View Private Instagram Accounts: How To Do It

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Karen Lin

Instagram Tips | Jun 11, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

We’ve all been there. You’re scrolling through IG, checking out other profiles, when you run into a private Instagram account. You want to know more about this person’s account or posts without sending a follow request. Now you’re wondering, “Is there another way to view private Instagram accounts?”

Luckily, we’ve got all the answers to your question. Keep reading to learn about private Instagram pages, how to view them, what not to use, and more.

Path Social Logo and red overlay over a phone on a patterned table showing a private Instagram profile.

What Is a Private Instagram Profile?

Instagram’s private mode is available to all 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.

 You also control who follows your account since you confirm or reject follow requests. Additionally, you can switch to public mode at any time. With a public Instagram account, anybody on the app can view and freely follow your posts. 

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

Unlike Facebook, Instagram’s private or public mode applies to the entire account, not individual photos or posts. If you have a private account, you can’t set the visibility of specific posts to the public. If you have a public profile, you can’t make the visibility of select posts private. 

Before placing your profile in private or public mode, consider the pros and cons. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • 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? 

That said, it’s not the end of the world if you choose one option and want to switch later. You can easily switch between the two modes any time you want. Give each one a try to see what works best for you.

Path Social logo and red filter over close up of viewing a private Instagram account.

Why Make Your Instagram Account Private

Making your Instagram private is the best way to protect your content. By selecting private mode, you know who sees your photos, videos and other media. Putting up this wall lowers the chances of your information falling into the wrong hands. This is especially important for protecting young adults and teens from predators or other bad actors.

That said, not everyone wants to private their account. If you want to get 1k followers in 5 minutes, for example, you’ll need to keep your account open. That way, it’s easier for others to discover your content.

Reasons to View Private Instagram Accounts

Before we get into the fine details of how to view private Instagram accounts, let’s talk about the “why.” Why would someone see a private Instagram account and want to dig deeper? Sometimes, the answer is simple. 

You recently joined Instagram, or you just saw a profile of someone you know. IG is a social platform; you want to connect with that person and their content. But let’s say this isn’t the case. If you’re the one trying to gain access to someone’s Instagram feed, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Is viewing this private account essential to my safety or peace of mind?
  • Do I want to check out this person’s page because it genuinely interests me?
  • Do I know this person and want to be their friend on the app?
  • Is it important for my work that I see this private content?
  • Will viewing private Instagram profiles benefit the account owner or me?

Why Shouldn’t You View Private Instagram Pages 

Let’s look at the other side of the coin. What are the scenarios in which you should leave an Instagram profile private?

  • You don’t know the person. If you don’t have a connection to this person, leave their page as it is.
  • Many people create a private Instagram account because they don’t want the public to see their photos and videos. If they haven’t asked you to look at their page, respect their wishes.
  • Viewing the private Instagram will hurt your mental health or the mental health of the other person.
  • The profile owner has asked you to refrain from viewing their page or sending a follow request.

Is There a Legitimate Way To View an Instagram Private Profile?

You can view an Instagram private profile by becoming a follower — given that they approve your follow request. 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 two factors:

  • How well they know you.
  • How much they value their privacy. 

Let’s say they only consider you a casual acquaintance. The desired account may grant you access if they’re not too cautious about guarding their privacy. If you’re a stranger and the person limits their circle to family and friends, they won’t confirm your follow request. That means 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 know. This second account is a “Finsta” or Fake Instagram account. If you’re a fan, you can only follow them via their public profile. Their private Instagram profile is off-limits to the public. You may have to find other ways to take a peek to learn more about their private life. 

Path Social logo and red filter overlaying image of how to view a private Instagram account.

Other Methods To View a Private Instagram Account

We’ll level with you. We know if you’re doing a Google Search on how to view private Instagrams, you don’t want to press “Follow.” Or you can’t, which means you want a way around that. This is where we get into online stalking territory.

Online stalking may be pervasive in this day and age of social media, but it’s not proper behavior. Famous personalities, of course, understand that invasion of their privacy is part of the package. Nevertheless, accessing their private accounts through creative and deceptive means is unacceptable. This is also true for the private accounts of average individuals. 

