4 Steps to Delete an Instagram Account for You or a Deceased Loved One

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Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms that can help bring loved ones together. If you’re scattered across the country or the globe, it’s a fun way to stay up-to-date.

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But in some cases, you may need to delete your social media account or another loved one’s in the event of their death. Deleting an Instagram account can be easy, especially if your loved one started end-of-life planning. If that is the case, most of the work might be done for you.

How to Permanently Delete Your Own Instagram Account

If you have your login information such as your password and username, deleting your own account is easy. 

Log in to your account

Most people use the Instagram app on their phones. Though it is primarily a mobile app, Instagram users can also log in through a web browser with some usability. In order to delete your account, you are required to log in to Instagram from a computer.

Log into your account on a computer. After logging in, you will want to visit “https://help.instagram.com” and go to “Manage Your Account,” where you will see a new menu slide in with the option to “Delete Your Account.”

Due to security issues, Instagram can’t delete an account for you. You have to log in yourself. But what if you don’t remember your username or password? You can type in either your personal phone number or email connected to the account. If you have two-factor authorization enabled, you will receive either a text message or another email to help reset your password.

Additionally, ask a friend to visit your profile and screenshot your username. Use that to recover your password. 

Pick a reason

To delete your account, you have to explain why. Once you arrive at the “Delete Your Account” Page, you’ll be presented with a drop-down menu. You must choose a reason from the menu, or else Instagram will not let you continue with the process.

After selecting your option, you’ll be prompted to reenter your password. Click on Permanently Delete My Account. 

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How to Delete an Instagram Account for Someone That Died

Instagram offers two options for a deceased person’s account: to memorialize it or to remove it. There’s a third option if you know their username and password. If you do, you can delete it yourself without the hassle.

See if they had a password manager. But if they didn’t, and you can’t access their email to make use of the ‘Forgot Password’ option, try these tips. 

Memorialize the account

Maybe you don’t want to delete your loved one’s Instagram. However, it’s not an active account anymore and it might feel strange to have it floating around in cyberspace without a notification of their death.

It might be special to preserve their Instagram account like a scrapbook, which is why Instagram created a memorialization option. To turn on that option, contact Instagram with your request. They require proof of death to move forward, which means you would have to submit an obituary, death certificate, or a news article.

When changing an account to a memorial option, Instagram has three priorities when memorializing accounts. They want to ensure that requests are legitimate, protect friends and family, and prevent memorialized accounts from being used or referenced in upsetting ways.

Privacy, even for the deceased person, is also a priority. Once Instagram receives proof and covers these priorities, they’ll memorialize the account. 

Remove the account

Only immediate family members can ask for account removal so Instagram can ensure memorialization of the proper account and not an accidental deletion. As mentioned above, you’ll need to submit a request for removal. Before you do that, though, be sure to gather your proof which is basically three documents.

First, you will need to show a scanned copy of the deceased person’s birth certificate. This helps confirm their identity, and yours. You’ll also need their death certificate. Providing a scanned version of these documents is enough proof for Instagram.

But you’ll also need proof of authority. This means that you’re the lawful representative of the deceased person. Once you’ve gathered this information, fill out their form titled Removal Request for Deceased Person on Instagram. 

You’ll have to provide your full name and email address, so Instagram knows you are the point of contact. You’ll also need their username, a link to their account, and their date of death. After uploading the above documents, you’re set.

Instagram Account Deletion: Frequently Asked Questions

Maybe you don’t want to delete your account. But if you’d like to take a step back, or just clean up your history, here’s how to do it. 

What’s the difference between deactivating and deleting my Instagram account?

Deleting your Instagram account means it’s gone forever. There are no options to recover or reinstate it. When your account is deleted, everything goes. Followers, photos, captions, likes—it’s gone. 

But if you just want to render your account invisible, there’s a better option. Deactivating hides your photos, comments, and activity. Once you reinstate your account, it will reappear—just the same as before. If you're deleting a loved one's Instagram account as part of our post-loss checklist, it's recommended that you deactive it for privacy purposes. This way, you will still have access to photos, videos, and so on. 

What if I just want to delete an Instagram post?

Deleting Instagram posts is easy. Tap the three bubbles above your post—they will appear vertically on an Apple device, and horizontally on an Android device. Tap Delete twice to confirm. That will erase one post from your Instagram feed. 

Can I delete my message or search history on Instagram, too?

You can’t delete your message and search history in the web version. Instead, log into the Instagram app on your phone. Go to Settings, then Security. Under the Data and History section, you’ll have the option to Delete Search History. 

To delete messages, go to your Instagram inbox. Swipe left on the message you want to delete. This will bring up two options for you—Mute or Delete. Tap Delete and the message history will be gone! 

Cleaning Up Digital Assets

Dealing with digital assets after death is hard because you might not have the information you need. If you can’t access the passwords you need, or figure out how to access accounts, it might feel very frustrating.

But taking it one platform at a time, and allowing yourself time to make decisions can make it easier. 

If you're looking for more ways to clean up your internet presence, check out our guides to finding your digital accounts and deleting your online presence

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