Instagram is one of a breed of smartphone apps that tap into the image-based online life of young people. It’s a virtual scrapbook, a never-ending reality show and a platform for sharing the triumphs and mishaps of friends and celebrities alike.
If you’re looking to take a break from social media, it’s easy to delete your account temporarily. Just follow these steps.
How to do it
Whether you’re tired of Instagram or your social media strategy has evolved, there may come a time when you decide to stop using the app. In this case, it’s important to understand the difference between deactivating and permanently deleting an account.
The quickest way to delete your Instagram account is to go to the Delete Your Account page via a web browser. From here, you can select a reason for why you want to delete your account and enter your password to continue.
While you can’t permanently delete an account from the Instagram website, you can use the mobile app to temporarily disable it. You’ll still be able to see your own photos and videos, but anyone else will not be able to find or access them.
Similarly, you can switch your Instagram account type from business to personal without permanently deleting it. Keep in mind that switching to a personal account removes all in-app analytics and insights, so this is only an option when you’re ready for a clean slate. This also makes sense if you’re planning on changing your brand name.
Step 1: Log in
A person’s Instagram profile can only be deleted permanently if they haven’t logged in to it in 30 days. To temporarily disable an account, visit the Instagram website and log in using their username, email address or phone number.
Once logged in, hit the three lines in the top right to see the menu. Then click ‘Temporarily disable my account’. This option isn’t obvious, as it appears below a dropdown menu where users can select other reasons for disabling their account.
Once a user clicks ‘Temporarily disable my account,’ their profile becomes invisible to other people on the platform and can’t be restored. However, it’s still searchable by Instagram employees and the company keeps the data for purposes like investigating terms violations and assisting in harm prevention cases. The data will also be saved on backup systems for 90 days. During this time, Instagram will not delete any posts or Reels. It is important for businesses to request a backup copy of their client’s information before they either deactivate or delete their account. They can do so by visiting their profile and clicking the three lines in the top right to access the menu.
Step 2: Go to Accounts Center
Sometimes you need to take a break from social media. And with Instagram’s temporary deactivation feature, you can do just that. Deactivating your account hides your profile and stops people from seeing your photos, videos, likes, and comments. And when you’re ready to return, just log in.
To deactivate your account, select your profile picture at the bottom right of the app and then tap the three horizontal lines menu icon to go to Settings and privacy. Tap ‘Deactivate account’. You’ll need to reenter your password to confirm.
This process should work on both the iOS and Android versions of Instagram, but your experience may vary depending on your device or software version. If you’re unable to deactivate your account or see the message ‘Weekly limit reached’, try clearing the app cache or restarting your phone.
If you want to delete your account completely, that’s an option, too. But be aware that deleting your account permanently will remove all of your online assets, including photos and videos. So be sure you’re ready to say goodbye!
Step 3: Select the account you want to delete
Perhaps you’re feeling the strain of the current pandemic doom-scrolling (it’s real), the unsettling revelations about how toxic Instagram is for teenage girls, or maybe you just want to make a break from the platform altogether. Either way, you can take a permanent leave of absence (deleting your account forever, like Thanos snapping the universe apart) or a temporary one (deactivating your account).
Disabling an account hides your profile, photos, comments and likes until you reactivate it. However, you’ll lose all data you’ve created and any followers you have accumulated over time.
Deleting an account permanently is the most serious option. You’ll lose your profile, username, content and engagement, and you won’t be able to sign up again with the same name unless you decide to try again in the future. To delete an account on mobile, select your profile icon or three horizontal lines menu icon, tap the ‘See more in Accounts Center’ option, then choose the ‘Personal details’ option and ‘Deactivation or deletion’. It could take 30 days for your account to be deleted from the server.
Step 4: Tap Delete
Sometimes the Instagram app or website can malfunction, especially when stale data causes the system to behave strangely. Try clearing your browser or app cache. This can be a quick fix if the problem persists. Another possible solution is to use a social media management platform like Vista Social that can help you manage your Instagram account in a much more organized way.
It’s worth mentioning that you won’t be able to recover your deleted account once it’s gone. Instagram notes that copies of your photos, videos, Reels, conversations, and stories will remain in backup storage for 90 days, but you won’t be able to access them after this point. The platform also reserves the right to retain your information for other reasons, including terms violations and harm prevention cases.
So if you’re tired of sifting through pandemic doomscrolling or simply want more time for IRL moments with friends and family, it can be a good idea to delete your account temporarily. Just remember that your username won’t be available to anyone else until you sign back up with it again.