Safeguard your Instagram account

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Safeguard your Instagram account

Enhance online privacy with Norton 360 Deluxe's built-in VPN.

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How to delete or deactivate your Instagram account: Step-by-step guide

A woman on a couch with a smartphone, finding out how to delete an Instagram account

In a time where privacy concerns may be on your mind, knowing how to regain control of your online presence is paramount. This article will walk you through the steps to delete or deactivate your Instagram account, highlighting the key differences between the two. Whether for enhanced privacy or a break from the digital world, we've got you covered. Plus, for comprehensive online security, consider Norton 360 Deluxe to help you take charge of your online identity and security.

Should I delete or deactivate my Instagram account? 

There are numerous motives that may lead you to consider deleting your Instagram profile.

Firstly, you might find that it has become all-consuming, pushing your daily screen time beyond reasonable limits.

Alternatively, you may have experienced identity theft or fallen victim to malware, often through your Instagram account, typically due to phishing attacks that trick individuals into clicking on infected links.

Knowing your intentions is crucial because it informs whether you should delete or just deactivate your Instagram account. Instagram offers two options for account closure: deactivation and permanent deletion. These options carry distinct meanings, so it is important to comprehend the differences and select the one that aligns with your desired action

Deactivation temporarily disables your Instagram account but allows for reactivation at any time. While your profile is deactivated, it will not be visible to other users, but certain data and content related to your account, such as tagged photos or direct message conversations, may still be accessible. Additionally, third party web trackers will retain access to data associated with your Instagram account.

If you intend to return to Instagram in the future, deactivation is a more suitable choice than permanent deletion. Below are the steps you need to take to deactivate an Instagram account.

How to deactivate an Instagram account – a step-by-step guide

1. Sign into the account.
2. Click on the profile picture icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
3. Choose Settings & privacy from the drop-down menu, and you’ll be directed to a new page.
4. Click See more in Accounts Centre, and Personal details on the page that follows.

Screenshot of your your Meta account settings to find See more in Accounts Centre when starting to delete Instagram account

5. Select Account Ownership and Control from the sub-menu.
6. A dialogue box will then open, asking you to choose between Deactivation and Deletion or Memorialisation (an option for an Instagram account allowing the account of a deceased person to be preserved as a memorial, and preventing unauthorized access or changes.)
7. Then choose between delete or deactivate.Choose Deactivate account and press Continue.
8. Re-enter your Instagram account password to prove you are the owner of the account.
9. Then choose from a list of reasons why you’re deactivating, and propose alternative solutions to try and get you to stay.
10. Proceed with deactivation.
11. Press Deactivate Account in order to complete the process.

Since this process doesn’t remove or protect the data you have on Instagram it might not be the option you’re looking for.

To enhance your social media security and privacy without losing access to your Instagram account, consider Norton 360 Deluxe.

Featuring a built-in VPN for increased online security, it safeguards your online privacy even on untrusted networks.

Additionally, enjoy real-time threat detection, comprehensive device security, and the convenience of a secure password manager.

Norton 360 Deluxe goes further by protecting your webcam from unauthorized access with SafeCam for PC and offering cloud backup for crucial files. Families can benefit from parental controls, ensuring a safer digital environment for children's online activities.

But what if you want to delete your Instagram account permanently?

You always have the nuclear option instead: deleting an Instagram account permanently.

Keep in mind that once you proceed with this step, there's no turning back. Your Instagram profile will be irreversibly lost forever, including any photos, videos, posts, comments, and messages that you haven't already downloaded or saved elsewhere.

Nevertheless, permanently deleting your Instagram account is a significant step towards reducing your digital footprint on the web, limiting the data that the social media platform generates for third-party trackers. While it won't retroactively remove all historical data, it will cease the creation of new data for data harvesters to collect.

You’ll never have to worry about your private data being shared through that account again, Instagram tracing your private conversations in the interests of advertisers or, in more extreme cases, malicious actors targeting you through the platform.

Even the data from other related but inactive Instagram accounts will be deleted as well. If your children’s accounts are linked to yours, this action will remove all their private data that Instagram collects and stores about them.

