Is There A Way to View Private Instagram Accounts?

Is There A Way to View Private Instagram Accounts?
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Heidi Lang

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2021

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With more than one billion active users per month, Instagram has become the most popular social media platform for sharing visual content, whether to stay connected with family and friends or to reach out to and engage with other users with similar interests or a target market for one’s brand. Most personal accounts are, of course, kept private; Instagram accounts of celebrities, influencers, and businesses are normally available for public viewing. Whatever their default privacy settings, users always have the option to customize who can view specific posts and information. 

One of the frequently asked questions about Instagram is, “Is it possible to view a private Instagram account?” Keep reading to find out. 

Is There A Way to View Private Instagram Accounts?

What is a Private Instagram Profile?

Private mode is an option available exclusively to personal accounts, whether you’re a regular Jane/Joe or a well-known personality. When you set your profile to private mode, only your followers can view, like, and comment on your posts and you have control over who follows your account as you can confirm or reject follow requests. You also have the option to switch to public mode so that anybody on Instagram can view your posts and follow you freely. 

Business accounts, however, are always public. This means any Instagram user can follow you and see, like, and comment on your posts. If you wish to make your account private, you will first have to switch it back to a personal account.  

Unlike Facebook, Instagram’s private or public mode only applies to the account itself. If you have a private profile, you can’t set the visibility of specific posts to public; and if you have a public profile, you can’t make the visibility of select posts private. 

You should carefully consider the pros and cons before making the decision to set your personal profile to private or public mode. How seriously do you take your privacy? What’s the purpose of your Instagram account? Do you care if total strangers or people you barely know follow you and see and/or react to your posts? 

You can easily switch between the two modes any time you want to, however. You can give each one a try to see what works best for you. 

Is There a Legitimate Way to View Private Instagram Profiles?

Obviously, you can view a private IG profile and their posts by becoming a follower — given, of course, that your follow request is approved. Following a private account is the only legitimate way to view and interact with their posts. Whether or not they confirm your follow request will depend on how well they know you and how much they value their privacy. 

If they only consider you a casual acquaintance, they may grant you access if they’re not too cautious about guarding their privacy. If you’re a complete stranger and the person prefers to limit their circle to only family and friends, however, it’s very likely that your follow request won’t be confirmed and you won’t have any way of viewing their private posts. 

Some celebrities, for example, create one account for public consumption and another just for people they personally know. If you’re a fan, you may only be able to follow them via their public profile. If you’re keen on learning more about their private life, you may have to find other ways to take a peek because their private Instagram profile will be off-limits to the public. 

What are Other Methods to View Private Instagram Accounts?

Online stalking may be pervasive in this day and age of social media, but it’s not always proper behavior. Famous personalities, of course, understand that invasion of their privacy is part of the package. Nevertheless, getting access to their private accounts by going through creative and deceptive means is still not acceptable. This is even more true for the private accounts of average individuals. 

With that said, there are ways to get a glimpse of a private Instagram account. We don’t recommend that you try them because you’ll run the risk of getting reported and blocked. Different solutions to this privacy obstacle are easily searchable on Google, of course. Here are the most common tricks. 

Create a New Identity for a Temporary IG Account

This method may only work if you know that the person you want to follow won’t approve your follow request using your own account. If the person in question is extremely cautious about who they allow to view their private profile, creating a fake IG account may not be an effective means to gain access.  

Create a Duplicate Account

This involves impersonating another IG user and can get you into serious trouble. Nevertheless, countless individuals engage in this practice, and some do it to gain access to another person’s private profile. 

How do they do it? First, they have to do some research on all social media platforms to find some of the activities of the person they’re interested in. These are likes and comments they make on other people’s posts, or even photos they may be tagged in that are public. 

Second, they identify the likely candidates for impersonation. These are people that the person of interest interacts with the most. They settle on a candidate and then save a photo of the person to their phone/computer. They use this photo to create the duplicate account; they also create a believable bio using the same info from the original to make the duplicate account as believable as possible. Once the duplicate profile is complete, they can now use it to send a follow request to their person of interest. 

Sometimes, this trick works; but the illusion doesn’t last. Sooner or later, the duplicate account is exposed and, more often than not, blocked and reported. Between the time when the follow request is approved and when the fake account is discovered, the faker would have already gotten a good look at their person of interest’s profile and posts. 

