Instagram Privacy Tips and FAQ

Accidentally liked a picture on InstagramCheck out my post about privacy and notifications for liking and unliking on Instagram.

I reveal the mysteries of Instagram’s inner workings. Some nuances to privacy settings are unclear on Instagram Help, so let’s shed some light. Skip to ii. Privacy below if you know enough about basic account management and third party Instagram tools and websites.

i. Instagram FAQ

Instagram_screenshot_photo_by_enda_ungu_emilybinder1. Can I have multiple usernames?
Yes. Each must be associated with a different email address.

2. Can I toggle between my usernames on the iPhone app?
No, you have to log out and log in to switch your profile. Here are tips on using Dropbox and Fotogramme to make toggling less painful.

3. Can I see Instagram pictures online (in my browser outside the app)?
Yes. Users can share pictures to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr. If a user simply tweets a link to the IG picture, you can see the picture by clicking the link (it used to appear in twitter.com’s native display). However, you won’t be able to login and Like or comment when viewing IG pics on these other network. To do this:

4. Can I Like and comment on Instagram pictures outside the app? How can I manage my Instagram account in a browser?
Yes. The simplest way is to login at instagram.com. statigr.am is alright. There are several other third party Instagram services. This post covers the top 10, however I’ll leave out the cat-related and meaningless competition-based ones in my list. Here are two sites with functionality close to the Instagram iPhone app:

A. Ink361 (formerly Inkstagram) A webviewer to view Instagram photos. Login with your Instagram credentials. You can do everything you can on the iPhone app except add new pictures.
Instgre.at_Insta-great-screenshot_emilybinder

5. How can I print my Instagram photos?
Try socialprintstudio.com (formerly Printstagram) or try the iPhone app PostalPix to print four-inch squares from your Instagram library for 30 cents each.

ii. Privacy Tips

You can block a user. This means that even if they are following you, they will not see your photos in their feed, nor will your actions (commenting, liking) show up in their feed. However, they can still see your photos in other ways: If you tweet or post a link to another social network when you share an IG photo, they can click it and see the photo. For example, I am private but I shared to Twitter when I uploaded this Sweetwater photo: Sweetwater Brewery Instagram picture by Emily Binder Twitter adoreajarbakery

Anyone can see this photo online, but only IG users who I have approved to follow me can A) view it naturally in their feed, B) view it within the iPhone app, and C) like or comment. Don’t put anything on Instagram that you’d be ashamed for someone to see.

Private mode

You can toggle “Private Account” on or off in your Profile settings.  (Tap the person icon on the bottom right of the app, then tap the gear icon in top right for Options.) Anyone who followed you while you were not in private mode will not be affected, but new followers will be in approval purgatory just like on Foursquare. More on viewing private photos online here.

Stalkers

If you are already private and still have a particular user you don’t want to have access, be mindful of new followers. If a user has few pictures (less than ten), few followers, or lacks profile picture that is a red flag, this may be a fake account.

Tip: If you’re concerned about a stalker, save all their email addresses in your phone contacts. When a new user joins IG with an email address you stored, IG announces, “Your friend (Caught B. Ingdumb) just joined Instagram.” Not knowing this, the stalker will assume that their fake profile is unbeknownst to you.

Deleting comments on Instagram for iPhone

You can delete your own comments anywhere and others’ comments on your photos. When viewing your photo, tap the talk bubble icon below the photo. If you slide your finger to the left over any comment, you’ll have the option to delete it. Slide back to the right if you don’t want to delete.

Comment below with any questions.

*This blog is not affiliated with Instagram in any way. My knowledge is based on my own experience and experimentation.

Update 10/23/15: I’ve updated this post for Instagram version 7.8 for iOS 9.1.

Update 8/27/12: Instagram 3.0 was released on 8/16/12. This app update introduced Photo Maps and greater privacy over the following and follower lists for private users (now these lists are not visible to non-followers). This post was originally published on 12/6/11 and the comments predating 8/16/12 reflect Instagram 2.0. I won’t go back and edit all the comments but I will answer in real time going forward.

Update 2/10/12: Due to the volume of comments, it may take me a few days to respond. Read through the posted responses to see if your question has already been answered.

  • Khosrow Abtahi

    if instagram is set on public, and someone follows will i be notified? Or they simply show as one of my followers.

    • http://www.emilybinder.com/ Emily Binder

      You will be notified on your phone if you have Instagram notifications turned on (phone settings – notifications – Instagram). If not, you would still see the new follower noted in Instagram Activity – You.

      • Khosrow Abtahi

        thank you. one more question, if i block someone, and when i search for that person i still show on their following, without any follow/following box to the right. is that normal? or i should not show at all? Thank you

  • Nichole

    if someone was following me on instagram, then they block me, it still shows them following me like usual, and i know they can still see my photos if they search me, but my question is.. since they are technically still following me, are my photos still coming up on their newsfeed?

    • http://www.emilybinder.com/ Emily Binder

      No, if they block you, your photos will not show in their newsfeed.

      • Hello kitty

        Hi..If this person just recently unfollow me and made me unfollow this person as well, and now they are sending me a follow request, however when I accept the request, it’s not coming in my newsfeed as this so and so person started following you, but that person’a name is already In my follower list.. However, I get request again as though I did not accept it earlier.. what’s the problem here? did this person blocked me and forgot to unblocked b4 requesting again?

  • Hello kitty

    Hi..If this person just recently unfollow me and made me unfollow this person as well, and now they are sending me a follow request, however when I accept the request, it’s not coming in my newsfeed as this so and so person started following you, but that person’a name is already In my follower list.. However, I get request again as though I did not accept it earlier.. what’s the problem here? did this person blocked me and forgot to unblocked b4 requesting again? please reply as soon as possible.. tq

  • Bigz_2015

    I want to know whether if I like a photo of an account which is private, will my followers be able to see what i’ve liked on the activity tab of people that they are following?

  • Kristina Lekaj

    I changed the privacy setting on Instagram a lot of times to be honet and now I want to change it again but it is not possible. Will I be able to do it again as time passes by??

  • muzni

    Ive been following my friend for about a month,then at once i couldnt find him.and he was not able to search me too.there was a message in his account tht he had some ghost followers and they are removed. How can i follow my friend again. Its a big prob.pls give me a solution

    • http://www.emilybinder.com/ Emily Binder

      On a computer (not mobile device), visit instagram.com and login. Then go to your friend’s profile. The URL format is: instagram.com/USERNAME (enter your friend’s username at the end). Follow.

  • Crystal

    How can I see who someone recently started following on ig? Their following list can’t be by most recent because I’m at the top of it.

    • http://www.emilybinder.com/ Emily Binder

      Typically, if the list includes fewer than 200 users, it will be alphabetized. If greater than 200, it will display by most recent. If you’re at the top but you are not most recent, it sounds like the list may be alphabetical. If you let me know the username, I can take a look for you.

  • J-Man1212

    My profile is public yet I blocked someone who also has a public page. I checked their followers and I am still listed there. They can also like my pictures and comment. Any reason why if I blocked them??

  • Lisa

    Can anyone tell me if someone’s “following” list on Instragram is listed in order by how often they visit that person’s profile? I’d heard that Facebook is like that, so I assume IG is the same. No??