How to Shut Down Your Facebook Account

Know your options when closing your Facebook account

Closing Facebook
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

Maybe Facebook takes up too much of your spare time, or maybe you stopped looking at it months ago. Either way, you may want to close your account.

For people who want to make a clean, permanent exit and delete Facebook from their lives, here's a simple summary of how to do it and what to consider before pulling the plug.

Delete Facebook vs. Deactivate Facebook

A permanent account shutdown as called deleting your Facebook account. When people delete their accounts, they cannot retrieve any of their account information, photos or postings later. If they change their minds and decide to rejoin Facebook, they have to start an entirely new account.

For people who just want a temporary suspension, or who want to retain the ability to reactivate their ID and information in case they change their mind later, they deactivate the account, and that process is different.

Either way, the material you put online for the most part becomes inaccessible to your friends and to everyone else on the network, either permanently (if you delete) or temporarily (if you deactivate).

Before You Quit Facebook for Good

You decide you've had enough of the world's largest social network and are ready to permanently delete your Facebook account.

You should think about saving your stuff. How many photos and videos have you posted, and do you have backup copies of them either offline or online? If your only copies are on Facebook, will it bother you if they all go away? If so, take the time to save yours posts and images before closing your account. Here's how to download a copy of your Facebook data:

  1. Click the triangle in the top right corner of the Facebook screen.
  2. Select Settings from the menu.
  3. Click or press Your Facebook Information.
  4. Go to Download Your Information and click View.
  5. Select All of my data or pic one of the other options available to you.
  6. Click or press Create File to confirm the download request.
  7. When the file is ready, Facebook sends you a notice. Follow the instructions to download the copy of your Facebook data.

Within a day or so, your information will no longer be visible to anyone on Facebook.

Web Apps 

Do you have apps on the web or on your mobile phone that currently use your Facebook ID as your login? Examples might be Instagram, Pinterest, or Spotify. If you have many apps that use Facebook, it may be a hassle close your account on a permanent basis because you need to revise your login for each app. You can check which apps use your Facebook login by going into Settings > Apps and Websites. Most apps let you go in and change your login, but not all. Check this before permanently closing Facebook.

Deleting Your Facebook Account

To permanently delete your account:

  1. Click the triangle at the top right side of the Facebook screen.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Choose Your Facebook Information in the left panel.
  4. Select Delete Your Account and Information > Delete My Account.
  5. Enter your password and choose Continue > Delete Account.

Yikes! You 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:

  1. Log in to your Facebook account within 30 days of the deletion.
  2. Select Cancel Deletion.