Instagram privacy is a social media subject that doesn’t get discussed enough. While everyone is up on Facebook privacy due to recent events, Instagram is still the wild west. People everywhere are throwing out photos without any worries about who is seeing them and who is following them.
The truth is that there are many good reasons to be concerned about your Instagram privacy. Photos can reveal quite a bit of information about yourself. They show who your friends are, where you hang out, what your routine is, and maybe even where you live.
That being the case, a degree of Instagram privacy is called for. Limiting your exposure through Instagram also means limiting the chances that someone can use your account against you. So if you want to make sure that your Instagram account is as safe as possible, follow some of these steps.
Instagram Privacy Settings
The core of Instagram privacy e is the ability to set your account to “Private.” Doing so is simple:
- Open “Settings.”
- Tap “Account Privacy” and choose “Private Account.”
What does that actually do, though? First off, it means that only your followers or other approved people can see your posts. It also means that people can’t see who you follow unless they are an approved follower. Private profiles also prevent anyone from commenting on your uploads and block associated hashtags from putting your photos on public feeds. Likes and similar information are also hidden.
However, it’s just as important to realize what a private account doesn’t do. First off, your photos might still appear on other social media platforms if you have linked them to your account. It’s also not possible to limit information amongst your followers (unless you block or exclude them). Basically, private profiles work like regular profiles but only for your followers.
That being the case, private profiles come highly recommended to everyone who isn’t trying to gain followers through general posts.
Delete Search History
Let’s be honest. From time to time, everyone searches for a profile they don’t want others to know about. We’re not going to pry into your business…we just know it happens. Whether it’s sexy picture or the ex you can’t get over, everyone has that Instagram profile they’re ashamed of. Still, a lot of people are awful when it comes to clearing their profile. What’s strange about that is that clearing your search history couldn’t be easier to do. Just follow these steps:
- Open your Instagram settings.
- Scroll down to “Clear Search History.”
- Confirm the deletion on the screen that appears.
That should clear out your Instagram search history. We say “should” because there are times when a profile will still pop up in your search history even after you’ve cleared it. For those times, you’ll need to check out the next entry…
Hide Profiles From Search
When it comes to hiding/removing search history, Instagram is pretty generous. Perhaps realizing that people would want to keep their history clean, they loaded the app with plenty of options.
One of those options lets you hide specific profiles from your search. This feature has a few uses. For instance, you might not want people to know you are clearing your history. This function also lets you permanently hide a profile. That means that it will never appear in your search history. That makes it so you don’t have to constantly clear your history.
If you want to hide a profile from your searches, just follow these steps:
- Tap the search option at the top of your app.
- Tap “Top” or “People”
- Find the profile you want to hide and hold your finger on it.
- Tap the hide option.
This should forever hide the profile in question from your searches.
One of the primary functions of Instagram is the ability to easily tag photos. These tags can identify friends, make sharing pictures easier, and, of course, identify locations. Obviously, you need to make sure that Instagram is able to find your location for that last feature to work. That means enabling location sharing on your iPhone.
As you might know, location sharing can be a major security concern. While the extent of your vulnerability is up for debate, there are times when you just don’t want to run the risk. If you’re experiencing one of those times, then here’s how you disable your location on Instagram.
- Open your iPhone (or device) settings.
- Navigate to “Privacy” and choose “Location Services.”
- Tap on the Instagram app.
- Choose either “Never” or “While Using Your App” based on your preference.
Again, this will remove some Instagram features, so make sure you know what you’re missing out on.
Blocking people is one of the most useful Instagram privacy features. Keeping someone out of your profile for whatever reason is pretty easy to do. Better yet, there are a few ways to do it:
Block Someone on Instagram
- Tap the username of who you want to block.
- Tap the settings button
- Choose “Block.”
If you don’t want to completely block someone, you can also just keep them from commenting on your photos:
Block Photo Comments:
- Open your profile
- Tap on the settings button.
- Tap “Comment Controls”
- You should see a “People” option next to “Block Comments From.”
- Enter the name of the person you want to block and select “Block.”
If you want to go even further and report someone for a message or comment, do the following:
Report a Comment/Message
- Open the conversation
- Tap the message/comment in question
- Tap the “Report” option.
Manual Tag Approval
Here’s an interesting feature. As you probably know, people can tag you on Instagram. As you probably also know, there are times when you don’t want to be tagged on Instagram. Embarrassing photos are one thing, but there are even times when a picture can violate your Instagram privacy in a real way.
You can ask the person to remove the photo, but you can also just untag yourself from the picture. It’s a useful way to decrease the chances of someone finding it just by using your name. Whatever your reason, untagging yourself is incredibly simple.
