How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account or Delete Instagram

Hand putting Instagram account mockup through a shredder with Instagram likes around it
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How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account or Delete Instagram: A Quick Guide

If you feel like you need a break from social media, it is okay to deactivate your Instagram account temporarily, or even delete Instagram for good.

We recommend that you download your Instagram data before you deactivate or delete your account.

Follow these steps to deactivate Instagram:

  1. Log in to Instagram on a browser.
  2. Click on your profile picture, choose “Profile” > “Edit Profile.”
  3. Scroll down and click “Temporarily disable my account.”
  4. Choose a reason in the “Why are you disabling your account” section.
  5. Re-enter your password and confirm your decision.

If you want to delete your Instagram account, the process is not very different. Check out the article below for step-by-step instructions.

If you are concerned about your privacy on Instagram, using a VPN can help to safeguard your data. A VPN protects your internet traffic from prying eyes and makes it harder for hackers to breach your privacy. We recommend picking a trusted VPN like NordVPN.

Continue reading the article below for more information about how to deactivate or delete your Instagram account.

Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, with over one billion active users every month.

While this translates to a lot of perfectly curated photos and stories to scroll through, it also makes the platform ripe for scams. Cyberattacks and fraud are rife on Instagram. We’ve reported on several Instagram cyberattacks this year, including a phishing attack that bypasses Gmail’s security filters.

Meanwhile, studies indicate that excessive use of social media platforms like Instagram can adversely affect your mental health. In fact, in 2021, Instagram tried to suppress an internal study that showed the negative effects of the app on teenage girls.

Are you concerned about your privacy? Are flashy influencers grinding on your patience? Do you want to spend less time scrolling through Instagram and focus on improving your productivity?

It may be time to deactivate your Instagram account, or perhaps delete Instagram altogether!

In this post, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to deactivate Instagram temporarily or delete your Instagram account permanently.

Deactivate vs. Delete: Which Is Right For You?

Instagram doesn’t want you to leave, so deleting your account is not your only recourse. You can also choose to deactivate it.

Here are the key differences between deactivating and deleting Instagram.

Delete Your Instagram Account PermanentlyDeactivate Your Instagram Account Temporarily
Deleting your Instagram account is irreversibleIf you deactivate your Instagram account, you can reactivate it at any time just by logging in
When you delete your Instagram account, all your photos, followers, likes, and comments are permanently removedIf you deactivate your account, your photos, followers, comments, and likes are preserved
If you delete your account, you could lose your username if someone else claims itIf you deactivate Instagram, your account is hidden indefinitely, but no one can take your username

Download and Backup Your Instagram Data

Whether you plan to deactivate or delete your Instagram account, we recommend that you grab a copy of all the things you’ve shared on the Instagram app.

How to download your Instagram data on the iPhone and Android app

Here’s how to download your Instagram data on your iPhone or Android device:

  1. Tap on your profile picture in the bottom right corner.
  2. Tap the three lines in the upper right corner.
  3. Select “Your activity.”
  4. To download your account data, click on “Download Your Information.”
  5. Next, click on “Request Download.” You can change the email address shown to have the data sent to another address.
  6. Screenshot of Download Your Data settings panel on Instagram
  7. Enter your password.
  8. Tap “Request Download.”

It can take 48 hours to 14 days to receive your file. You’ll receive an email with the subject line “Your Instagram Data.” Click the link in the email to download your file. The file usually includes your profile information, photos, comments, and other data.

How to download your Instagram data on a computer or mobile browser

If you’re accessing Instagram on a web browser, here’s how to request your data file:

  1. Click your profile picture in the upper right corner.
  2. Choose “Settings” (the small cog icon).
  3. Select “Privacy and Security.”
  4. Scroll down to “Data Download” and click “Request Download.”
  5. Enter an email address to receive the download link, or leave the default email you used to log in.
  6. Choose the format for your data file — HTML or JSON. HTML is relatively easier to use.
  7. Get a Copy of Your Information Instagram panel, computer screenshot
  8. Type in your Instagram password.
  9. Click “Request Download.”

Within 48 hours, you will receive an email titled “Your Instagram Data.” Click the link in the email to download your file.

How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account

Not quite ready to walk away from Instagram? If you feel like a brief separation is all you need, then consider deactivating your Instagram account.

Unfortunately, you can’t deactivate an Instagram account from the iPhone or Android app. You’ll need to use your computer or mobile browser to cut ties with the social media platform.

Here’s how to deactivate your Instagram account on your computer or a mobile browser.

  1. Open a browser window and log in to the Instagram account you want to deactivate.
  2. Click your profile picture in the top right.
  3. Choose “Profile” > “Edit Profile.”
  4. Scroll down and click “Temporarily disable my account.”
  5. Temporarily Disable Your Account Instagram panel screenshot
  6. From the “Why are you disabling your account?” section, select a reason from the dropdown menu. You won’t be able to proceed until you select a reason.
  7. Re-enter your account password.
  8. Click “Temporarily Disable Account” to deactivate your Instagram account.

Your Instagram account will be hidden and won’t show up in search results. Your username, photos, likes, followers, and comments will be preserved.

Note: The moment you log back into your account, it will be reactivated. You can only deactivate your Instagram account once per week.

How to Reactivate Your Instagram Account

If you’ve deactivated your Instagram account but want to access it again, follow these steps.

  1. Launch the Instagram app on your smartphone or tablet, or open Instagram in a web browser.
  2. On the Instagram home screen, enter your login credentials.
  3. Tap “Login” and your account will be restored.

If you change your mind right away after deactivating your account, you may have to wait up to 24 hours before you can reactivate it. Instagram typically takes several hours to complete deactivation requests. Until that process is complete, you won’t be able to reactivate your account.

