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  • How to Delete Your Instagram Account Permanently (+How to Deactivate or Reclaim It)

You’re done with Instagram. Maybe your Instagram account has been shadow banned or the target of harassment. Maybe there’s an outdated Instagram profile that no longer serves your purposes. Or maybe your marketing strategy no longer includes Instagram, and you want to focus on other platforms.

Delete Instagram 0- meme with a fluffy dog

We’ve created an in-depth guide covering how to delete your Instagram account, why you should hit the delete button, and when you should consider deactivating your account instead.

But hold up for just one second. Regardless of why you want to delete an Instagram account, don’t forget to backup all your data. Deleting your account will permanently erase your profile, photos, Reels, videos, comments, likes, followers, and saved posts.

Deleting an Instagram account is actually pretty simple. Making the decision to delete your Instagram profile is another.

What to know before you delete an Instagram account

Deleting an Instagram account is a decision you can never take back. If you have any concerns, temporarily deactivate your account instead.

When you delete your Instagram account, you lose your data—including your posts, followers, and activity—as well as your username. That means that another company or individual could use your current username in the future.

Another option is to make your Instagram account private. People can find private accounts in search results, but they will not be able to see your posts, likes, comments, Reels, and activity. However, your current followers would still be able to see your posts and comments. That could buy you some time to regroup while you figure out your social media marketing strategy.

When to delete an Instagram account

Deleting an Instagram account is a serious move. You should only delete an Instagram account if you feel that it’s best for your business. If you have any doubts, deactivate your account instead (we’ll show you how in a bit). You can always delete your account permanently later.

Your target audience isn’t on Instagram

Posting on Instagram takes time, creativity, and strategy. But your target audience isn’t seeing it. You’re not landing new clients or sales. You’re not getting the engagement you expected. If that effort isn’t paying off, it’s demoralizing and hard to keep going.

If you’re not sure why your social media posts aren’t performing, you may want to revisit your Instagram marketing strategy. Audit your Instagram presence and performance and take a look at what your competitors are doing. Our free social media audit template is the perfect starting point as you take action.

But if you ultimately decide that Instagram isn’t a part of your future marketing strategies, then delete or deactivate your account.

delete Instagram - Steps in a social media audit

You’re streamlining your social media accounts

Your business doesn’t need to be on every social media platform. While being on multiple social media platforms distributes your message to different audiences and expands your reach, it also stretches your availability. For many small businesses, keeping up an active profile on multiple accounts is hard to do.

Six in 10 Instagram users visit the site every day, but they may not include the demographic you’re targeting. For example, Insider Intelligence estimates that 61% of Gen Z uses TikTok once a month.

No matter what platform you choose to focus on, remember: quality over quantity. Focus on sharing helpful, actionable advice and information that your audience will be interested in.

Managing your account is too hard

Keeping up with several social media accounts (along with everything else) is tough.  There are ways to make it a little less time-consuming. Try a few of these methods to save time and increase engagement:

  • Set reasonable social media goals along with a timeline and plan.
  • Create a content calendar so you can evenly distribute your posts and think ahead about what you want to post.
  • Use an Instagram content planner like Planoly or Hootsuite to schedule future content when you have the chance.
  • Instead of focusing on posting, pivot to engaging with people by commenting on other business profiles.
  • Look at inspiration to get ideas for content to post.
  • Outsource your social media marketing to let the experts manage your social media accounts and grow your audience.

Delete Instagram - screenshot of an Instagram exchange with McDonalds

If these tactics still leave you feeling overwhelmed, then it may be time to deactivate or delete your Instagram account.

You’re facing cyberbullying, harassment, or threats

Businesses and individuals can both face cyberbullying, cyberstalking, harassment, threats, and virtual humiliation.

Depending on your situation, you may need to seek legal counsel, work on reputation management, respond to negative criticism, or even admit to wrongdoing. You’ll also need to understand why you’re facing harassment and attacks, so you’ll need to monitor your online presence and social media accounts. In the meantime, shutting down your Instagram temporarily with deactivation or permanently with a deletion may be a good idea.

You have multiple Instagram accounts

If your business launched multiple Instagram accounts for whatever reason, shutting down one (or more) of them is a smart idea. Multiple accounts may confuse your audience, especially if they aren’t authenticated with a blue check mark. Plus, trying to manage multiple accounts is a huge time drain.

