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How to delete your Instagram account

Though Instagram is a great way to share your life with family and friends, it can be a little much. If you're looking for a way out, here are the steps to help you delete your account once and for all.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer

Instagram has been a pretty popular social media platform since its release in late 2010, with users young and old taking advantage of the simplicity of sharing photos with others. It has evolved over the years, especially with the adoption of different media formats.

With evolution in content, there's a good chance some users don't find Instagram appealing anymore. I definitely get tired of the influencer content that is shoved into my feed when browsing but I'm pretty neutral on Instagram overall. I post once or twice a week and keep my profile private and limit who I follow and who follows me. 

But deleting Instagram is a good choice for many users. Whatever your reasons, here's how to delete your Instagram account.

How to delete your Instagram account

Instagram logo being erased by pencil eraser
Image: Instagram & Altayb/iStock/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

Step 1: Open Instagram & go to your account

Go to your IG account to access settings
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

You can delete your account from your phone or from your computer. To delete your account, first open the app and log in if you aren't already.

Then tap on the profile icon at the bottom right of your IG app to go to your account.

Step 2: Go to the menu

Choose menu on IG
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Tap on the menu icon on the top left of your screen; this will give you access to settings and your activity.

Step 3: Download your data

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

This menu will appear when you tap on the menu icon on your profile. If you want to download your photos, posts, comments and all of your account information before deleting Instagram, select Your Activity

If you want to continue deleting without downloading your data, move on to Step 4. 

When you go into the menu, select Your Activity, then Download your Information

When you go into the menu, select Your Activity, then Download your Information

Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

After going into Your Activity from the menu, tap on Download your Data. This will bring you to a page with your email address. 

Request download from Instagram
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Tap on the button that says Request Download and Instagram will email you a link to a file that will contain all of your photos, comments, profile info and more. Be advised it can take up to 14 days to get this information to you. 

Step 4: Tap on Settings

Tap on Settings
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

After you've requested your data download (or if you want to skip that step), go back to the menu for your account and select Settings.

Step 5: Select Account

Select Account
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

When the Settings menu comes up, choose Account to access all of your account settings and delete it.

Step 6: Choose Delete Account

Choose Delete Account
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Scroll down to where it says Delete account and tap on it.

Step 7: Delete your account

Choose Delete Account
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Instagram will give you the option to either deactivate your account or permanently delete it. If you are sure you want to permanently delete your account, select the Delete my Account option.

Step 8: Confirm deletion

Confirm Delete Account
Image: Maria Diaz / ZDNet

Because deleting an entire social media account isn't to be taken lightly, Instagram asks you to confirm if you want to delete your account before moving forward.

Also: How to delete yourself from internet search results and hide your identity online


What if I change my mind?

After you confirm that you want to delete your Instagram account, nobody will have access to your posts or be able to find it, effective immediately. However, Instagram gives you a grace period of up to 30 days, during which you can log back in and access your information or stop the deletion process. Just in case you have deletion remorse, if that's a thing.

If you feel unsure about deleting everything from your Instagram account or simply want to take a break from social media, you can simply deactivate your account. Instead of deleting, deactivating your Instagram account will hide it from others until you activate it again by logging back in. To deactivate your Instagram account, simply follow the same steps to delete it, but choose Deactivate Account instead of Delete Account. 

Also: Why you can't trust Instagram

What if I want to come back to Instagram later on?

If you deleted your Instagram account and decide to rejoin the social media network after the 30-day grace period, you're free to sign up again to create a new account. Since the previous account was deleted, your username was up for grabs. But you can use the same one if no one has taken it yet.

Will Instagram really delete all my data?

When you delete your Instagram account, the company says it may take up to 90 days to completely delete all of the content. It also gives the following disclaimer: "Copies of your content may remain after the 90 days in backup storage that we use to recover in the event of a disaster, software error, or other data loss event."

Can I delete my Instagram account on a computer?

At this time, you can only delete your account from the app. However, if you choose to temporarily deactivate your account, you can also do that from a computer. Here's how:

  1. Log in at instagram.com
  2. Go to your profile
  3. Select Settings
  4. On the Edit Profile page, scroll down and click on Temporarily deactivate my account.

Should I delete Instagram?

As with all social media accounts, Instagram can wear on many people's mental health. There's a lot of trending content on Instagram that doesn't align with reality, and that can end up triggering anxiety for a lot of people. Some users find taking a break from social media or deleting it permanently improves anxiety and stress, but ultimately, it's a very personal decision.

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