How to Delete Your Instagram Account Permanently

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

If you are ready to permanently pull the plug on Instagram, you can easily delete your account. Before you do, though, know that this is an action that cannot be undone. Also, if you don’t first download your data, all the photos you shared on the social media app will be gone forever.

To delete your Instagram account:

  1. In a web browser, log into the Instagram account you want to delete. You cannot delete your account from within the Instagram app.
  2. Go to the Delete Your Account page, or follow this link to permanently delete your account.
  3. In the Why do you want to delete [account name] section, choose the reason you are deleting your account.
  4. Re-enter your Instagram password.
  5. Click the Delete [username] button.

If you only want to take a temporary break from Instagram, you can deactivate your account instead. Read our full article for everything you need to know about downloading your Instagram data, deleting or deactivating your account, and reactivating it if you change your mind.

Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms in the world, with more than one billion users actively using the app every month.

That’s a lot of perfectly curated photos and stories to scroll through. It also makes the platform ripe for scams. Numerous studies have shown that excessive use of social media platforms like Instagram can adversely affect your mental health. In fact, the company recently tried to suppress an internal study that showed the negative effect Instagram had on teenage girls.

If you don’t want to constantly bother about flashy influencers and wish to regain your time, deleting your Instagram account is probably a wise idea. When it all gets too much and you want to take a step back from the ‘Gram, a digital breakup might be in order.

You can make that breakup temporary or permanent. It is totally up to you.

Deactivate vs. Delete: Which Is Right For You?

Instagram doesn’t want you to leave the platform right away, so it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Instagram gives you two options – permanently deleting your account or temporarily deactivating it.

Here are the key differences.

Delete Your Instagram Account PermanentlyDeactivate Your Instagram Account Temporarily
Deleting is permanent and cannot be undoneWhen deactivating, you can reactivate your account at any time just by logging in
When deleting, all your photos, followers, likes, and comments are permanently removedWhen deactivating, your photos, followers, comments, and likes are preserved
When deleting, you could lose your user name if someone else claims itWhen deactivating, you can hide your account indefinitely and not lose your username

Download and Backup Your Instagram Data

Whether you plan to deactivate or delete your Instagram account, it is a good idea to grab a copy of all the things you’ve shared on the social media app. That way, no matter what happens, you have a safe copy of all your current data.

How to download your data depends on the device you’re using.

How to download Instagram data on iPhone and Android

If you’re wondering how to delete an Instagram account on iPhone or an Android device, do the following:

  1. Tap on your Profile Picture in the bottom right corner.
  2. Tap the three lines in the upper right corner.
  3. Select Settings > Security > Download Data.
  4. Enter the email address where you want to receive the link to your data file.
  5. Screenshot of Download Your Data settings panel on Instagram
  6. Tap Request Download.
  7. Enter your password.
  8. Tap Next > Done.

It can take up to 48 hours to receive your download file. You’ll receive an email with the subject line “Your Instagram Data”. Click the link in the email to download your file.

How to download 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.
  3. Select Privacy and Security.
  4. Scroll down to Data Download and click Request Download.
  5. Enter the email address to receive the download link.
  6. Choose the format for your data file – HTML or JSON.
  7. Get a Copy of Your Information Instagram panel, computer screenshot
  8. Type in your password.
  9. Click Request Download.

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

How to Delete Your Instagram Account Permanently

If you’re ready to pull the plug for good on your Instagram habits, you’ll need to be on your computer or a mobile browser. Unfortunately, you cannot delete an Instagram account on iPhone or Android via the Instagram app.

Here’s how to delete your Instagram account permanently.

    1. Log in to Instagram on the web. 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. Note that there is no menu option to easily access the account deletion page. To get there, you have to follow the link to permanently delete your account.
    3. From the dropdown menu in the Why do you want to delete [account name] section, select the reason you want to permanently delete your Instagram account. You will be prompted with additional information, depending on the option you select.
    4. Delete Instagram Delete Your Account Reason Page Screenshot
    5. Re-enter your Instagram password.
  1. Click the Delete [username] button.

Your account will immediately be hidden from view and will be permanently deleted 30 days later, including all photos, likes, followers, and comments associated with your account.

Throughout the 30-day period, if you change your mind about deleting your account, you can log back into Instagram to stop the account deletion process.

How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account

Not quite ready to totally walk away? If you feel like a trial separation from Instagram is all you need, then consider deactivating your Instagram account. Unfortunately, you can’t deactivate Instagram on iPhone or Android using the Instagram app. You’ll need to use your computer or mobile browser.

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, choose a reason from the dropdown menu. You won’t be able to proceed until you select a reason.
  7. Re-enter your password.
  8. Click Temporarily Disable Account.

Your Instagram account will be immediately hidden and not discoverable via search or other means. Your user name, photos, likes, followers, and comments will all be preserved.

How to Reactivate an Instagram Account

If you previously deactivated your Instagram account but now want it back, 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 the login credentials associated with your deactivated account.
  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.

Final Thoughts

Instagram is a fun social media app that lets you share photos and stories with friends and followers. However, sometimes you can go into Instagram overload. Protecting yourself or your kids on Instagram can feel like too much of a burden.

When this happens, it is perfectly fine to take a temporary break or permanently delete your Instagram account.

Instagram, or the next social media craze, will always be there if and when you are ready to return.

Frequently Asked Questions About Deleting Your Instagram Account Permanently

Didn’t find what you were looking for in the article? Have a different question? Read on for the most common questions we get about deleting an 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, meaning anyone else can claim it after your account is deleted.

When you deactivate your Instagram account, you put your account in a state of hibernation. It isn’t discoverable, but all your data is preserved. You can reactivate your Instagram account at any time.

Read our full article for step-by-step instructions on how to do either.

Instagram doesn’t permit you to deactivate your account via the Instagram app on your smartphone. Follow these instructions to deactivate your account.

  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. From the Why are you disabling your account? section, choose a reason from the dropdown menu. You won’t be able to proceed until you select a reason.
  6. Re-enter your password.
  7. Click Temporarily Disable Account.

If, after you deactivate your Instagram account, you change your mind, it’s easy to reactivate. Note there might be a delay since it can take Instagram up to 24 hours to deactivate/reactivate an account.

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