How to Deactivate (or Delete) Your Instagram

How to Deactivate (or Delete) Your Instagram

If your New Year’s resolution to stay off Instagram hasn’t been going as well as you’d hoped, you have a nuclear option: account deletion. If that sounds frighteningly permanent, you can also simply deactivate your account, which is more of a nuclear-lite option. Let’s go over a few things to consider before you make the choice.

ow to deactivate Instagram (and what it does)

Before we get into how to deactivate or delete an Instagram, here’s some free advice: Download your Instagram data. Do this by going to your profile and hitting the three-line menu in the top right. From there, press “Your activity,” scroll all the way to the bottom, and tap “Download your information.” You’ll be prompted on the next page to “Request a download.” It’s always good to have a copy just in case something goes wrong with your account, plus you might want to look back on it while your account is deactivated (or especially if you delete it).

Now, onto the deactivation. From that same three-line menu you tapped before, choose “Setting and privacy,” then “Accounts Center.” Next, you’ll hit “Personal details,” then “Account ownership and control.” You’ll see a button for “Deactivation or deletion.”

Instagram Account Ownership and Control

Credit: Lindsey Ellefson/Meta

Depending how many other accounts you have linked under your main one, you may see a few options here. I, for instance, see my personal Facebook (but not my professional one, for some unknown reason), one of my creeping accounts, and my primary Instagram account. Hit the one you want to deactivate. 

Accounts list on Instagram

Credit: Lindsey Ellefson/Meta

Deactivating means that your profile will basically disappear. I know people who do this all the time, only to reinstate it when they’re ready. Everyone who follows you will see their following count go down by one. You won’t be searchable. It’s like you don’t exist—except you can log back in at any time and reappear, with none of your data missing. If you just want a little break from the app or you’re not really sure you want to delete it, this is your best option.

How to delete an Instagram account

The steps for deletion are the exact same as the steps for deactivation. When you tap your profile from the list, you get two options: Deactivate account and delete account. It looks like this:

Instagram delete or deactivate an account

Credit: Lindsey Ellefson/Meta

Only do this if you really want to wipe the whole account forever. Your username will free up for someone else. Your photos will be gone forever. Adios. Goodbye to all that. 


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