How to make Instagram private

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no law against keeping your Instagram account private. But not all things are easy or obvious on Meta’s other social media site. That’s why we wrote this snazzy little guide on how to make Instagram private. 

Not what you are looking for? Check out these related guides:

How to make your Instagram account private in browser

If you manage your Instagram profile mostly via a desktop browser, here’s how you can turn your public account into a private account.

  1. Click the “more” button in the lower left corner, then click “settings” in the menu.
  2. Click “who can see your content.”
  3. Below “account privacy”, check the box next to “private account.”
  4. Click “switch to private” to confirm.

Professional profiles aren’t able to make their accounts private. If you want to make your business account private, you’ll have to switch to a personal account first.

How to make your Instagram account private on Android or iPhone

Whether you use your Instagram via the Android app or iPhone app, the process is the same:

  1. Tap your profile pic (or the portrait icon on an iPhone) in the lower right corner.
  2. Tap the hamburger icon in the top right and choose “settings and privacy.”
  3. Tap “account privacy” and toggle “private account” to on.

Notably, you will not be asked to confirm your choice when switching to private, but you will be asked for confirmation when switching to public. 

What’s the difference between a private and public Instagram account?

Here are the differences between the Instagram features of a public or private account as outlined by the platform itself: 

Public Instagram accountPrivate Instagram account
Who can follow you?AnyoneOnly followers you approve
Who can see which public accounts you follow/follow you?AnyoneAnyone
Who can see which private accounts you follow/follow you?AnyoneOnly your followers
Who can see your profile information (pic, bio, username?)Anyone, even off InstagramAnyone, even off Instagram
Who can see the photos and videos in your profile or feed?AnyoneYour followers
Who can see your photos and videos in search, Explore, etc.?AnyoneNo one
Who can share your stuff and see what’s shared?Anyone unless you tweak your settingsYour followers unless you tweak your settings
Who can embed or remix your stuff?Anyone, even off Instagram (exception: video remixes are for Insta users only and can be turned off in settings)No one

One fun private account option not mentioned has to do with direct messages: private accounts can block anyone not among their followers from sending them DMs.

How to make other social media profiles more private? Check out these resources:


What does a private Instagram account look like?

A private Instagram profile shows only the profile picture, the post number, the follower number, and bio/description (if they have one). Approved followers can see everything you can see on a public account. 

Can I make my private Instagram account public?

Yes, you can use the same method you used to make it  private. It’s a short, 3–4-step process—follow either guide mentioned in the article above. 

Can people see if you view their private Instagram?

Instagram doesn’t show anyone who viewed their account, private or public. However, if you want to access a private Instagram account, you have to follow it, and the account owner has to approve you. Then they’ll know that you’re viewing their private Instagram.

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