How To Delete (Almost) Anything On Instagram, Including Your Account

Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
In the social media realm, "delete" is a term that's almost as loaded as being cancelled. Whereas canceling someone or something tends to apply to more obtuse rejections and dismissals (for example, announcing you are "canceling 2018" or "canceling winter"), "delete" feels more powerful and actionable, since it applies to doing something within your realm of control.
Afterall, you can't really cancel 2018. You can, on the other hand, delete your Facebook account or almost anything on Instagram — from an outdated finsta to a DM or rude comment on a photo. We say almost anything because you can't really get rid of a photo someone else posts, unless it violates Instagram's Community Guidelines. Even then, that's not something you can delete on your own — you'll need to report it and hope Instagram's reviewers agree with your judgment call.
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For the most part, though, Instagram gives you the power to put up and take down what you please. Ahead, a full guide to taking full control of your account, whether your want to delete your activity status in Direct, a photo from your profile, or your Insta existence completely. Now, if only cancelling 2018 was just as easy.
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Delete A Comment

If you have multiple comments on a photo and only want to get rid of one of them, select the post and swipe left across the comment in question. Tap the trash icon that appears, or, if the comment was spam or abusive content, tap the icon with an exclamation mark to report it to Instagram before deleting it.

You can always proactively turn off commenting for a post by tapping the three dots in the upper right-hand corner and selecting "turn off commenting." (You can also turn comments back on by following the same steps.) If a comment has already been left on a photo, turning off commenting will automatically remove it.
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Delete Your Search History

Instagram stalking is harmless when you're alone, but can cause trouble if you open the app and tap to search — pulling up your full search history — when others are around. Keep the secrets to yourself by going to your Profile > Settings > Search History > Clear Search History.
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Delete A Conversation

Need a message to slide out of your DMs? That's easy — just go to your Direct folder and swipe left on the chat you want to delete. Select "mute" if you're simply annoyed by constant group chat notifications, or "delete" if you want to get rid of the conversation for good.
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Delete Your Activity Status

Leaving your DM activity status on doesn't have the same stigma as leaving on your iMessage read receipts, but it comes close. If you don't want followers knowing when you have seen a message, go to your Profile > Settings > Activity Status, and turn off Show Activity Status.

Keep in mind that taking away your own activity status removes others', too. You can't have it both ways.
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Delete A Follower

The only way to really "delete" a follower is to block them, which serves the same purpose: The person won't be able to see your photos, profile, or Story, and will not know you have blocked them.

To block someone, go to their Profile > Settings > Block.

If you only want to block someone from commenting on your posts, got to your Profile > Settings > Comment Controls > Block Comments From, and select the person's username.
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Delete Photos

There is no way to mass delete photos, so for every photo you want to delete, you'll need to open it, tap the three dots in the upper right-hand corner, and select "Delete". You'll be asked to confirm this action before the photo disappears from your profile for good.

However, unless you really hate a photo, archiving the image — a step that saves it, in case you change your mind later on — is a form of smart Instagram insurance. Follow the steps you would to delete the image, but tap "Archive" instead. (This is likely how Blake Lively briefly appeared to delete all of the photos from her profile — before later returning them with likes and comments intact — while promoting her film A Simple Favor.)
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Delete A Profile

To permanently delete a profile — whether it's your real Instagram account or a finsta — you'll need to do so from a desktop computer, not the app.

Head to Instagram's Delete Your Account page from your computer and select a reason for deleting your account (options include "privacy concerns" and "too many ads") from the drop down menu. Then, click "permanently delete my account."

If you still want to save all of the information from your account, including photos, DMs, and contacts, be sure to download your data before taking the plunge and hitting delete. Go to your Profile > Settings > Data Download. You can request to have a copy of all your data emailed to the address associated with your account.
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