How to View Private Instagram Profiles

Instagram is undeniably an impressive and valuable platform for sharing photos and videos with a massive audience. While IG encourages public sharing, it also does not restrict its users from having private accounts.

So what can you do if the Instagram profile you want to view is hidden from public view? Fortunately, getting access to someone’s Instagram profile is not rocket science and can be accomplished by implementing any number of quick, effective and easy to learn solutions.

Sure, it might take a little extra leg-work, but by following the simple steps in this guide you’ll be well on your way to viewing private accounts like a boss!

Read on and we will show you how to view private Instagram profiles.

But before that, let’s be clear about one thing: there are both advantages and disadvantages of using public or private Instagram accounts.

Public Vs Private Instagram Accounts

Public or confidential? Well, that depends on what you use your IG for, and what you wish to achieve from it.

If you are trying to hide your social life from your employers, families or exes, then it would be best for you to have all of your social accounts hidden from public view, including IG.

However, if privacy isn’t a concern, and you don’t mind sharing the content you publish with the public at large, then there is no real need for any additional privacy or taking steps to “lock down” your account from others.

Make your profile public if:

  • You’re a brand or small business looking for more engagement with your target audience.
  • You’re a public figure, social influencer, or aspiring talent looking for more public exposure and better engagement with fans.
  • You don’t mind sharing your personal life (including locations) with the world.

Make your profile confidential if:

  • You’re a low-profile person who doesn’t want strangers to see your contents (on hashtags) or locations.
  • You’re not in the spotlight.
  • You don’t care about getting more followers.

Best Use for Each Type of Profile

Public IG account — best for both commercial and non-commercial use such as gaining more social exposure, brand awareness and followings

Private Instagram account — best for both personal and non-commercial use like keeping your contents just to yourself and selected groups of friends.

How to Make Your IG Profile Private

Set your Instagram profile to private with these quick and easy steps!

  1. Open your Instagram app.
  2. Go to the profile icon which is at the bottom right corner of your screen.
  3. Tap on the 3-horizontal-line icon at the top right corner of your Instagram profile.
  4. Tap on the gear (settings) icon at the bottom right corner of your screen.
  5. Scroll down until you find the ‘Private account’ option. Switch it on.

Making it so that your IG account is hidden from public view is definitely much easier than trying to view private accounts of others.

How to View Private IG Profiles

Okay, let’s dig in.

Imagine that you’re trying to get to know someone that you barely know, but then you realize that the person has an IG account. You’ll likely want to connect with the person through the social platform, but then realize that the person’s account isn’t available for public viewing.

So what can you do?

1. Send a Follow Request

Screenshot of a private Instagram account with the profile picture blurred.

One of the most effective (and legitimate) ways to view private accounts on IG is simply by asking the owners directly. It doesn’t always matter if they know you or otherwise.

Here are some tips to help you with the process.

Ask nicely — Send them a follow request and wait for them to approve it. If you’re a friend of a friend or someone they already know, then it won’t be long until they approve your follow request. Once they’ve approved you, you should be able to see their photos, videos and Instagram stories instantly.

Be patient — After sending a follow request, wait patiently. Give your target some time. You might get lucky and have them approve your follow request in no time even when they don’t know you. Of course, this depends heavily on the users you’re trying to connect with.

Drop a line — Some people have a strict policy of not approving requests from people they do not know. In this case, send them a direct message instead. Express how you feel and let them know who you are and why you are interested to follow them on IG. Be as genuine as possible.

Inform or remind them — If you’ve met or seen them somewhere before, let them know. Try saying something like “Hi, you might or might not remember me, but we’ve recently met at your brother’s wedding.”

Interact with them — If you’re able to catch their attention via direct messaging, encourage them to check out your profile. You may want to keep your profile public. Make sure your contents are interesting so that they’ll feel compelled to accept your follow request.

