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How to delete an Instagram account

instagram logo erased
(Image credit: Instagram / Future)

If you've recently become more aware of cookie policies and potential privacy breaches − or are concerned about the type of content shared on a social media platform − then you might want to streamline your online presence. Understanding how to delete an Instagram account is a great place to start. 

Owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), Instagram is a goldmine of personal data that you may not even realize is being shared with third-party services. Plus, with reports of recent Instagram scams (opens in new tab) and privacy invasions often coming to light, now might be a good time to remove yourself from the platform.

Employing the help of one of the best password managers (opens in new tab) will help you to protect your privacy and data, but if you want to go a step further and delete your Instagram account, you’ve come to the right place—read on for three simple steps on how to do so.

How to delete an Instagram account: Preparation

Before pushing the delete button on your Instagram account, it’s worth going through all of the content on your profile and ensuring you’ve backed up everything that you want to keep. Old photos, stories, reels, and videos will be deleted along with your account, so if you’d like to keep these, you’ll need to request to download your data (opens in new tab), which you can do from within the app. 

Head to your profile and click on the menu icon in the upper right. Next, head to Settings, then Security, and then Download Data. You’ll then be presented with the opportunity to enter your password and registered email address. A link to download your data will be sent to your email address within 48 hours. 

While Instagram is a social media platform predominantly used on mobile, there’s unfortunately no way to delete your account through the dedicated phone app. Once you have retrieved your data, in order to begin the deletion process, you’ll need to log in to your account on a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or from within a browser on your mobile phone.

Step 1: Head to the Help Center

To begin the deletion process, log in to your Instagram account via your browser on mobile, laptop, or a tablet then, head to the Instagram Help Center (opens in new tab). You can locate this in your Instagram account browser window by clicking your circular profile image at the top-right of the Instagram toolbar, and selecting Settings from the dropdown menu. Click the Help option at the bottom of the left-hand side menu, and then click Help Center. 

Once in the Instagram Help Center, you’ll be greeted with a variety of help topics, covering Instagram features, managing your account, and privacy settings. Click on Manage Your Account on the left-hand side menu, then choose Delete your Account from the dropdown of options presented.

A screenshot of the Instagram Help Center

You’ll find plenty of information in the Instagram Help Center to assist with a variety of queries. (Image credit: Instagram)

Step 2: Click on Delete your Account

After clicking Delete your Account, you’ll be taken to a page with a few different options to choose from. To discourage people from deleting their accounts and associated data, Instagram offers the option to instead disable your account temporarily. 

If you choose to do this, your account will be temporarily hidden—though it’s worth bearing in mind that your data will still be stored in the Instagram database. You can choose to disable your account for as long as you like, and it will remain hidden until you choose to reactivate it, which is done by simply logging back in to your account.

To continue with the deletion process, however, you’ll need to bypass this information and instead click on the How do I delete my Instagram account dropdown option further down the page. Again, you’ll be presented with information on alternative options, but scroll down slightly to the Request the permanent deletion of your account heading, and you’ll be able to click on the final Delete your Account link, highlighted in blue at the bottom of the page in this screenshot.

The Delete your account page within the Instagram Help Center

Click on the Delete your account link, pictured here at the bottom of the page. (Image credit: Instagram)

Step 3: State a reason for deleting your account

Next, you’ll be taken to a new window on your browser, where you can complete the deletion process. 

Here, you’ll be asked your reason for deleting your account, ranging from Privacy Concerns to Too Many Ads. Select the reasoning behind your request, though keep in mind that—depending on what you select—you will be presented with alternative options once again. 

When you’re ready, you’ll need to re-enter your Instagram password in the box provided, and then click on the delete button that appears to complete the process.

Upon requesting the deletion of your account, your profile and account details will still remain on the Instagram database for approximately a month—though you will no longer be visible on the platform. If you do change your mind during this time frame, you can log back in to restore your account. You’re also free to create a new account again in the future, if you should choose to do so.

A dropdown list of reasons for deleting your Instagram account, on Instagram’s Delete your account page

Click on the delete button to finalize the deletion process. (Image credit: Instagram)

Summary

Meta and Instagram have often come under fire for questionable attitudes towards their users’ data, but deleting your Instagram account will ensure that your content and details remain safe from privacy breaches. Plus, with the process being a relatively simple one, deleting your Instagram account shouldn’t prove too difficult or time-consuming. 

With a month to reactivate your account before final and official deletion, you do have ample time to log back in if you do change your mind. Likewise, the option to create a new account in the future means you could essentially create another account with less personal information, should you choose to do so. 

If online privacy is a growing concern for you, find out how to delete your accounts from any website (opens in new tab) to take back control of your online data.

Chelsea Forsyth
Chelsea Forsyth

Chelsea is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from the London School of Journalism and a passion for lifestyle interests, especially as they intersect with consumer and business technology.