What Is Safe Zone on Instagram?

Safe Zone Instagram Featured

If you ever tried watching an Instagram Reel or Story but couldn’t grasp its full meaning, as some of the relevant content was hidden behind text or buttons, you’re not the only one. This can feel incredibly frustrating, leaving you with no choice but to swipe away. To avoid this, creators should incorporate Safe Zones when creating Reels and Stories for Instagram. If you’re not familiar with Safe Zones, check out this guide to get acquainted with the concept and ensure key content remains visible.

Good to know: did you know that you can change the color of your Instagram Story background? Learn how.

What Are Instagram Safe Zones?

The term Safe Zones on Instagram is used to identify specific regions on a Reel or Story, where content is least likely to be cropped out or cut off when viewed on various devices.

Reel example with text hidden by Instagram elements.

Safe Zones serve as a guiding principle for creators to strategically place key content elements – including text, images, and other visuals – to ensure optimal visibility across a spectrum of screen dimensions and resolutions.

By adhering to Safe Zones, creators can elevate the viewer’s experience, ensuring that the content is fully visible, leaving no key elements hidden or obscured. Instagram makes it easier to apply all of this when creating Stories and Reels, by conveniently marking out the Safe Zones using lines and grid patterns.

Tip: Learn what to do to get rid of the “Couldn’t refresh feed” error when scrolling on Instagram?

Using Safe Zones for Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories use a vertical 9:16 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. For this content type, the Safe Zone covers a significant area of the screen, snapping up as much as 1080 x 1420 pixels, and it’s slightly more expansive than the one designed for Reels.

Note: when referring to ads, Meta recommends that you leave approximately 14 percent (250 pixels) space at the top and 20 percent (340 pixels) at the bottom free from text, logos, or other key elements to avoid covering them. However, we can extrapolate this guideline to “regular” Stories as well.

To start seeing the Safe Zones, you’ll need to create a new Story. Upload or take a picture/record a video using the Instagram camera – just as you normally would when creating any Story – then start placing additional elements, such as stickers or text.

Creating Instagram Story with Safe Zones visible.

Drag the element across the screen with your finger. If it goes beyond the limits of the Safe Zone, Instagram will indicate this by displaying a line. For instance, when trying to place a sticker too high or too low on the Story screen.

The app provides further assistance, allowing you to center elements you may want to add to your Story.

Tip: learn how to download Instagram Reels on your device to watch later.

Using Safe Zones for Instagram Reels

Like Stories, Reels also takes advantage of a vertical 9:16 aspect ratio, with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. However, in this case, the Safe Zones real estate is a bit more limited.

Note: for ads, Instagram recommends leaving the same 14 percent of free space at the top, while at the bottom the suggested amount is 40 percent.

Creating Instagram Reel with top Safe Zone visible.

To that end, you must pay attention, especially when placing text. There’s a sizable space at the bottom, where Instagram automatically places your account information, caption, and details about any audio used (if applicable). It’s crucial to ensure that your text does not overlap with this area, or viewers won’t be able to read it.

Creating Instagram Reel with bottom Safe Zone visible.

In the lower-right corner, Instagram adds the icons for liking, commenting, and sharing. While you can add elements there, we advise against it, as they may still hide the text or visual elements you want to showcase or confuse the viewer.

Creating Instagram Reel with side Safe Zones visible.

Different Formats

Another aspect to consider is that Instagram crops Reels differently, depending on where they show up in the app. For instance, the profile grid, feed, or Reels section in full-screen mode.

Instagram automatically posts Reels to both your profile grid and a distinct Reels grid, which is why you need to choose a cover for every short clip you create. By default, Instagram generates one for you, but we recommend setting one manually.

Settings a Reel cover in Instagram app.

You can select a snapshot from the video, or upload a more appropriate image that you want to act as a cover. In the main profile view, these thumbnails will show up as 1:1 squares, pulling 1080 x 1080 pixels, specifically from the center of your cover image. This can potentially cut off text or elements if you’re not careful. You should opt for an image where the text is as centered as possible, to account for the various types of cropping. The Reels grid displays videos in vertical thumbnails, so you shouldn’t experience any issues here.

Profile Reels grid view with Reel text cut off.

Some slight differences in how the Reel appears will also manifest, depending on the device you’re using to view the Reel.

To make sure your Reels look good on any device, make an effort to center your main subject when shooting your videos, then place important elements and text in the middle.

FYI: don’t have inspiration right now? Check out this list of Instagram filters that could elevate your posts.

Using Safe Zone Templates

While following Instagram’s Safe Zone suggestions is relatively simple, it may be easier if you used a Safe Zone template instead. You won’t have to worry about arranging your elements perfectly, as they will already be positioned optimally for you.

To start with, check Instagram’s library of Reels templates. You can check our dedicated article to see how to access these templates and use them to create your content. Alternatively, try a third-party app, like Canva (Android, iOS) or Mojo (Android, iOS) for additional templates.

Trending Reel templates are available in the Instagram app.

Alternatively, if you already have a clip you’d like to use as a Reel, make sure that important elements in your video remain visible. Add a Reel overlay to see how the Reel will appear once you post it.

You can use the Flixier online tool to upload your video and add a Reels overlay on top of it. You can also add text, filters, and more, but we suggest using this tool only for simulation purposes.

A look at the Safe Zone overlay in the Flixier tool.

Once you verify that everything looks as you would like, recreate the Reel in the Instagram app. While you can export the video you’ve edited in Flixier, it will feature a watermark. (A subscription can remove that.)

Testing out Safe Zone confines for Reel in Flixier tool.

Tip: learn how to mute someone on Instagram to easily clean up your feed.

How to Create Your Own Instagram Safe Zone Template

If you wish to create your own Instagram template that takes Safe Zones into account, consider exploring CapCut. You’ll need to create an account and a workspace where you’ll be saving your templates for later use. For this example, we’re creating a Reel template using CapCut.

Click on the Create new button, and select the 9:16 option for Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook.

Clicking the "Create new" button in CapCut web version.

Upload your video to the platform.

Using the menu on the left, add additional elements, such as stickers, GIFs or text. These will be added as separate bars on top of your video feed at the bottom.

Adding elements and effects on Instagram Reel created with CapCut.

Press on the TikTok button in the upper-left corner. A TikTok overlay will be applied to your composition. Since TikTok and Instagram Reels have a similar configuration button-wise, this overlay will help you visualize how your Reel will look when posted. To be on the safe side of things, move any text or element a little bit above the TikTok name placeholder.

Clicking TikTok button to reveal overlay in CapCut.

Make sure you save your project to easily find it again when you need to use the template.

To do so, go back to CapCut, access your space, and click your template to open it. (It should be under Drafts.)

Retrieving previously created Instagram template in CapCut.

Click on another video from the gallery to add it to your video feed next to the original video, which you’ll need to delete. Click on it, then press on the trash can icon in the menu above.

Deleting old video from feed in Caput.

Now expand the effect bars so that they cover the length of the existing video. You’ve just reused your template.

Getting ready to export video from CapCut.

Press the Export button in the upper-right corner, and select Download to save it to your device (without a watermark), then upload it to Instagram.

Tip: curious about the new Threads app? Learn how to get started with Instagram’s X alternative.

Elevating Instagram Story and Reels Standards

Now that you know about Safe Zones, you can make sure your Instagram Stories and Reels are always up to par. If you feel like your content still needs some work, check here to learn how to add trending audio to your Instagram posts. Alternatively, learn how to delete one photo from a carousel post or Stories on Instagram.

Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by Alexandra Arici.

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Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici - Staff Writer

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.