That said, there are other ways to view a private Instagram account. With few exceptions, we don’t recommend that you try most of these methods. Why? Because some of them directly violate Instagram’s terms of service. 

Following through on some of these ways to see someone’s private photos could earn you a suspension, ban or block. Here are the most common tricks. 

Create a New Identity for a Temporary IG Account

The most common solution for viewing private Instagram profiles is to create a fake account. Use this method when you know the person you want to follow won’t approve a follow request from you.

They might let you in if they’re not sensitive about strangers seeing their private Instagram photos and Instagram stories. However, creating a fake IG account won’t work if they’re highly cautious about who they let view their private Instagram.

Create a Duplicate Account

Another type of fake Instagram profile that you can create is a duplicate account. I.e., impersonating another user. Disclaimer: we highly discourage this method. Nevertheless, countless individuals engage in this practice to view private Instagram accounts. 

How does this strategy work? First, identify your target account. That is, the private account you want to view. Then, research their network and activities on all social media accounts. These are likes and comments they make on other people’s posts or even public photo’s they’re tagged in. 

Second, identify the desired Instagram profile you want to impersonate. This profile should be someone they know and interact with but who isn’t their best friend. You want to pick someone your target won’t immediately text to confirm the identity of your duplicate account.

Pick your candidate and save their profile picture to your device. Then, use this photo to create a new profile. Copy and paste anything in their bio to this fraud account’s bio. Once you complete the identical profile, send a follow request to the targeted private Instagram account.

Sometimes, this trick works. But only for a short time. Eventually, the original user you wanted access to catches on. They’ll likely expose, block, and report you when this happens. This could have significant implications for your life outside of the online world. But before all that happens, you get a good look at the person’s profile and posts.

If the person is shrewd, they may spot the fake account immediately, and the faker’s mission would fail. Their target will block the account and report it to Instagram.

Path Social logo and red filter overlaying Google search logo.

Perform a Google Search

Did you know you can use Google Images to view private IG pages? If the target profile used to have a public account, then you can find it on Google. Google indexes public Instagram posts. So when you do a Google Image search, you may find some old, public posts. Just Google search your target’s current username and/or real name. 

Perform a Search on Other Social Media Platforms

Sometimes, you have to move on to another app. If you can’t view private Instagram accounts of your choosing, check out the rest of their online presence. Usually, Instagram users also have accounts on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok. If you are still looking for your target on IG, you can hunt for their other social media accounts. Hit the search bar of these other apps with their IG username or real name.

Of course, there’s always the chance that they’ve also restricted their other social pages. But this method is worth a try. You may still get a peek into their life without using a borderline unethical method. 

Take a Peek Via a Friend’s Account

Not every Instagram account ends up on the wrong side of a private Instagram profile. What do we mean by that? We mean, ask your friends. If you and your target have mutual friends and these friends already follow your target, you’ve got an in. Try asking your pal if they let you view your target’s profile using their account.

If you and this individual are close, ask them to send you screenshots of your target’s Instagram content. A word of caution: make sure your friend won’t tell your target about your plan. You don’t want to blow your cover.

Path Social logo and red filter overlaying hand holding a phone with Instagram in front of a laptop.

Speak to the Account Owner Directly

Call us old-fashioned, but if you want to view private Instagram profiles, you should talk to the people behind them. We know, we know. You probably have your reasons for not wanting to communicate with the private Instagram owners. But if it’s not a risk to your safety, try reaching out in person. Talk out your issues with them or get to know them in real life. That’ll give you more insight than anything on their IG.

Use Third-Party Apps

Here we come to the last way to view private Instagram accounts: the private Instagram profile viewer. An Instagram viewer app promises to grant you complete, confidential, undetectable access to another IG user’s page. There are a lot of third-party apps that offer “Instagram private profile viewer tools.”

You should be wary of these apps, as most do not work as advertised. Just like with Instagram story viewer apps, web viewers for Instagram, and apps to see who views your IG. Scammers design them to infect devices with malware or ransomware. Others may just take your money if you’re lucky or, worse, steal your data.

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Top 10 Private Instagram Viewer Apps

Still interested in private Instagram viewer apps? Here are some of the most popular private Instagram viewers. Please note that we do not endorse any sites or services on this list. What you choose to do with your personal data is up to you. However, we urge you to proceed with caution.


