Sometimes you just need a break from Instagram. If you’re ready to delete your Instagram account, you can deactivate or delete it from either a computer or mobile device. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps involved and also break down the difference between deactivation and deletion.

Deactivating/Deleting Instagram

Malak Saleh

Deactivating vs. deleting Instagram

Deletion is for people who want to permanently remove their account from Instagram. Deletion will not only make your account vanish from the platform, but it means all your likes, photos and videos will be permanently stripped. So if you had a photo where you tagged other accounts , that photo will no longer show up under your friends’ tagged tabs, for example. It’s important to note that deleting your account is irreversible.

In contrast, when you deactivate your account your likes, photos and videos will temporarily be hidden until you reactivate your account. While reactivating your account is as simple as logging back into the app, if you delete your account and decide to return to the app, you will have to create a new account entirely. You can only deactivate your account once a week, meaning if you deactivate your account then decide to relog in within that window, you won’t be able to hide your profile again.

How to permanently delete Instagram

In Instagram’s iOS and Android apps, deleting your account is all done through the Settings page. To start, go to your account’s page and tap the icon with three horizontal lines at the top right corner of the screen. Tap the Settings and privacy icon in the dropdown menu at the top of the list. Once you select that icon, you will navigate to a new page with a full list of tools. At the very top of the new Settings page, tap Accounts Center, then select Personal details under Accounts settings. A new page will appear showing your contact information and birthday. Tap “Account ownership and control”’ and then a new tab that reads “Deactivation or Deletion” will appear.

Settings and privacy screen grab

Malak Saleh

If you have more than one Meta account registered to your Instagram, you will have to choose which account you want to deactivate or delete. After you select the profile you want to manage, a new page will open showing you your options. Instagram lets you choose between deactivating or deleting at this point. The page you’re looking at here includes an explanation of the difference between permanently deleting or deactivating your account.

To wit, Instagram will remind you that deleting your account is permanent and that your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes and followers will be permanently removed from the app. Once you tap “Delete account,” a drop-down will appear asking you why you are removing your account. You can select which reason applies to you, such as “Too many ads” or “Too busy/too distracting.” If you do select certain options, such as “Privacy concerns,” Instagram will share articles available through its Help Center designed to address your concerns and persuade you to keep your account active.

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Malak Saleh

How to delete or deactivate your Instagram account from a web browser

If you prefer using Instagram on your computer (who does that?!), deleting or deactivating your account from a web browser might be easier for you.

To delete your Instagram account from a computer, the instructions are pretty much the same as when you take action on your mobile device, but some of the drop-downs are in different places. If you’re on the Feeds page, select that same icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom left corner of your page. You can also take the same initial step from your profile page and tap the Settings icon in the top right corner of your profile. Either way, you will automatically end up on the Settings page or you can tap to select it from a drop-down after selecting the More button.

screengrab of deleting

Malak Saleh

Tap Account Center and a menu will appear showing you the singular or multiple profiles you manage and all the tools on one page. Instead of selecting “Personal details” as you would on a mobile device, tap “Your information and permissions,” which will open up three drop-down menus, one of which reads “Deactivation or deletion.” Tap and then select the profile you want to deactivate or delete, then select which action you want to proceed with.

Either way, you will be prompted to write your password for that profile if you select to deactivate or delete the account. Finally, you will need to select a reason for deleting or deactivating the account, and then you’re done. Once you select the reason, for a second time, Instagram will ask you to confirm deletion and give you a date that your account details will be permanently deleted off of the platform.

Again, after your request goes through, it can take Meta up to 30 days to delete the account and affiliated information permanently. Meta does warn that during the 30 days pass, your content will remain subject to Instagram’s privacy policy, but your information and profile will not be accessible to other people using Instagram. It also is worth noting that it can take up to 90 days for the deletion process to finish after it gets initiated. So if you’re really trying to disappear, it could take a while.

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Malak Saleh