If the said person is a shrewd sort, they may spot the fake account right away and the faker’s mission would be a failure. Again, they may be reported to Instagram and will most likely be blocked by their target. 

Perform a Google Search

If your target profile used to have a public account, then you may be able to find it on Google. Public Instagram posts are indexed by Google, so when you do a Google search, you may find some of these old, public posts. You may do a Google search using your target’s current username and/or their real name. 

Perform a Search on Other Social Media Platforms

More often than not, Instagram users also have accounts on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. If you’re unable to find your target on IG, you can look for their other social media accounts where they will most likely share the link to their IG profile. Of course, there’s always the chance that their other social media profiles will also be restricted. But this method is worth a try as you may also be able to view some of their posts on other platforms — and, needless to say, this is not borderline unethical. 

Take a Peek Via a Friend’s Account

If you and your target have mutual friends and these friends are already following your target, or if you know someone who’s a follower, you could try to ask this person if they would let you view your target’s profile using their account. If you and this individual have a close enough relationship, you could also ask them to send you photos and screenshots of posts.  

Is There A Way to View Private Instagram Accounts?

Use Third-Party Apps

There are a lot of third-party apps that offer “private profile viewer tools” for Instagram. You should be wary of these apps as most of them do not work as advertised and are actually designed to infect devices with malware or ransomware; others may just take your money, if you’re lucky, or also steal your personal data. Here are some of the most popular of these apps. 

IGLookup.com

Also known as Instagram Grammies, this app is the most widely used private profile viewer on IG. To access a private IG profile, you simply go to the IGLookup website, click on the “Spy now” button, and then enter the username of your target. The process usually takes a bit of time before the private posts of your target are displayed for your perusal. 

PrivateInsta

This app is compatible with Andoid, iOS, Windows, as well as OSX. The app doesn’t require a user to sign in to their account to be able to view a private profile; however, you will have to complete a survey first. Once you’ve completed the survey, all you have to do is enter the username of your target on the app’s website and then hit submit. 

InstaLooker

The app doesn’t require a download. Just go directly to their website, click on “Spy now,” enter your target’s username, and then hit “Start Viewer.” The app also offers an export option that allows you to download your target’s photos and videos. 

InstaRipper

You will first have to download the app; it’s compatible with Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows. And then you will be asked to enter your target’s username. You will be provided with a link from which you’ll be able to view your target’s private profile. 

InstaDPS

This app works differently than other private profile viewer apps. It will ask you to copy your target’s Instagram username and paste it into the input text box. Next, you’ll click on the “Download” button. An image of your target’s profile will appear; right-click on it to save it to your device. And then you’ll be able to view it any time you want. 

Private Instagram Viewer

Similar to the other apps, you will have to visit the app’s website and provide your target’s username. You will be asked to verify if the profile it comes up with is correct; once you’ve confirmed it, you’ll be able to view your target’s account without them knowing about it. 

WatchInsta

You won’t need to log in to your own Instagram account to use the app. Just visit the website and provide your target’s username. Choose the type of content you want to view: photos, videos, text files, or all of them. Click “View Profile.” You also have the option to export any or all of the files in .zip format. 

Insta-downloader.net

This app only allows you to download your target’s profile photo. You simply have to go to the app’s website, paste the profile photo’s link into the download box, and then click on “Download Photo.” 

How Can You Make Your Profile Private?

If you value your privacy and wish to restrict access to your profile, set your account’s visibility to private. There will always be people out there who might still find a way to get past your privacy settings, i.e., they might try one or all of the methods mentioned above, so be extra careful before approving new follow requests.

To switch your account to private, just follow these steps:

  1. Launch your Instagram app. 
  2. Tap on “Settings,” which is located at the bottom right corner of the screen. 
  3. From the account setting options, tap on the “Privacy” button. 
  4. The privacy settings will be displayed; tap on “Connections” and then “Account Privacy.”
  5. You’ll see the Public/Private option. If the button is gray (set to the left), your account is public. Tap on the button to set it to the right; it will turn blue, which means your account is now private. 

Final Thoughts

If your Instagram account is a personal one, it’s always best to keep it private. If you’re into some harmless online stalking but you don’t actually want to follow a person, the next best thing you can do is to search for them on Google and other social media platforms. The other methods of attempting to gain access to a private profile are deceptive and unethical — and, therefore, not recommended. Remember that any unethical behavior can get you blocked by your target individual and even banished from Instagram.