How to Stay Safe on Instagram

If privacy and safety are the primary reasons you’re considering deactivating or deleting your Instagram account, there are ways to enhance your privacy on the social media platform.

We recommend using a VPN like NordVPN to encrypt your web traffic and hide your IP address from hackers and other prying eyes.

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We have an article on how to tweak your privacy settings on Instagram for improved security. Our article on the most common Instagram scams is also a great resource. If you have kids, check out our guide on how to protect your kids on Instagram.

How to Delete Your Instagram Account Permanently

If you’re ready to completely delete your Instagram account, you’ll need to be on your computer with a web browser. Unfortunately, you cannot delete an Instagram account via the app on iPhone or Android.

Here’s how to delete your Instagram account permanently.

  1. Log in to Instagram on a browser. If you have more than one Instagram account, be sure you are logged in to the account you want to delete.
  2. Go to the “Delete Your Account” page. Unfortunately, there is no menu option to access this page easily, so you need the direct link.
  3. From the dropdown menu in the “Why do you want to delete [account name]” section, select the reason you want to delete your Instagram account. You will be asked for additional information, depending on the option you select.
  4. Delete Instagram Delete Your Account Reason Page Screenshot
  5. When you’re done, re-enter your Instagram account password.
  6. Click the “Permanently delete my account” button.

Your account will be deleted immediately, including all the photos, likes, followers, and comments associated with your account. You should see a message confirming this that reads, “Your account has been removed. We’re sorry to see you go!

For all intents and purposes, your Instagram account has now been deleted. However, Instagram says it may take up to three months for your account data to be completely removed from its servers. Instagram’s Data Policy also points out that some information may be retained on its servers beyond this 90-day window for legal purposes.

Final Thoughts

Instagram can be fun, but it poses a potential risk to your privacy and—in some cases—mental health. There are different opinions about the right way to use social media, but it is clear that taking a break is necessary sometimes.

It is perfectly fine to deactivate or permanently delete your Instagram account. Instagram and all other social media will be there when you are ready to use them again.

If you’re looking to do a social media cleanse, we have articles on how to delete your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Telegram accounts.

How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account or Delete Instagram: Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the FAQ section below for answers to specific questions about how to deactivate or delete your Instagram account.

Since Instagram doesn’t let you delete your account within the app itself, you’ll need to log on to Instagram via a web browser. Once you do, follow these steps to delete your Instagram account permanently.

  1. Go to the “Delete Your Account” page.
  2. In the “Why do you want to delete [account name]” section, choose the reason you are deleting your account.
  3. Re-enter your Instagram password.
  4. Click the “Delete [username]” button.

For more instructions, read our article “How to Delete Your Instagram Account.”

When you delete your Instagram account, all your photos, followers, likes, and comments are gone forever. Your username is also up for grabs. However, when you deactivate your Instagram account, your data is preserved, and you can reactivate your account at any time.

You can only deactivate your Instagram account by logging in via a browser.

Follow the steps below to deactivate your account.

  1. Click your profile picture in the top right corner.
  2. Choose “Profile” > “Edit Profile.”
  3. Scroll down and click “Temporarily disable my account.”
  4. Choose a reason from the “Why are you disabling your account?” section.
  5. Re-enter your password.
  6. Click “Temporarily Disable Account.”

To reactivate your Instagram account, all you have to do is log in via the app or a browser, and it’s done automatically. If you’ve just deactivated your account, you’ll have to wait for 24 hours before you can reactivate it.

Tech journalist
Liz is a professional writer with a special interest in online privacy and cybersecurity. As a US expat who travels and works in diverse locations around the world, keeping up with the latest internet safety best practices remains her priority.
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  1. my spouse needs to cancel her instragram account, she has a sick hacker on her heels that has caused her many problems on facebook and intsagram, it appears that fracebook and instagram
    will or can not stop this hacker, he can use your phone number too, i suggested to my spouse to close her accounts and stay off the social media for a while

    • Beyond deleting social media accounts, we’d also advise changing the passwords on all her accounts (including her email, for example) and putting any socials she would like to keep on “private” and make sure their privacy settings are set up correctly. If there is one specific account on Facebook and Instagram that keeps bothering her, she can also block them and report the account. We hope this helps!

  2. My Instagram account was hacked an now I can’t get in to it to delete it an the hackers are sending msg to my friends on it say I’m in trouble an need money so I need to stop this can any one tell me how to get back in to it then permanently delete thanks

    • If you cannot get into your account to change your password, you can submit a help request.

      1. Open the Instagram mobile app and enter the email address or phone number last used with your account.
      2. Click Forgot password?
      3. Now, select Need more help?
      4. Submit a request to restore access to your account by following the prompts.
      5. Follow the instructions in the article to delete your Instagram completely

      If this doesn’t work, you can also report your account as a fake account to have it deleted indirectly.

      1. Go to the fake Instagram account reporting form in a web browser.
      2. Complete the form provided
      3. Take a photo of yourself holding up your ID. See the full list of accepted ID forms.

  3. When your account has been compromised and you have submitted a deletion request but the hackers keep deleting the request, who can I contact for Instagram HELP!

    • If you cannot delete the account through the account itself, you can report your account as a fake account to have it deleted indirectly.

      1. Go to the fake Instagram account reporting form in a web browser.
      2. Complete the form provided
      3. Take a photo of yourself holding up your ID. See the full list of accepted ID forms.

  4. thank you so much!
    your links to go directly to the delete page really helped !

  5. How can I completely delete my account when the Instagram screen will not allow me past the Birthday update. The options to delete, Right corner and settings do not appear viewable or able to choose them?

    • The option to delete your account is only available through this link. If you click on that, then log in, you should be able to follow the steps mentioned in the article. Simply give a reason for deleting, then enter your Instagrem password and click delete. We hope this helps!

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