Do you feel that it’s time to take a break from Instagram? You’re not alone.
There’s no doubt that Instagram can be a fun and useful app. You can use it to spend your free time checking out images and videos of just about anything, from your favorite sports teams, to fashion, to hobbies, and so much more.
Instagram can also become toxic. It’s been shown that social media can have harmful effects, especially on its users’ self-image and mental health, and this has hit younger users the hardest. It’s also been shown to be highly addictive, with users spending hours mindlessly scrolling and later regretting it.
Some who have struggled with Instagram and other social media have decided it best for them to leave the platform. However, you have options in distancing yourself from Instagram. Keep in mind that permanently deactivating your Instagram account is different from just taking a break from it.
Are you thinking about disabling your Instagram account or even deleting your profile permanently? Here are some things to consider and steps to take.
What does it mean to deactivate an Instagram account?
If you are asking yourself, How do I stop using Instagram?, one way is to deactivate your account. However, you should be aware that deactivating an Instagram account can be permanent, so you should take this option very seriously. You may deeply regret losing your account data, so you may want to avoid deactivating your Instagram account.
Can you pause Instagram without deactivating it?
Rather than permanently deactivating your account, you might instead ask, “how do I pause Instagram?” There are a few ways you can pause Instagram without disabling your account.
The first option is to make your Instagram account private. While this doesn’t prevent you from opening the app and scrolling, it can give you back a measure of privacy and control. Only your followers can see your posts, and you must approve follow requests from others.
The next option, pausing your account, is a bit more dramatic. This essentially temporarily disables it for as long as you like. When you do this, your entire account—profile, photos, likes, comments—will be removed from everyone else’s view until you re-enable your account.
Deactivating only certain features of Instagram
Another option is to deactivate only certain features of Instagram. This way you can reduce the number of notifications you receive from Instagram but continue to use Instagram’s core functionality. Below are a few features you can consider disabling.
Deactivating Instagram notifications without deactivating Instagram
Instagram’s notification feature can be useful in helping you keep up with activity on your account, such as ‘likes’ or comments on your posts, direct messages, or when accounts you follow post content. The downside of notifications is that they can be frustratingly intrusive.
You can turn off Instagram notifications on your phone while still being able to use all of Instagram’s other features. Here’s how:
- Open your phone’s settings.
- Tap ‘Notifications’.
- Tap ‘Instagram’.
- Look for the ‘Allow Notifications’ switch button. If it is green, notifications are enabled. To disable all notifications, tap the switch button and it will turn fully white, completely disabling all notifications.
User Instagram’s Take a Break feature
Another method for stepping away from Instagram without permanently deactivating your account is using its “Take a Break” feature. Here’s how:
- Open Instagram and tap your profile picture in the bottom right.
- Tap the three stacked horizontal lines at the top right, then tap Your Activity.
- In the ‘Time’ tab, under ‘Manage Your Time,’ you have these options:
a. Set reminders to take breaks – Lets you take regular breaks from scrolling for the amount of time you choose.
b. Set a daily time limit – Limits the time you spend on Instagram each day by scheduling a reminder for you to close the app after the amount of time you choose.
c. Notification settings – Allows you to customize or turn off Instagram notifications.
Stop posting and checking the app
The easiest way to take a break from Instagram is to just stop posting content and checking the app. While this might seem simple in theory, it can be challenging in practice, and here’s evidence of why: In 2019, we spent a global average of 2 hours and 23 minutes on social media every day, 53 minutes of which was on Instagram.
This is because of the nature of Instagram, and one of the reasons it becomes addictive. Using it wires your brain to quickly open the app and begin scrolling through it when you feel bored or desire some entertainment or just a distraction.
We’ve used Instagram to condition ourselves to avoid boredom and replace it with shallow images and thoughts. But boredom—which is essentially just alone time to let our minds run free—is where our imagination and creativity flow. Social media delivers an addictive experience, but not thought.
Uninstalling the Instagram app without disabling your account
Another effective but not permanent option for getting away from Instagram is to uninstall or delete the app from your phone. All your Instagram data will remain intact, since this doesn’t delete your Instagram account, but it will give you a break from the app.
You’ll receive no notifications that urge you to open the app, sucking you back into the dreaded scroll. You’ll also be less tempted to want to use the app if you can’t simply tap and open it but must instead go through the steps to re-install the app to your phone to use it.
Fully deleting and deactivating your Instagram account
The nuclear option for getting away from Instagram is to deactivate and delete your Instagram account. This option is permanent in the sense that, once you do this, you will never be able to use that account again, and all the data on that account will be gone forever (of course, you can always create a new account later). If you’ve decided this option is best for you, here’s how:
- Use a computer or mobile browser to log in to your Instagram account. Note that you cannot delete your Instagram account from the app.
- Go to the “Delete your account” page here: https://instagram.com/accounts/remove/request/permanent/
- From the dropdown, select a response for “Why are you deleting your account?”
- Re-enter your account password.
- Click the “Delete [your username]” button.
I hope you’ve enjoyed and found this information useful. If you have additional experiences or tips to share related to deactivating or putting your Instagram account on pause, post in the comments below and we can keep this discussion going!