How to hide your profile and photos on Instagram

A caffeinated geek with a focus on creativity
Follow Me

How to hide your profile and photos on Instagram

By Jason A. Howie   /     May 28, 2012  /     Articles  /     ,
Instagram image by Tessa Violent (@Meekakitty)

Instagram image by Tessa Violent (@Meekakitty)

There are a lot of people searching Google and Bing on how to hide their photos on Instagram, how to how to hide individual photos, or how to hide their likes from the followers feed. Some people are even searching how to delete pictures and comments. I should know I get a lot of misdirected traffic for these searches and so after doing some searching myself I realized there really aren’t many instructions for these questions.

This topic is exceptionally more important than a lot of users realize because unless you specifically mark all of your Instagram photos as private, anyone from a computer, iPhone, or an Android phone can see what you have posted, when you posted it, and where you were. So if you called out from work, and posted a great picture of your caramel macchiato you enjoyed with friends at Starbucks to Instagram you could very well end up fired.

Update: July 19th, 2012: Instagram instituted some changes a few weeks back, and I’ve gone back through this article to correct any instructions that have changed. Going forward any other changes in the way the app works will also be updated and the instructions will note when it was updated.

Update: August 19th, 2012: Yet again another change to the way instagram works, and as I promised I’ve updated these instructions on how to use it.

How to hide on Instagram:

“How does privacy work?

We have adopted a follower model that means if you’re “public” on Instagram, anyone can subscribe to follow your photos. We do, however, have a special private option. In this mode, a user can make sure he/she must approve all follow requests before they go through.” -Instagram

Ah makes sense right? Well there is no description how to find this option. I had to look around for a minute to find it because it was below “Account” settings. Granted if you scroll a smidge further it’s right there and I somehow kept missing this setting in preparation of writing these instructions.

Updated 8/19/2012:

  1. Load Instagram
  2. Press the name-card looking profile button the bottom right
    • Your profile will be found on this screen now, previously it was a settings and search screen.
  3. At the very top of the screen there is a button shaped like a mechanical gear. That’s the new settings button.
  4. On this screen you will see listings for finding friends, photos you’ve liked, and account settings.
    • Scroll to the very bottom of the screen
  5. Privacy it’s right there! ”
    • “Photos are Private”
  6. Press the toggle switch and you’ll be greeted with the following message, “Toggle to require authorization before anyone can follow you. Your existing followers won’t be affected.” Sounds encouraging enough.
  7. Change the “Off” button to “On” by pressing it
  8. A popup will come up asking you if you are sure, press “Yes, I’m sure.”
  9. That’s it! To everyone but your existing followers your photos are private.

[blue_box]Special note, this will only make your pictures private to you and your followers, it will not hide who you follow, who is following you, or your personal details unless you delete them.[/blue_box]

How to hide individual pictures on Instagram:

You can’t hide them per say but you can delete them from Instagram and they will still be in your photo library (Scroll down for instructions on how to delete photos). That will hide them from the Instagram public and your followers. You will still be able to share the photo later from your photo library.
Be mindful of the people that saw you post the picture in the amount of time it took to take it down. Remember the internet is quick so you need to be quicker; this ruined Anthony Weiner.

How to hide your likes from the follower feed:

You can’t, so if you’re worried about someone seeing that you liked an ex-girlfriend in a low cut top ducky-face-obligatory-mirror picture you have two options. Either control who follows you with the above instructions or just use sound judgment and don’t like the photo to begin with. Probably should go with the latter anyways, ducky face photos are the worse.

Also keep in mind as I posted a few days ago [fancy_link color=”black” link=””]Facebook now displays your Instagram likes[/fancy_link]  so you need to be mindful as ever of what you like on Instagram.

Removing your likes is the only real way to hide them from followers and friends:

  1. Load Instagram
  2. Press the name-card looking profile button the bottom right
    • Your profile will be found on this screen now, previously it was a settings and search screen.
  3. At the very top of the screen there is a button shaped like a mechanical gear. That’s the new settings button.
  4. On this screen you will see listings for finding friends, photos you’ve liked, and account settings.
    • The photos you’ve liked setting is the second from the top.
  5. Find the offending picture which you want to unlike, press the image.
  6. After the image loads scroll below the photo and press the like button.
  7. Pressing the like button, a second time will unlike the photo
    • Keep in mind that the photo you’ve like may have been seen already so regardless the damage may have already been done. So always think twice.

