How to Hide Instagram Photos Rather Than Delete Them

Using Instagram on iPhone

For years, when it came to Instagram you were forced to either delete a photo or keep it public for everyone to see. Sure, you could make your whole profile private and not delete anything, but then you miss out on the social aspect of Instagram where you can get likes and comments from folks outside of your immediate social circle. It's not an ideal dilemma.

Unless you’re exceptionally careful about what you put online, chances are good that you’ve posted at least one photo that you wish you hadn’t. Whether it’s a drunken selfie, a photo of you and your ex, or just a less-than-flattering group photo — you might not want to delete it just yet, but you’d also rather it not show up on your profile page anymore.

If you have a few photos on your account that you’d rather not be there for the world to see, now you can actually hide those photos from your profile so they’re still there, but you're the only one that can find them. It’s the perfect solution for temporarily removing shots while you’re looking for a new job, entertain the dating scene again or otherwise trying to curate your profile in order to put your best foot forward.

How to Hide Select Photos

Hiding an Instagram photo is pretty easy to do, as is making it public again, so there’s no huge commitment either way. Here’s how to make the magic happen:

  1. Launch the Instagram app and then bring up the photo in question.

  2. Above the photo, you’ll see three dots. Tap those dots to open a small popup menu (it will appear at the bottom of the screen).

  3. Tap “Archive” at the top of the list to archive the photo. That will mean that it’s visible to you, but no one else. From the same menu, you also have the ability to turn off commenting on a particular post, edits it, or delete it entirely from your account.

You can view all your archived posts anytime you want by clicking the clock-with-an-arrow-around-it button one the top right of your profile page. That archive page is only viewable by you and contains all the pictures you’ve decided to archive on your account. Likes and comments will remain on the post, but the people that liked and commented when you originally published it won't be able to see those likes or comments until you make the post public again.

Those hidden pictures are accessible to you whenever you want to see them (or pass your phone around the table for a select group of friends to see them as well). So they're not gone forever, they're just on a temporary (or perhaps permanent) vacation to a different, more private part of the app.

Make Your Archive Public Again

If at any point you and that ex get back together, or you decide you’d like to make any of the photos you’ve archived public again, doing so it pretty simple:

  1. Launch the Instagram app, tap on the clock icon, and go to your archived images.

  2. Tap on the photo you’d like to make public again.

  3. Tap on the three dots above the image to pull up a menu similar to the one you saw when you archived the image.

  4. Tap “Show on Profile” to have the image show up once again on your profile.

So, if you’re thinking of deleting a particular image, this feature can also come in handy to let you remove it and think about the decision for a while before deleting the photo and losing all the comments and hearts that image might have received over time. 

A delete is forever, but an archive will last just as long as you want it to.