How to Search Instagram for Tags and Users

Find users or posts for a specific tag on Instagram

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram

If you have no idea how to find specific users to follow or interesting posts to engage with, you could miss out on a lot of great content on Instagram. You can use Instagram's search function on both the official Instagram app and in a web browser.

How to Search Instagram

Open up the Instagram app on your mobile device (or go to and sign in to get started with using Instagram search.

  1. Instagram search is located on the Explore tab within the Instagram app, which can be accessed by tapping the magnifying glass icon in the bottom menu. It should be the second icon from the left, between the home feed and the camera tab.

    You should see a search box at the very top that says Search. Tap the search to bring up your mobile device's keyboard.

    On, you should see Instagram's search field at the top of your home feed as soon as you sign in.

    Search box on Instagram
  2. Once you've tapped inside the Instagram search field, you'll be able to type in your search. You should notice four different tabs that appear at the top: Top, Accounts, Tags, and Places.

    To search for a tag, you can search for it with or without the hashtag symbol (such as #photooftheday or photooftheday). Once you've typed in your tag search term, you can either choose the result you were looking for from the automatic list of top suggestions or tap the Tags tab to filter out all the other results that are not tags. doesn't have the same four search result tabs that the app does, making it a little harder to filter results. When you type in your tag search term, however, you'll see a list of suggested results appear in a dropdown list — some of which will be tags (marked by the hashtag (#) symbol and others that will be user accounts (marked by their profile photos). 

    Instagram search example
  3. After you tap on a tag from the Tags tab on the app or click on a suggested tag from the dropdown menu on, you'll be shown a grid of photos and videos that have been tagged and posted by Instagram users in real-time.

    A selection of top posts, which are posts with the most likes and comments, will be shown in the default tab on the app and at the very top on You can switch to the Recent tab on the app to see the most recent posts for that tag in the app or scroll down past the first nine posts on

    If you're searching tags on the app, you can actually follow a tag by tapping the blue Follow button so that all the posts with that tag show up in your home feed. You can always unfollow it anytime by tapping the hashtag and tapping the Following button.

    Searching on Instagram mobile app

In addition to searching for posts with specific tags, you can also use Instagram search to find specific user accounts to follow. Type in the username or first name of a user. Like the tag search, Instagram will give you a list of top suggestions as you type.

If you know a friend's username, you'll get the best results by searching for that exact username in Instagram search. Searching for users by their first and last names can be a little more difficult since not everyone puts their full name on their Instagram profiles and depending on how popular their names are, you could end up having to scroll through many user results with the same names.

Searching for the name Marie on Instagram

For users in Instagram search, the most relevant and/or popular users are displayed at the top, along with their username, full name (if provided), and profile photo. 

Instagram basically determines the most relevant user search results by matching username/full name accuracy and your social graph data.

You might get results based on your search history, mutual followers based on who you're following/who follows you, and your Facebook friends if you have your Facebook account connected to Instagram. The number of followers may also play an important role in how users show up in search, making it easier to find popular brands and celebrities through Instagram search.

If you're looking for a high profile individual's account, such as a celebrity or politician, look for the blue checkmark beside their name. This represents a verified account. Verified accounts always show up at the top of results to help you find legitimate accounts easier.

Bonus: Search for Posts from Places

Instagram now also lets you search for posts that have been tagged at specific locations. All you have to do is type the location into the search field and tap the Places tab in the app or if you're on, look for results in the dropdown list that have a location pin icon next to them.

For ideas on what kinds of things to search for on Instagram, look up some popular Instagram hashtags, or find out how to get your photo or video featured on the Explore tab (also known as the Popular page).

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