- Find the photo in question.
- Tap on your profile name in the tag.
- You should be able to select “Hide From My Profile.”
It’s also possible to choose “Remove Me From Photo” to remove the tag completely. You can also choose the “Photos of You” section, choose settings, and “Add Manually.” This will prevent others from tagging you themselves.
Facebook and Instagram are eternally linked. Not only is Instagram owned by Facebook, but sharing Instagram photos via Facebook is very common. However, recent revelations have left people wondering how much they should actually share via Facebook. Even before the Facebook data scandal, there were times when you just don’t want every Instagram photo to go on your Facebook page.
To be honest, there are many good reasons not to automatically link your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Keeping the two mutually exclusive allows you to have much greater control over your Instagram Privacy privacy. To keep your online profiles separate, just follow these steps.
- Open Instagram and go to your profile.
- Select “Settings.”
- Go to “Linked Accounts” and disable the Facebook option.
You can also disable Instagram like sharing through Facebook. To do so, just go to “Share Settings,” choose Facebook, and disable “Share Likes to Timeline.”
Profile Privacy Tips
This isn’t really a “trick” or setting so much as it is a piece of general advice.
There’s a very good chance you have too much information on your Instagram profile. While the social media age sees people share more information than ever, it’s not always wise to share as much as you might be sharing.
For instance, how easy would it be for someone to find your house from your Instagram profile? Are you constantly tagging your location near your home? What about the location of your job?
The fact of the matter is that online stalking can become real-life stalking very easily. If you want to greatly reduce the chances of someone finding you IRL, be very careful about how much information you share about common locations. Generally speaking, watch your tags, watch how many photos you share, and be careful of how much personal information you reveal.
This is the simplest privacy feature out there and one of the most overlooked.
You are probably well aware that you are able to delete Instagram photos. Maybe you’ve even deleted some yourself. However, ask yourself whether or not you’re using the delete function to its full advantage.
Most photos that get deleted from an Instagram profile are deleted because you just don’t like them. Fewer photos are deleted because they are potentially harmful in some way. In fact, look over your Instagram photos right now. We’re willing to be that there are a few there that you don’t want to be associated with your profile in some way.
If you do find such photos, deleting them is incredibly simple. Just follow these steps:
- Navigate to your profile feed.
- Find the photo/photos you want to delete.
- After selecting the photo you wish to delete, tap the “Settings” button and choose “Delete.”
Specific Photo Sharing
Generally speaking, you want to share Instagram photos with as many people as possible. After all, part of the point of the platform is to gain exposure. Others just want to share some of their favorite moments, meals, and other photo-worthy experiences.
However, there are times when a private share is preferable. After all, there are some photos that are meant more for your friends than your parents. During those times, you probably want to limit who you share your photos with. Luckily, Instagram allows you to share photos with specific people or groups of people. Here’s how you do that:
Upload and edit a photo as normal.
On the share screen, choose the “Direct” option.
You can now enter up to 15 people to share your photo with.
If you want to share privately with more than 15 people, you might want to consider hiding certain photos from specific people instead.
Disable Activity Status
Hiding your activity status affects Instagram privacy in a couple of ways.
The first way is the most obvious. Hiding your activity means that people can’t tell when you’re actually online. That prevents a degree of online stalking as well as casual peeping at what you’re doing.
However, the biggest advantage of hiding your status is that you are able to use Instagram without social pressure. Your status gives away when you’re on Instagram as well as the last time you used Instagram. That means it makes it easier for someone to ask “Why didn’t you like this photo.”
Whatever reasons you have for hiding your status, here’s how you do so:
- Tap “Settings” on your profile.
- Disable “Show Activity Status.”
Just be aware that this setting is universal. That means that disabling it means that you won’t be able to view other people’s status either.
Private Follows/Private Followers
The topic of “Private Follows” and “Private Followers” is a controversial one.
Basically, there are people out there who want to be able to privately follow Instagram accounts as well as access private Instagram accounts. The latter option is something that we can’t really advise you on. Trying to access a private Instagram profile without the permission of the owner is seedy and potentially harmful. It’s also something that Instagram won’t let you do within your user rights.
So far as private follows go, those are a little more interesting. Ideally, you should be able to set whether or not other people can see whether you follow specific profiles. At the very least, it would be nice if only the account owner could see you follow them.
Unfortunately, that’s not really a viable option. You can set your profile to private (see above) but your followers can still see who you follow. There are apps which promise private following but many of them are shady.
Honestly, your best bet is to create a separate profile, set it to private, and only use it to follow accounts you wouldn’t want to be associated with your main account.