How to Delete Your Facebook Account

Know your options when closing your Facebook account

Facebook Delete Account button

Like many of us, you may be thinking about breaking up with Facebook. Whether it's the exposure of 50 million accounts to hackers, the Cambridge Analytica debacle, or you're just sick of getting stuck in the FB rabbit hole, moving on from Mark Zuckerberg's social network is both doable and fairly easy (with some patience).

Whatever your particular reason, it's not super tricky to get out.

If you want to make a clean, permanent exit and delete Facebook from your life, here's a simple summary of how to do it and what to consider before pulling the plug.

Looking to delete a Facebook Page but keep your personal one? Check out our step-by-step instructions on doing just that.

Deactivate Facebook vs. Delete Facebook

Your first choice is whether to just deactivate your Facebook account or actually delete it. Facebook isn't merely a collection of food photos or diatribes from your weird uncle, either. You've probably been using Facebook as an authentication service to sign in to a bunch of web and app services, too.

If you want to play it safe, start by deactivating your account and seeing what stops working. If you need to, you can reactivate your account, log in to any affected services (like Pinterest, Instagram, etc.), and then change your logins. You can switch to Google or just an email/password instead of Facebook for those connected accounts.

Once you're ready for a permanent solution, you can finally delete your Facebook account. When you do so, you won't be able to retrieve any of your account information, photos or postings. Luckily, Facebook really wants you to think about your choice, so it gives you 30 days to change your mind. After that, however, you'll need to start a new account if you really want to return.

Deactivating Your Facebook Account

Like we mentioned above, you might want to experiment being free of Facebook first, before you take that more permanent "deleting" step.

  1. To deactivate temporarily, first go to https://www.facebook.com/deactivate/.

  2. You'll need to login again for security. Click the Continue button after you've typed in your password.

    Continue button when logging into Facebook
  3. Facebook can seem desperate to keep you around, however. First, you'll see a message that shows a few friends who (obviously!) will miss you if you go.

    Then you have to tell Facebook why you want to temporarily deactivate your account. Facebook will try to help you stay active, giving you possible solutions to your chosen reason. (Spending too much time on Facebook? Try turning off Notifications!)

    I have a privacy concern reason on Facebook
  4. Once you've chosen a reason, however, simply hit the Deactivate button at the bottom.

    Deactivate button on Facebook

Reactivating your account is hilariously easy. Simply log back into Facebook and you'll be back!

Before You Quit Facebook for Good

If you've decided to kick Facebook to the curb for real, you'll want to do two things: download all of your data and disconnect any services that you use your Facebook credentials to log in to.

Download Your Data

Facebook makes it pretty easy to save all your stuff, including photos, videos, message transcripts, and friends lists:

  1. Click the triangle in the top right corner of the Facebook screen.

  2. Select Settings from the menu.

    Settings button on Facebook home page
  3. Click or press Your Facebook Information.

  4. Go to Download Your Information and click View.

    View link for Download Your Information in Your Facebook Information tab
  5. Select All of my data or pick one of the other options available to you.

    All of my data dropdown menu on the Download Your Information page
  6. Choose HTML or JSON (choose HTML if you're unsure) in the drop-down menu, and then select High, Medium, or Low media quality.

    High is probably the best choice for most. This will get you all those shared photos and videos back to you in the highest possible quality.

    High, Medium, Low dropdown menu for Media quality
  7. You can pick and choose the various types of Facebook data via checkboxes, but it's probably best to check them all.

    Data type checkboxes on Facebook Download Your INformation page
  8. Click or press Create File to confirm the download request.

    Create File button
  9. Be ready to wait, especially if you've been on Facebook for a long time.

    Your file is being processed message on Facebook
  10. When the file is ready, Facebook will send you a notice. Follow the instructions to download the copy of your Facebook data.

Disconnect Apps & Websites

Once you delete your Facebook account, you obviously won't be able to log in to connected sites and apps with credentials that no longer exist.

Removing those connections before you delete your Facebook account can make it easier to change the method of logging in on those individual services later but if you're at all concerned, it would be smart to change how you sign in to those services before deleting your account.

  1. You can check which apps use your Facebook login by going into Settings > Apps and Websites.

    Apps and Websites tab in Facebook Settings
  2. Be sure to click the Show All below the apps shown to make sure you see everything that's connected.

    Show All button on Facebook's Apps and Websites page
  3. Put a check mark next to each service and web app you want to stop using Facebook to log in to.

    Since your'e probably at this step because you're deleting Facebook altogether, be sure to check them all.

    Print this page of apps and websites or jot down the important ones. This will make it easy to know which services you'll need to change the login method from your Facebook account to something else.

  4. Click the Remove button when you're done.

    Remove button
  5. That's it! Again, make sure you head over to those previously connected accounts and switch to email sign-in or connect to another type of account.

Deleting Your Facebook Account

Now that you've taken care of backing up your data (wait for the file!) and dealt with all the connected services, it's time to permanently delete your account!

  1. Click the triangle at the top right side of the Facebook screen and select Settings.

  2. Choose Your Facebook Information in the left panel.

    Select the View button next to Delete Your Account and Information.

    View link next to Delete Your Account and Information on Facebook
  3. After noting all the steps you should take before deleting your account (you've hopefully done them all already), select Delete My Account.

    Delete Account button
  4. Enter your password and choose Continue > Delete Account.

Yikes! Change Your Mind?

If you change your mind within 30 days of deleting your Facebook account, you can cancel the deletion. After 30 days, all your information will be permanently deleted. During either period, your information is not viewable online.

To cancel your account deletion, simply log in to your Facebook account and select Cancel Deletion.

Not surprisingly, Facebook makes it a lot easier to get back than to leave.