Read on to see how you can fully disable your Instagram account

How to delete an Instagram account – a step-by-step guide

  1. Follow the same initial steps as those for account deactivation (see the previous section of this article)
  2. Choose Delete account when asked to choose between deactivate or delete and press Continue.
  3. Re-enter your Instagram account password to prove you are the owner of the account.
  4. Instagram will prompt you to choose a reason why you’re taking this action.
  5. Press Delete Account and then re-enter your Instagram account password to complete the process.

The process of deleting your account on Instagram may take up to 90 days to complete. During this period, certain elements such as photos, videos, posts, and data could remain accessible online.

You have the option to reverse the deletion and reactivate your account within 30 days of the process initiation. Simply log into your Instagram account and click on "Cancel Deletion."

How to delete your Instagram account from your phone

The process of how to remove Instagram from your phone works slightly differently from deleting your account on a desktop browser, as it typically involves the Instagram app too.

There are also some variations between the steps for deleting an Instagram account on an Android phone and the steps for deleting an iPhone.

How to delete your Instagram account on Android

1. Open the Instagram app on your Android phone.
2. Tap your profile picture icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
3. Press the menu button in the top-right, which shows three horizontal lines.
4. Scroll down the menu that appears and select Settings and Privacy.
5. Tap on Accounts Centre, and Personal details in the new menu that appears.

Screenshot of Accounts Centre, and Personal details when deleting your Instagram account on Android

6. Tap Account Ownership and Control from the sub-menu that appears.
7. Choose Deactivation and Deletion from the two options you’re presented with, and confirm which account you’re looking to delete.

To delete an instagram account on a computer browser just follow the same steps as explained above.

And just like deleting your Instagram account on a computer, this action makes your profile and all related content and data disappear altogether.

The account will not only cease to be accessible on your Android device but will also be permanently inaccessible from any location.

Now that you've deleted your Instagram account, there are other important steps you can take to strengthen your online privacy, such as getting a dedicated Android security app. Norton Mobile Security for Android provides layers of protection to ensure your online activities remain secure and private.

For example, you can ensure your children’s safety while they browse Instagram on their Android phones with Norton Mobile Security for Android, a dedicated cybersecurity solution tailored specifically for Android devices.

How to delete your Instagram account on your iPhone

  1. Open the Instagram app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your profile picture icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
  3. Press the menu button in the top-right, which shows three horizontal lines.
  4. Scroll down the menu that appears and select Settings and Privacy.
  5. Proceed to Account and then press Delete account.
  6. Press Delete account again then continue deleting account.

7. Confirm your reason for deletion, and follow the same steps as deleting your account on an Android phone.

To help protect your privacy and strengthen your security online, consider Norton Mobile Security for iOS. This specialized cybersecurity solution is designed for iOS devices and adds additional layers of protection to provide a secure digital environment for your family.

Cyber security for Instagram

If you're considering deleting your Instagram account, it's likely because you want to remove personal information from the internet, whether it's yours or that of a child under your care.

However, deleting the account may not always be the best solution to protect personal data or ensure the privacy of vulnerable individuals on the platform.

For instance, if someone deletes their account and then creates a new one, they will encounter the same issues of oversharing personal information, data vulnerability, third-party web tracking, and exposure to harmful content all over again.

Instead of getting caught in this repetitive cycle, after reading this article, you may find that using Instagram in conjunction with appropriate security software is actually a better option for you and your family.

If you're concerned about the security and privacy of your Instagram account, Norton AntiTrack can be your internet security solution. Norton AntiTrack not only guards against phishing attempts and malicious links that could compromise your Instagram account but also includes technology to block third-party advertisements and trackers from accessing your personal data.

In addition, the solution offers a secure VPN function. While a VPN encrypts your connection, it's essential to note that once you're logged into your Meta (the company behind Instagram and Facebook) account, typical tracking mechanisms can still collect data about you, such as your location or historical profile activity. However, using Norton 360 Deluxe with its integrated VPN can add an extra layer of privacy protection while you maintain your Instagram profile.

Emma McGowan
  • Emma McGowan
Emma McGowan is a privacy advocate & managing editor at Gen, formerly a freelance writer for outlets like Buzzfeed & Mashable. She enjoys reading, sewing, & her cats Dwight & Poe.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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