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Privacy settings on Instagram – what do they mean?

From default settings to private profiles, we look at privacy on Instagram.

Public by default – but you can choose to be private

On Instagram your profile is set to public by default, this means that anyone can see the photos on your Instagram profile. Public posts can appear in searches, whether someone is exploring a certain hashtag or location you have used. Public posts can also appear in the ‘Explore’ tab.

You can change these settings by making your account private, this means that only followers who you approve can see your profile and posts. This also means your posts won’t appear in in the Photos tab of Search and Explore, or on a hashtag or location pages.

Making your account private

You can only make your account private on the Instagram app on mobile, and not from a desktop computer. To set your posts to private from the Instagram app:

  1. Go to your profile by tapping Profile picture
  2. Tap Cog symbol
  3. Turn on the Private Account setting

Things to keep in mind about private profiles:                                              

The Instagram Help Centre includes a list of things users need to remember once they make their profile private:

  • Private posts you share to other social networks may be visible to the public depending on your privacy settings for those networks. For example, a post you share to Twitter that was set to private on Instagram may be visible to the people who can see your Twitter posts.
  • Once you make your posts private, people will have to send you a follow request to see your posts, your followers list or your following list.
  • Follow requests appear in  Activity, where you can approve or ignore them.
  • If someone was already following before you set your posts to private and you don't want them to see your posts, you can block them.
  • People can send a photo or video directly to you even if they’re not following you.
  • Anyone can still see your profile picture and biography, even if they don’t follow you.

Who can like or comment on my photos and videos?

If your account is public, anyone can like or comment on your photos and videos. If you want to prevent a specific person from liking or commenting on your posts, you can block them.

If your account is private, only the people you've approved as followers will be able to like or comment on your photos and videos.

For more information visit the Instagram safety centre.