How do you hide who follows you or who you follow:

Again, you can’t. Even if your photos are private visitors to your profile can see who you follow and who is following you as well as any information you have placed in your profile text.

How to Delete a Photo on Instagram:

  1. Find the picture you want to delete
    • You can either go to your profile and search directly or scroll your Instagram feed.
  2. Below the picture to the right of the comment button, there is a miscellaneous button with three dots
  3. Press it for options should come up:
    • Delete, Share post, Copy Share URL, Email photo
  4. Press Delete
  5. A pop up will appear asking you to confirm.
  6. Press Delete again
  7. Your photo will be removed from Instagram

Remember even if you delete the photo there it will still be in your Photo Library so you have a copy which you may want to also delete. People may have seen your photo so in the future use sound judgment before taking embarrassing photos.

How to Delete a Comment on Instagram:

Updated: 8/19/2012

  1. Navigate to the photo with the comment you want to delete
  2. There are three buttons along the immediate bottom of the photo
    • Like, Comment, and a Three-dotted miscellaneous button
  3. Press Comment (Counter intuitive I know)
  4. Place your figure to the left of the offending comment
  5. Swiping right with your finger along the comment a trash can button should appear, next to a reply button.
  6. Lift your figure, and then press delete
    • That’s it, there is no confirmation so be careful!

The instructions are the same for comments that you made on your own photos and for comments you made on photos by others. Of course you can only delete comments by others on your own photos.

[blue_box]Note: These instructions also allow you to delete a caption[/blue_box]

How to reply to another user in Instagram comments:

Obviously Instagram notifies you to someone commenting on your photo, and also alerts the other user if you comment on theirs, but how do you call the attention to a comment of a third party? Well prior to the Instagram 3.0 to notify another person of a reply to their comment or to call their attention you had to use the asterisk symbol “@” to draw their attention to the comment.

For example you would comment on a photo and type @jasonahowie to call my attention to the photo or reply. With 3.0 to reply to me, you can swipe right my previous comment and press the arrow button. Instagram will then automatically add @jasonahowie to the beginning of the comment. This makes replying to people with longer screen names much easier.


About Jason A. Howie

An unabashed marketing geek with a love for both the analytic trends and the creative possibilities in social media marketing.


  1. trynadie wears Says: March 25, 2013 8:50 am

    how do you delete photos in a group?

    Reply this comment
  2. sweet honey Says: August 4, 2013 12:32 pm

    When I try to follow someone, the button has 3 dots and doesnt say follow. What does that mean?

    Reply this comment
  3. Annette Says: June 19, 2015 3:20 pm

    can you hide someone’s posts? I don’t want to block as they are a coworker.

    Reply this comment
  4. Maree Says: July 8, 2015 3:06 pm

    I really hope they will change some privacy settings on Instagram, as I would really love be able to like photos without certain people being able to track how often i’m liking photos, and what I’m liking.
    I don’t want to block them either as they are family and if I select to go as a private profile this won’t make a difference as they are already following me and will still see everything I like.

    They have been able to do this on Facebook right? Shouldn’t there be a privacy setting where you can hide your activity from certain people?

    Reply this comment
  5. aamer Says: August 8, 2015 5:24 am

    there is one solution for How to hide your likes from the follower feed ……….. Keep liking some decent stuff .. it appear first ……

    Reply this comment
  6. anne Says: December 7, 2015 9:59 am

    How do hide the copy share url of my photos and videos?

    Reply this comment
  7. samantha Says: January 28, 2016 4:55 pm

    I have dozens of likes that wont show up on my pictures. it says :be the first to like this”, and this is what my followers see too. ive deleted the ap, used the browser, and tried multiple different devices. the issue is within my instagram account. What can i do??

    Reply this comment

Leave a Reply

mautic is open source marketing automation