To see content on private Instagram accounts without them knowing, try mSpy. This private Instagram account viewer app lets you see everything from someone’s content to their follower/following lists. You can also use it on other social platforms like Tinder, Facebook and Viber. The only downside is the app isn’t free. You’ll have to invest a good chunk of change for all that power.


Want a private viewer app that does more than IG? Check out Glassagram. This service doesn’t stop at showing you private Instagram stories and content. You can also use it to track and monitor phone calls, cell activity and GPS. This app is popular with parents to ensure their kids stay safe online and IRL.


IGLookup is IG’s most widely used private profile viewer. How does this private Instagram viewer work? You simply go to the IGLookup website, click the “Spy now” button, and enter your target’s username. The process usually takes a bit of time before the app displays the private posts of your target. 


Next on our list of third-party tools to view private Instagram accounts? PrivateInsta. This app is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, and OSX. The app doesn’t require users to sign in to view private accounts. However, you will have to complete a survey first. After that, all you have to do is enter the username of your target on the app’s website. Hit submit, and you’re in business.

Path Social logo and red filter overlaying a view of a private Instagram account.


Are you interested in a private Instagram viewer that doesn’t require a download? Then welcome to InstaLooker. Go directly to their website, click “Spy now,” enter your target’s username, and then hit “Start Viewer.” The app also offers an export option to download your target’s photos and videos. 


To view private content on IG with hacking, try InstaRipper. First, you must download the app. It’s compatible with Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows. Then, you enter your target’s username. You’ll receive a link to view your target’s private accounts. 


Want a new way to view private accounts? Download InstaDP. 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. The private Instagram profile picture 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 Photo Viewer

Of all the private Instagram viewers, this is the most well-known. It’s easy to see why: it’s all in the name. This Instagram Private account viewer works like the other apps. You must visit the app’s website and provide your target’s username. The app asks to verify if the profile it comes up with is correct. Once you’ve confirmed it, you can view your target’s account without them knowing. 


You don’t need to log into your IG to view private Instagram accounts. Use WatchInsta instead. 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. 


Last on our list is this Instagram Private account viewer: Insta-Downloader. This app only allows you to download your target’s profile photo. Go to the app’s website, paste the profile photo’s link into the download box, and click “Download Photo.”

Path Social Logo and red filter overlaying hands holding a phone with a private Instagram account in front of a laptop.

How To Make Your Instagram Account 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 who might find a way to get past your privacy settings. (i.e., They might try one or all of the methods mentioned above. Be extra careful before approving new follow requests.) But this filters out most people and gives you control over who views, comments, likes, shares, or direct messages you.

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

  1. Launch your Instagram app. 
  2. Tap on the small icon of your profile picture in the bottom right corner. 
  3. Once on your profile page, press the three horizontal lines at the top of the page. Tap “Settings.”
  4. From the account setting options, tap on the “Privacy” button. 
  5. At the top, you’ll see “Account Privacy” and the “Public/Private Account” option directly below that.
  6. Your account is public if the button is gray (set to the left). Tap on the button to put it to the right. It will turn blue, which means you’ve turned your Instagram account private 

Path Social logo and red filter overlaying a hand holding a phone viewing private Instagram account.

What To Do Instead of Trying To View Private Instagram Accounts

Trying a private Instagram viewer or other shady methods to view private Instagram accounts is tempting. But here’s what we recommend instead: focus less on the profiles you can’t see and more on those you can. Even better, direct your attention to your own page and growth. This way, you’ll get more out of the app and might even find a new source of business.

Final Thoughts

If your Instagram account is personal, it’s always best to keep it private. If you want to know what someone’s posting, send them a request. If you can’t do that, search for them on Google and other social media platforms. 

Other methods are deceptive and unethical. Remember that any unethical behavior can get you blocked by your target individual and even banished from Instagram. 

Are you interested in something better than trying to view private Instagram accounts? Partner with Path Social to transform your IG scrolling into an IG strategy. At Path Social, we’ve built up an in-house team of experts and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm. 

Why? To build up your Instagram presence. That’s how we reach organic, targeted, interested, and engaged users. No more worrying about private accounts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.