Make Your Instagram Private (2020)



Do you feel kind of weird that there are a bunch of strangers from around the world following you on Instagram? Maybe you no longer feel the need for some random DJ from that one country you've never heard of to see posts about your avocado toast breakfast.

If this sounds like you, you may want to consider making your Instagram private.




What Does it Mean to Make Your Instagram Private?

Making your account private helps you control who can see your profile and your posts on Instagram. Anyone who already follows you will continue to be able to see your content. However, users who do not follow you will see this if they try to click on your profile:

This is what a private profile looks like

If a friend wants to connect with you, he or she will send you a follow request which you can approve or reject. On the other hand, an Instagram account that is not private can be followed by anyone.

To summarize making your Instagram private in a bit more detail:

  • Your profile will be made private to everyone except your followers
  • The photos and videos on your profile will also be made private to the public
  • Only followers will be able to see your pictures on hashtag pages (ex: if a non-follower searches '#sapphire' on Instagram, your posts with that hashtag will not be visible)
  • Only followers will be able to see your pictures on location pages (ex: if a non-follower searches for the location 'Timbaktu', your posts with that location will not be visible)

We'll walk you through a simple tutorial on how to take advantage of this feature as of August 2020.


It's very easy to make your account private



Why Should You Make Your Instagram Private?

If you haven't taken the step of making your Instagram private yet, it is public by default. There are several reasons why you might want to make your Instagram private:

  1. You don't want strangers following you. Chances are that if you've made an Instagram, you have at least one follower who is just a stranger. If you're wondering how these users even find you, it could be through hashtags or locations that you've added to your posts. It may also be through friends that have tagged you in photos or friends that you've tagged in photos.
    One of the most common ways is if you follow celebrities or influencers; users will be able to find you in these popular users' 'following' lists.
    If this list isn't long enough yet, Instagram recommends users to follow new or popular accounts; maybe you've been recommended by Instagram.
  2. You don't want to deal with bots. Many Instagram users use bots to increase their follower count. Even if you don't want to be followed by bots yourself, a bot may auto-follow to seem more like a real person.
  3. You want to restrict your content to certain users. If you only want to connect with your closest friends and family on social media, this feature is perfect for you. This can ensure that your employer or the girl from kindergarten whom you've never actually talked to don't see your latest post about your extensive striped sock collection. In other words, you can keep your personal life more private.

If any of this rings true to you, you can try making your Instagram private at any time. You can also reverse your decision at any time, so don't fret too much about just giving it a try.


What Other Privacy Steps Can You Take?

Making your Instagram account private is just one of the many features that can help you take charge of your privacy. Some other options you can look into are:

Though privacy and social media are almost like antonyms, Instagram seems to be adding several options to give users more control over their accounts.



The Steps to Make Your Instagram Account Private

1) Start by heading over to https://www.instagram.com/. You will need to log into your account if you are not logged in already.

2) Once you're on Instagram, click the small circular image of your profile picture in the top-right corner. This will reveal a dropdown menu. From here, click 'Settings'.

Go to Settings


3) You'll see a menu on the left with the first option listed 'Edit Profile'. Select 'Privacy and Security' in that menu (it's the third option from the bottom).

Go to Privacy and Security



4) You'll now be redirected to a page titled 'Account Privacy'.

The first thing on that page is a checkbox labeled Private Account. If the checkbox is already unchecked, that means your account is already private, so you do not need to click it again.

If it's unchecked, simply click this checkbox and your account will immediately transition from public to private. It's that easy! The best part is, you can come back to this page by following the same steps and unselect this checkbox at any time; this will make your account public again.

Click the checkbox


For an extra tip on setting up your private account, we recommend you check out the section right below.



How To Restrict Users Who Already Follow You

If you're done changing your account from public to private, no one can follow you now without your permission. This means that no one new can see your content without your approval.

There might be users who followed you before you made your account private whom you also would like to restrict in viewing your profile and posts. The way that Instagram recommends dealing with such users is by going into your follower list and blocking them. It may seem harsh, but it should do the trick if you are sure that you don't want these people to follow you anymore.

You can block followers from their profiles




What if You Change Your Mind?

As we mentioned earlier in this article, making your account public again is just as easy as making it private. The steps to do so are the same as well.

Instagram won't keep reminding you whether your account is public or private, so you'll have to remember that you made your account private if there's a chance you may want to switch back. For example, if you're planning on starting a new job or university in a few years, you may want to switch from a private to a public profile at that point to network better with peers and colleagues.



How Did We Feel About This Instagram Feature?

Some users want to delve deeper into the world of social media than others. By allowing people to make their accounts private, Instagram better accommodates for those users who want to:

  • Have more control over their followers
  • Know exactly who will be able to see their pictures and videos
  • Keep their content off of public pages (hashtag and location pages)

We like that a private profile really is quite private, and the fact that it's so simple to make the switch from a profile is the cherry on top.