Last Updated March 17, 2023
Instagram can be an excellent platform for sharing photos, connecting with friends, and for brands and businesses that have engaging content. But Instagram has been losing value over the last year and market share to TikTok, so you might be thinking about changing gears.
If you're considering deleting your Instagram account, you're not alone. This step-by-step guide provides the steps on how to delete an Instagram account.
Should You Delete Your Instagram Account?
Social media usage has steadily risen since 2017. In 2021, approximately 4.26 billion people worldwide used social media. Statista also reports that over 1.2 billion people use Instagram worldwide.
Every day, people decide to delete their Instagram accounts permanently. They may feel overwhelmed by social media. Perhaps they want to take a break from the app, or Instagram is not enjoyable anymore. If you've decided that Instagram isn't suitable for your business, account deletion is an option.
Is deleting your Instagram account permanent?
Technically, yes. Once your account is deleted, it's gone forever. If deleting your Instagram isn’t the right choice and you want to take a break from the platform, you can disable your Instagram account temporarily.
This will remove your profile from the app, and Instagram will hide all your content from other users. Whether you choose to disable or delete Instagram, the process is simple.
Download Your Instagram Data
Before you start the deletion process or disable an Instagram account, it's essential to download a copy of your account data. This step is optional, but it will allow you to save all your photos and videos you'd like to keep for future reference.
To do this, access your Instagram account by clicking on the hamburger icon and then clicking on the Settings menu in the upper-right corner. This can be done on a web browser or mobile device.
You'll need to select Privacy and Security, scroll down to Data Download, and request the download.
You'll have the option to choose an HTML or JSON file; to confirm the download, you'll need to type in your account password. The process shouldn't take long, but it will depend on how much data you've stored.
Receiving your files could take considerably longer if you download your data from your mobile device. Believe it or not, receiving your files this way could take anywhere from 48 hours to 14 days. Ultimately, you should receive an email with your Instagram Data subject line.
Deleting Your Instagram Account on a Desktop Computer
While deleting your Instagram isn't difficult, not everyone can delete the app similarly. Fortunately, there are different ways to delete your Instagram account permanently. One way is to utilize the Instagram deletion page of the Instagram website in your browser window.
According to Instagram's data policy, Instagram can't delete your account for you; deletion requires you to log in with your account name and password and request deletion.
If you want to download a copy of your files, you need to do that first, as you won't have access to the Data Download option after deleting Instagram.
Next, navigate to the account deletion page and log in like you normally do; same username and password. Once there, you'll need to answer the question from the dropdown menu on the webpage.
Instagram doesn't want you to completely delete your account, they want you to temporarily disable it, so they may present you with a survey or give tips on how to use the app better before giving you the option to delete.
Then, select the button to delete your account permanently once you've responded.
Deleting Your Instagram Account on a Mobile Browser
If you mainly use Instagram from your smartphone, it may work better to delete your account from the iPhone or Android app. To do this, log in, open the Instagram app, and select the Profile icon in the bottom right corner.
From there, you'll need to select the hamburger menu icon and click the gear icon labeled Settings.
Go to the Account portion of the menu and scroll down to Delete Account; Instagram will behave the same on PC and ask if you would rather deactivate your account than delete it.
If you're positive deletion is the best choice for your business, follow through with the account deletion process.
Instagram will ask you once more to confirm that you want to delete your account; confirm and choose the delete option.
Next, answer the mandatory prompt and share why you want to delete your Instagram; be aware that once you click the Delete @username option, there are no second chances, and Instagram will permanently delete your account.
How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account
If you're not ready to delete your Instagram account, you can deactivate Instagram, which will temporarily disable your account while you are on a brief hiatus.
To do this, open Instagram, use your login credentials to access the Instagram app and click the Profile icon. Next, select the hamburger menu icon in the top right corner, select Settings, and go to Account.
Next, you'll want to choose Edit Profile and scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you'll find the Temporarily Disable Account option; from there, choose your reason for deactivating your account and re-enter your password.
Finally, confirm the process by clicking the Temporarily Deactivate Account button.
While deactivated, your Instagram account will remain hidden, you or your business won't appear in search results, and it will remain that way until you reactivate your account.
While deactivated, Instagram data, profile information, photos, likes, comments, and followers will remain intact. Reactivation is simple and involves launching the app and inputting your login credentials; your Instagram account is live again once you do that.
Why Would a Business Delete its Instagram Account?
While it's advised that businesses should have an Instagram account, there are some cases where hitting the delete button on the Meta-owned photo-sharing app may be necessary. A company would want to delete Instagram or deactivate its Instagram account temporarily for several reasons. Some common reasons are:
- No benefits – It could be that the business is no longer utilizing Instagram or found that the social media platform isn't providing them with enough ROI.
- Lousy publicity – It could also be that the business is dealing with negative publicity and doesn't want to be associated with the platform anymore.
- The business is failing – It's likely the company has other more significant issues to worry about, and deleting their Instagram account might be the least of their concerns.
- The business is changing direction – There may be a change in the company's mission or goals, and it no longer makes sense to keep an Instagram account or any social media accounts.
Have a Business Strategy when Deleting Your Account
The critical part to remember is that if you delete an Instagram account permanently, there are no do-overs. So, before you delete or deactivate your Instagram account, make sure it's the best decision for your business.
Confirm that your marketing strategy will survive the deletion, that you are okay with losing the content, and everything is permanently removed. If you delete your Instagram account, you'll have to start from scratch with a new username and profile if you decide to use the social media app again.
It's also important to remember that it may take up to 90 days for your deleted account and your files to be purged from Instagram's system, so don't be surprised if you see mention of your account or content after deleting Instagram.
Once you have decided to delete your Instagram account, it's important to communicate this to your followers. For example, you may post a message on your profile, do an email blast, or make social media posts explaining why you are deleting your Instagram account.
Keep your followers in the loop and tell them you are still around, just not on Instagram.
Understanding Digital Privacy & Social Media
Data privacy is a growing concern in the 21st century. As technology advances, companies like Meta, the parent company of Instagram, have been increasingly exploiting their users' data to gain insights into their behaviors and preferences.
This data is then used to target users with ads and other content, often without their knowledge or consent. Meta has been particularly egregious in their disregard for digital privacy, using sophisticated algorithms to track users' activities across the web, and collecting and storing massive volumes of personal data.
This has resulted in a gross violation of user privacy, with the company collecting data without the user's knowledge or consent. This is another reason it would be acceptable to delete your Instagram account; for legal purposes permanently.
How to Delete an Instagram Account Wrap-up
If your decision to delete your Instagram account permanently is final, the process outlined in this tutorial will make it happen. Make sure you download your Instagram data to have it just in case you need to reference it.
You're not making a bad choice to delete your Instagram account, you need to be okay with the consequences. If you're not ready to assume that, deactivate Instagram, and try living without it. If you succeed, you'll know your next step is to delete it permanently.
Instagram is only one of the social media platforms you might want to remove your data. If you're considering permanently deleting other social media platforms, here are links on how to do that.
Helpful Related Content
Why is there no delete account option on Instagram?
Instagram doesn't make deleting your account easy, but there are options to delete and temporarily disable your account. These options are available using either the website or mobile app.