accurately.

Tips and Tricks for Pausing Instagram Reels

Navigating through Instagram Reels can be a delightful experience, filled with an array of captivating content. However, sometimes you may wish to pause and savor a particular moment or detail. Here, we explore some useful tips and tricks for pausing Instagram Reels, enhancing your overall experience on this popular social media platform.

Holding Your Finger on the Screen: A Simple Trick

One of the simplest ways to pause an Instagram reel is by holding your finger on the screen. This method, applicable on both the Instagram app and the mobile app, is particularly handy. When you tap and hold your finger on the screen, the reel pauses, allowing you to take in every detail. Whether you’re trying to read a caption, appreciate a visual effect, or just need a moment’s break, this trick works seamlessly.

Pausing Reels While Reading Comments

For many users, reading comments while watching a reel is part of the fun. If you want to pause while diving into the comments, you can do so by simply tapping on the video. This allows the video to pause, giving you ample time to read the comments. Once you’re done, you can tap on the screen again to resume playing. This feature is particularly useful for those who enjoy engaging with the community aspect of Instagram Reels.

A detailed analysis by Marketing Scoop reveals that over 17.6 million hours of Reels are watched daily, which equates to nearly 2 billion hours per year. This staggering number is a testament to the feature’s massive growth and its effectiveness in engaging viewers, particularly in the 25-34 year old demographic which forms over 30% of Instagram’s audience (Marketing Scoop).

If you want to pause while diving into the comments, you can do so by simply tapping on the video

Advanced Techniques: Ways to Pause an Instagram Reel

As Instagram continues to evolve, so do the ways in which users can interact with content. Pausing an IG Reel might seem straightforward, but there are advanced techniques that can enhance your experience, especially when you want to engage with the content more deeply. In this section, we explore some of these advanced methods to pause an Instagram Reel in 2023.

Utilizing the Screenshot Method

A popular technique among Instagram users, particularly those who frequently open Instagram to enjoy short videos, is the screenshot method. This technique not only allows you to actually pause the reel but also to capture a specific moment. To use this method, pause the reel by tapping and holding on the screen, then take a screenshot. This is exceptionally useful for saving memorable moments, creating references, or sharing content outside of Instagram. It’s a way to keep a record of the content whenever you want, preserving it for as long as you want.

Exploring Trending Methods to Pause Reels

In 2023, with users continually seeking how-to guides and FAQs, new trends are always emerging on Instagram. This includes innovative ways to pause reels. Some users have discovered that by tapping and holding in a certain way, or by using specific gestures, they can pause videos more effectively. These methods often become popular through user-shared tutorials or tips within the Instagram community. For instance, when watching a reel while reading comments, this technique can be particularly useful, allowing you to take your time to engage with both the video and the community interaction.

Moreover, for those who want to pause an Instagram reel for 60 seconds or more, understanding these nuances can be crucial. By placing your finger on the screen and using these advanced techniques, you can control the playback of the reel, pausing it whenever you want and for as long as you want. This is particularly beneficial for content creators or users who wish to analyze a reel more closely, be it for inspiration or entertainment.


As we’ve explored in this comprehensive guide, learning how to pause an Instagram reel offers more than just a break in viewing; it provides a gateway to a richer, more interactive experience on one of the most popular social media platforms. From the basic tap-and-hold method to advanced techniques like utilizing screenshots or exploring trending methods, the ability to pause, rewind, and engage with content at your own pace is invaluable.

In 2023, with continuous updates and new features being added to the Instagram app, understanding these functionalities is crucial for any Instagram user. Whether you’re using an Android device, browsing on desktop, or engaging with the mobile app, these skills enhance your ability to control your viewing experience, dive deeper into the content, and connect with the Instagram community in meaningful ways.

Remember, each update or new feature introduced by Instagram aims to improve user experience. Staying informed and adapting to these changes will ensure that your interaction with Instagram Reels remains seamless and enjoyable. So, the next time you find yourself captivated by a reel, don’t forget the power of a simple pause – it might just transform your viewing experience.

How to pause an Instagram reel

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the pause icon work in Instagram Reels?

The pause icon in Instagram Reels appears when you tap and hold the screen while watching a reel. This icon indicates that the video is temporarily stopped, allowing you to focus on a specific part of the reel. To resume, simply lift your finger off the screen.

Can I pause Instagram videos while browsing on platforms similar to Instagram, like TikTok?

Yes, platforms like TikTok also allow you to pause videos, generally by tapping and holding the screen, similar to Instagram. However, the specific functionalities may vary slightly, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with each platform’s unique features.

Is there a way to easily pause Instagram videos while reading comments without missing the content?

Absolutely! You can pause an Instagram video or reel by tapping and holding on the screen, which allows you to read comments without missing any part of the video. Once you’ve finished reading, lifting your finger will resume the reel right where you paused it.

Can I control the duration for which an Instagram Reel is paused?

Yes, you have complete control over the duration of the pause. The reel will remain paused for as long as you keep your finger on the screen. This feature is especially helpful if you need more time to view or understand a particular segment of the reel.

What are some reasons why I might want to pause an Instagram Reel?

There are several reasons to pause a reel: to better appreciate the creator’s work, to understand the content more deeply, to read comments or captions, or to take a moment’s break from continuous viewing. Pausing also helps if you want to take a screenshot or share a specific moment from the reel.

Author Bio

Val Razo

Val Razo is a skilled professional in the field of Instagram Marketing. With over five years of experience as a freelance Social Media Marketing consultant, Val has assisted numerous small and medium-sized businesses in achieving their goals.