How to make an account on Instagram private in 4 steps

Julia Moore
If you want to share your content only with followers, it's time to switch your public profile to the private one. In this article, we tell you how to do that.
Reading time — 4 minutes

What you should know before switching to a private Instagram account

Instagram profiles are public by default. All the Internet users can see someone's photos, videos or watch Lives. However, IG developers care about their users, so they created a feature that allows people to make an Instagram account private. Let's get deep to understand how a private page differs from a public one.

  • If an IG page is private, it's possible to find it by username search, but it's impossible to see posts and stories.
  • Only followers can see the content, leave comments and like publications.
  • If you decide to set your account to private, nothing will change for your followers.
  • As for other Instagram users, they will have to send a request for the following to get access to your profile information. You can approve this request or ignore it.
  • Photos with hashtags will be seen in the hashtag search only for your followers. The same applies to location and tags on the photo.
  • Users who don't follow someone's private account can DM a photo or video. 
  • The owner of a closed account can share information from the profile in other social networks. For instance, a link to a private Instagram post will be seen by all the Facebook followers.
  • You can switch your profile to the public one at any time.

If your aim is promoting and getting more followers with the help of hashtags and geotags, a private account isn't for you. In this case, targeted advertising or advertising posts from bloggers will help you gain followers. Often, marketers use a private profile to track the effectiveness of advertising. They switch a public account to a private type, buy ads from a blogger, then track the number of new followers by incoming requests.

However, if you don't want all Instagram users to freely see your posts or if you're annoyed by mass following, a private account is a good solution.

How to set an Instagram account to private

You can switch to a private account keeping your content hidden from prying eyes using the mobile app or web version.

01. Open Instagram and go to Settings.

02. Tap Privacy.

03. On iPhone: Under Account Privacy, switch to Private Account. On Android: Scroll a little bit down to find Private Account button.

04. Instagram will offer you to get acquainted with detailed information about visibility              management on the official website.

Reasons why you can't set your Instagram account to private

  • The application hasn't been updated for a long time. If you can't set your Instagram account to private in the described way, perhaps the reason lies in the fact that the version of the app on your smartphone hasn't been updated for a long time. So, it's time to update it. 
  • You're an owner of a business account. It won't be possible to switch to a private account if you have a business account on Instagram in a simple way. To do this, you will first need to change its status to personal and only then change the privacy.

How to switch a private account to the public one

To make the account public again, repeat all the same steps.

  1. Open Instagram and go to Settings. 
  2. Find Privacy. 
  3. Tap Account Privacy. 
  4. Next to the Private Account, move the slider to the left. 
  5. Confirm your actions.

Should you close your Instagram account?

Sometimes bloggers specifically make their Instagram account private. If you want to see someone's account, but it's private, read our article to get to know how to see private accounts.


  • Protection from mass complaints. Often accounts are blocked because of them. But the best way is to temporarily block your account if someone purposefully wants to eliminate your account. 
  • Advertising from other bloggers. Bloggers advertise your profile. If people are interested in your Instagram profile, they have to follow you to view the content.

If you are just starting to maintain an account, it's better not to close it. 

Let's recap

Increasingly, users of social networks are taking care of the security of their information, closing the account from prying eyes and leaving a limited number of users in followers. However, if you are striving for popularity or are planning to become a blogger and monetize your account, this story isn't about you. Develop your account and increase the coverage to reach the goal. If you're wondering why you lose followers, you can find answers here.

Write in the comments — do you have a private or public IG account?