You might consider to delete your Instagram account for several reasons but at the same time be unsure about it. Yes, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there, and it can be a lot of fun to share your photos and stories with your friends and followers. Let´s have a look at why you might want to quit Instagram, some alternative measures, and how to delete Instagram if you finally decide to do so. We also show how to deactivate Instagram and reactivate it again and how you can download all your Instagram data before deleting your account.
Instagram Is Addictive
First of all, Instagram is very addictive. You might find yourself spending hours scrolling through your feed, watching reels, checking out stories, and liking posts. This can take a toll on your mental health, your productivity, and your relationships. You might feel anxious, depressed, or lonely if you compare yourself to others or seek validation from likes and comments. You might also miss out on real-life experiences and connections if you are always glued to your phone.
Instagram Can Mislead and Distract You
Instagram can also be very misleading. You might think that what you see on Instagram is real, but it's not. A lot of people use filters, edits, and staged photos to create a perfect image of themselves and their lives. This can make you feel insecure, inadequate, or jealous if you think that everyone else is happier, richer, or more successful than you. You might also lose touch with your own identity and values if you try to fit in with the trends and expectations of Instagram culture.
Instagram is also very distracting. You might think that you are using Instagram to relax, have fun, or learn something new, but you are actually wasting a lot of time and energy on something that doesn't really matter. You might lose focus on your goals, your passions, and your purpose if you are constantly bombarded with ads, influencers, and celebrities that try to sell you something or influence your opinions. You might also miss out on opportunities to grow, create, or contribute if you are always consuming instead of producing.
Instagram and Privacy
You should be aware of some of the known and potential privacy risks of having an Instagram account. Instagram is owned by Meta, formerly known as Facebook. That means your data on Instagram is shared with Facebook and other apps and websites that use Facebook's services. This data includes your location, your contacts, your browsing history, your interests, and more. Meta uses this data to show you targeted ads, recommend content, and personalize your experience. You can't opt out of this data sharing completely, but you can limit some of it by adjusting your privacy settings.
Instagram might also expose you to various online threats, such as predators, cyberbullies, hackers, and scammers. Predators can use Instagram to find and contact children or vulnerable people. Cyberbullies can use Instagram to harass or humiliate others. Hackers can use Instagram to steal your account or personal information. Scammers can use Instagram to trick you into clicking on malicious links or downloading malware. You can protect yourself from these threats by being careful about who you follow, what you post, and what you click on.
Should You Delete Instagram?
So, what can you do about it? Well, one option is to delete your Instagram account altogether. This might sound drastic, but it can be very liberating and empowering. You can reclaim your time, your attention, and your happiness by freeing yourself from the pressures and distractions of Instagram. You can focus on what really matters to you and live more authentically and intentionally.
Of course, deleting your Instagram account is not for everyone. Maybe you use Instagram for work, for education, or for socializing with people who matter to you. Maybe you enjoy Instagram as a creative outlet or a source of inspiration. Maybe you have a healthy relationship with Instagram, and you don't let it affect your self-esteem or your lifestyle.
In that case, you don't have to delete your Instagram account, but you can still take some steps to use it more wisely and mindfully:
- Set limits on how much time you spend on Instagram per day or per week.
- Turn off notifications or put your phone on silent mode when you are working, studying, or spending time with others.
- Unfollow or mute accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or that don't align with your values.
- Follow or interact with accounts that make you feel good about yourself or that inspire you to grow.
- Be selective about what you post and share on Instagram. Ask yourself why you are posting and what value it adds to your life and others'.
- Be authentic and honest on Instagram. Don't use filters, edits, or staged photos to create a false impression of yourself or your life.
- Be respectful and kind on Instagram. Don't compare yourself to others or judge them based on their posts. Don't leave hateful or hurtful comments or messages.
Deactivate Instagram: An Alternative to Deleting an Instagram Account
If you want to take a break from Instagram, you have two options: deactivating or deleting your account. Deactivating your account means that you can hide your profile, photos, comments, and likes temporarily. You can still access your messages and reactivate your account anytime by logging back in. Deleting your account means that you will permanently erase everything on your profile, including your username, photos, videos, followers, and messages. You won't be able to use the same username again or add it to another account. Before you delete your account, you should download a copy of your data from Instagram.
How to Deactivate Your Instagram Account
The following steps show you how to deactivate Instagram using your web browser. As said previously, this allows you to still access your messages and reactivate your account anytime by logging back in.
- Open Instagram and click your profile picture
- Select “Profile”
- Click “Edit profile”
- Scroll down and click on “Temporarily deactivate my account”
- Select your reason for deactivating Instagram or just “Something else”
- Re-enter your Instagram password and click “Temporarily Deactivate Account”
How to Reactivate a Deactivated Instagram Account
If you have previously deactivated your account, you can reactivate Instagram anytime by just logging in.
How to Access and Download Your Instagram Data
The following steps show how to download Instagram data as an offline copy. This is recommended before you permanently delete an Instagram account.
- Click on your Instagram profile picture
- Select “Settings”
- Scroll down a bit and select “Privacy and security”
- Scroll down to “Data Download” and click on “Request Download”
- Add your email information and choose HTML or JSON as data format
If you want to download your Instagram data, you have two options: HTML or JSON. HTML is a format that displays your data in a web-like way, with images, links, and text. JSON is a format that stores your data as plain text with keys and values. Both formats contain the same information, but they have different advantages.
HTML is easier to read and navigate, especially if you want to see your photos and videos. You can open the HTML files in any browser and browse through your posts, stories, comments, and likes. HTML is also more compatible with other web services if you want to import your data somewhere else.
JSON is more compact and efficient, especially if you want to analyze or use your data for programming purposes. You can open the JSON files in any text or code editor and manipulate them as you wish. JSON is also more flexible and customizable if you want to change the structure or format of your data.
- Enter your Instagram password and click “Request Download”
- Check your email inbox for the download link and download your Instagram data
When you request a data download for your Instagram profile before deleting it, you may wonder why it takes so long to receive the file. Several factors affect the time it takes until you can download your data, such as the size of your account, the number of photos and videos you have uploaded, the format you choose (HTML or JSON), and the demand on Instagram's servers. According to Instagram, it can take up to 48 hours for you to receive an email with a link to your data.
This is because Instagram needs to collect and organize all the information you have shared on the platform, such as your profile, comments, messages, stories, and more. You can view some of this information on the app or website without requesting a download, but if you want a complete copy of everything you have shared on Instagram, you need to wait for the data download. Downloading your data is a good way to backup your content and have more control over your privacy. However, it may take some time and patience before you can access your data file.
How to Permanently Delete an Instagram Account
When you delete your Instagram account, your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes, and followers will be permanently removed. If you'd like to take a break, you can temporarily deactivate your account instead. Before deleting your account, you might want to download all Instagram data as shown above.
- Log into your Instagram account
- Go to the “Instagram Delete Your Account page” and select a reason
Select an option from the dropdown menu below “Why do you want to delete [account name]?” and re-enter your password. The option to permanently delete your account will only appear after you've selected a reason from the menu and entered your password, but you can choose “Something else” if you don´t want to answer.
- Re-enter your Instagram password
- Confirm with “OK”
- Take note of the deletion date
Instagram will not delete your account immediately but deactivate it for 30 days until the shown date. Until the final day, you can log into your Instagram account normally to cancel the account deletion (as shown in the next section).
How to Restore a Deleted Instagram Account (Within 30 Days)
If you delete your Instagram account, you can cancel the procedure during a 30-day holding period, as shown below.