Additionally, shutting down accidental accounts helps your brand. If there’s an old account floating around because it was made years ago, or an accidental account exists because a staff member made a mistake, then you definitely need to delete it.

The business no longer exists

If the small business is gone, then there’s no need for an Instagram account. Likewise, if there’s an Instagram account representing a failed part of the business, it needs to be deleted.

For example, an Instagram account solely promoting an annual tree-planting event that no longer happens should be deleted. That information could confuse audience members and make them ask about an event that no longer exists.

You’re being shadow banned

If your account is being shadow banned, you may want to consider leaving the platform. However, you should ensure that you’re doing everything you can to avoid being shadow banned, and you can fix an existing shadow ban.

On Instagram, you can check to see if you’ve been shadow banned on mobile:

  1. Hit the three lines to see the menu.
  2. Click “account.”
  3. Click “account status.”

Delete Instagram - screenshot of an account page on Instagram

How to back up your info before deleting an Instagram account

Before deleting an Instagram account, you need to back up your information. This way you have access to all your data in case you need it in the future.

To back up your information on mobile, do the following:

  1. Go to your profile and then hit the three lines in the top right.
  2. Then click “your activity.”
  3. Next, scroll down and hit “download your information” to download a copy of your account.
  4. Enter your email address and click “request download.” It can take up to 30 days to receive this information.

Delete Instagram - the information backup page on Instagram

To back up your information on your desktop:

  1. Click the three lines on the bottom left corner and click “settings.”
  2. Then click “privacy and security.”
  3. Scroll down to “data download” and click “request download.”
  4. Make sure that the email is correct and choose your preferred information format (HTML or JSON).
  5. Click next.
  6. Enter your Instagram password.
  7. Hit “request download.”

How to temporarily deactivate your Instagram account

Instead of permanently deleting your Instagram account, you can temporarily deactivate your account. This allows you to temporarily pause Instagram and have your account completely hidden from public view. When you temporarily deactivate your account, your entire Instagram profile including your Instagram Reels, photos, activity, and Instagram profile will be hidden. You can only deactivate your account once a week.

To temporarily deactivate your Instagram account on mobile, do the following:

  1. Click the three lines in the top right corner.
  2. Click “settings.”
  3. Then click “account” and scroll to “delete account.”
  4. Click “deactivate account.”

Delete Instagram - The account deactivation page on Instagram

To temporarily deactivate your Instagram account on your computer:

  1. Click the three lines on the bottom left corner and click “settings.”
  2. Scroll down and click “temporarily deactivate my account.”
  3. Select an option from the dropdown menu to answer the question “why are you deactivating your account?” You cannot skip this step.
  4. Re-enter your password.
  5. Click “temporarily deactivate account.”

How to delete Instagram accounts

When you delete your Instagram account it is permanent. Your profile photos, Instagram bio, videos, photos, Instagram Reels, likes, and followers will all be deleted. You will not be able to recover any of this information. In the future, you can create another Instagram account with the same email address but you may not be able to reclaim your username.

To delete your Instagram account on mobile, do the following:

  1. Click the three lines in the top right corner.
  2. Click “settings.”
  3. Then click “account” and scroll to “delete account.”
  4. Instagram will prompt you to deactivate your account instead of deleting your Instagram account. Click “delete account.”

To delete your Instagram account on your computer:

  1. Go to the “delete your account” page. You will need to be logged in.
  2. Select an option from the dropdown menu to answer the question “why do you want to delete [account name]?” You cannot skip this step.
  3. Re-enter your password.
  4. Click “delete [username].”

How to reclaim your Instagram account

Once your Instagram account is gone, it’s gone forever. However, the good folks at Meta give you a 30-day grace period to change your mind.

If you decide to reclaim your account within 30 days of deleting it, just log back in using your normal credentials. You’ll get a popup asking if you’d like to keep the account. Click “Keep Account” and you’re back in.

But remember, after 30 days it’s so long Instagram.

The low down on deleting an Instagram account

Instagram is a powerful marketing tool for many businesses. But there’s a reason the platform has a procedure to let you delete an account. Sometimes you just don’t need it.

While making the decision to exit Instagram, remember:

  • Once you’ve deleted an account, anyone can pick up that username
  • You lose all of posts, pictures, and Reels once you delete the account
  • For other options instead of deleting, you can go private or temporarily disable your Instagram account
  • Make sure deleting your account is best for your business

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