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How To Determine If An Instagram Account Is Private? (Discover)

Pile of 3D Instagram logos
A pile of 3D Instagram logos

To identify if an Instagram account is private, look for indicators such as a lock icon next to the username, absence of posts visible without following, restricted content and shares, limited followers, hidden from a browser search, and a request to follow the account to gain access to their content.

While its primary purpose is to foster a sense of community, Instagram remains committed to safeguarding user privacy. Instagram encompasses two distinct types of accounts: private and public.

Now, let’s dive into the realm of private accounts and explore how to identify them.

What Is a Private Instagram Account?

A private Instagram account is a type of profile that restricts access to its content. Only certain approved followers can view the posts, stories, and other shared content on a private account.

All you want to know about private Instagram account

By default, Instagram accounts are set to public, but to ensure a much higher level of privacy, users are provided with the option to make their accounts private. To switch to a private account, you just need to follow these simple steps:

  • After opening your Instagram app and logging in to your Instagram account, go to your profile page by clicking on the profile icon at the bottom right of your screen.
  • Click on the three-lined icon at the top right of your profile page and go to settings.
  • Search for the lock icon that says “Privacy“.
  • There you will have the first option of “private account“. By swiping right, you can transform your account into a private one.
Private account on Instagram
Private account on Instagram

Why Do People Have Private Instagram Accounts?

Illustration of a man checking off the advantages on the list
Illustration of a man checking off the advantages on the list

There are numerous advantages, considering which people make the choice of switching to a private account. The major one is having the authority to limit access only to approved individuals.

Enhanced SecurityBy opting for a private account, you can exercise greater control and ensure enhanced safety. Your personal information is protected, and it remains inaccessible to anyone who isn’t approved as a follower.
No ImpersonificationsImpersonation and content copyright violations are significant concerns in today’s digital landscape. Also, when photos are exposed to the public eye, they become susceptible to manipulation through techniques like photoshopping, resulting in their inappropriate usage. However, with private accounts, these risks are greatly minimized, if not eliminated entirely.
Less prone to online harassmentHarassment has become a prevalent issue in the realm of social media, particularly in recent times. The internet is overflowing with predators and harassers who possess exceptional manipulation skills. Public figures, in particular, endure this problem frequently as their personal information, including photos, is readily available to the public. Negative comments and sexual harassment are rampant.

While a private account does not entirely eliminate this risk, it significantly reduces the likelihood. It’s worth noting that even a seemingly trustworthy individual can turn out to be a harasser. Nevertheless, private accounts provide substantial protection, shielding users from becoming easy targets for such distressing experiences.
Public To PrivateAs humans, we often feel the inclination to alter our choices and venture onto new paths. Public figures, in particular, may reconsider the exposure of their personal information. Some have experienced severe harassment and threats, leading them to desire a more discreet existence away from the public eye.

The availability of private accounts allows such individuals to transition to a private setting without the need to create an entirely new account. This option provides a means for them to maintain their online presence while regaining a sense of privacy and control over their personal information.
Minimize Unwanted InteractionsFor those valuing privacy, with a small circle of close friends and family, or with concerns about unwanted attention, the option of a private Instagram account becomes appealing. By maintaining a private account, individuals can minimize unwanted interactions and selectively share personal information—whether it’s about their achievements, work in progress, relationships, culinary endeavors, or exciting adventures—within a trusted circle.

Private accounts on Instagram provide an opportunity for more meaningful interactions and connections to take place. Additionally, private accounts empower users to curate their content exclusively for approved individuals, ensuring that their full personalities and thought processes are shared only with those they desire.
Advantages of having a private account

What Are the Ways to Identify If an Instagram Account Is Private?

Look For The Lock Icon

Lock icon adjacent to username
Lock icon adjacent to username

To determine if an account is private, keep an eye out for the presence of a lock icon adjacent to the username. This indicator signifies that the account has been set to private.


When searching for someone you don’t follow, if they have a private account, you can identify it by observing a lock icon positioned below the follow button.

This account is private
This account is private

Lack Of Public Posts

If you are not following someone and, upon searching for their account, you find no visible public posts or stories, this suggests that the account is set to private.

Restricted Likes, Comments, And Tagged Photos

When visiting someone’s profile, if you notice a scarcity of comments, likes, and tagged photos, it can be an indication that the account is set to private. Public accounts typically tend to have a larger volume of such interactions and content.

Limited Followers

Private accounts typically have a smaller number of followers compared to public accounts, as they limit access to approved individuals. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Some public figures or meme pages may have a large following despite having a private account. In such cases, although they have many followers, their account remains set to private, possibly to have more control over their audience or to maintain a sense of exclusivity.

Follow Request

If you attempt to follow someone, instead of an immediate follow, you are required to request permission from the account owner, which signifies that the account is private.

Requested to follow
Requested to follow

Restricted Shares

A clear sign of a private account is when you attempt to share a story or post from that account with someone who doesn’t follow it. Instagram will restrict you from sharing and notify you that it is a private account.

Can't share because its a private account
I can’t share it because it’s a private account

Hidden From Browser Search

Here are the steps to determine if an account is private or not:

  • Visit the account by clicking on any post and selecting the three-dotted icon at the top right of that post. Choose “Share” to copy the link to the post.


  • Directly search for the account and click on the three-dotted icon at the top right of the screen. Select “Copy Profile URL” to obtain the account’s link.
  • Open Google Chrome and click on the three-dotted icon at the top right of the screen.
  • Choose “New Incognito Tab” to open a private browsing window.
  • In the search bar of the incognito tab, paste the copied link.
  • If the search displays “No results found,” it indicates that the account is private.

Determining if an Instagram account is private or not is usually straightforward. The challenge arises when you have already followed the account and need to ascertain its privacy status.


  • Instagram is a popular social networking platform that consists of a plethora of features and privacy options.
  • Private accounts on Instagram limit access to approved individuals only.
  • The advantages of private accounts include greater control over who can view content, safeguarding personal information, and reducing the risk of impersonation or content misuse.
  • To identify a private account, look for a lock icon next to the username, the absence of public posts or stories, limited comments, likes, and tagged photos, the need for a follow request to view content, and the inability to share posts or stories with non-followers.

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