Screenshot of how to send a direct message to a private Instagram profile

Find additions channels to contact them — Some people have tons of messages in their inbox, so it’s likely that they will miss your message. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get a reply, instead see if you can find some other way to get in touch with them. A lot of people have additional contact information on their link in bio. You probably noticed that a lot of people use tools for that purpose, like, and usually all their contact info is right on the top.

2. Search Their Usernames

You might not get far with this, but it does help a little. Here’s how you do it.

  • Log in to your account and find the people you’re looking for. You’ll still be able to see their usernames even when their accounts are set to hidden from the public.
  • Now, go to Google search (or any of your preferred search engine) and paste the name of your target into the search box.
  • High chances are your target might have left some trails on the digital space before they switched on their privacy protection on the platform. If they have their photos and information elsewhere, like an unprotected Facebook account, then you might be able to get their information easily.

This may not be the best and most effective solution for your mission. But if you’re looking for additional photos or information about your target, this is definitely a more legitimate way of doing it in comparison to our next solution.

💡 Related Post: See who views your Instagram

3. Create Fake Accounts

If sending a follow request and direct message don’t work for you, don’t give up. There’s still hope! You can create fake Instagram accounts.

While this is not a practice supported by the platform, technically, it works. With this method, the chances of you being able to bypass visibility and privacy settings is higher.

However, this method is overtly unethical, and as such you may want to reconsider it, or limit your access and usage. We do not endorse this practice, so by all means, DO IT AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Tips for creating a fake Instagram account:

  • Use decent photos. Make your profile as interesting as possible. We recommend creating a female persona.
  • If you choose to create an account of a female user, upload photos that reflect women’s interests. See what’s trending among female Instagram influencers and use it to guide you.
  • Try setting your Instagram account to private. This will create curiosity for your target.
  • Send a follow request to the account of the person you wish to view.
  • If you still don’t get any feedback, send your target a direct message and explain to them about your intention.

Screenshot of how to send a follow request to private account


4. Use Instagram Profile Viewer Tools

There are many websites out there claiming that they can help you view non-public Instagram profiles with just a few easy steps via their websites.

Be careful when entering these sites. They may lead you to a number of suspicious websites which would tell you that no payments or special requirements are needed in order to use their services.

Sounds too good to be true? You should be cautious — because these websites might be harboring dangerous viruses or malware.

Watch out for sites like WatchInsta, Instaspy, Private Instaviewer and View Private Profiles. These sites typically make people join surveys or sweepstakes that will eventually require their credit cards or other forms of payment in order to complete.

This is how they operate:

  • They will ask you to use your Instagram username.
  • Then, they will ask you to choose whether you wish to just view or download the photos.
  • They will also ask for your personal information.
  • Finally, they’ll take you to the private account that you wish to view.

We don’t recommend using any of these sites. They don’t look safe at all, and in an age when cyber threats are at an all-time high, you don’t want to take the risk.

Besides, Instagram’s API strictly doesn’t allow third-party apps to obtain their users’ personal data. This also means that while it’s possible for apps to access general data such as users’ list of followers, they won’t be able to see photos or videos of those Instagram accounts whose profiles are limited from public viewing.

If you’re willing to give them a try, do so at your own risk. We do not endorse any of these apps.

Overall, all of these methods can help you view those accounts with increased privacy settings on IG. We highly recommend using the first method which is simply following and asking the person directly. It’s ethical and won’t get you into trouble.

If that or a fake account doesn’t help, your last option is to try using any Instagram profile viewer tool that can help you view an Instagram profile without following. Please be extra careful when using them as there’s no guarantee that your data won’t get stolen in the process.

Alternatively, try to build a stronger social presence on Instagram. People tend to follow Instagrammers who have huge followings. You can achieve this by using services by Upleap.

By Francesca

A travel junkie who loves writing. When Francesca is not busy working, she goes out looking for adventures or food hunting with friends. Apart from writing and traveling, Francesca also keeps herself busy with cooking, baking and writing songs.

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