How to View Private Instagram Accounts

Can you? Should you? Is it legal?

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

Instagram is a great service for sharing photos with family, friends, colleagues, and even complete strangers. In many cases, however, people choose to control who can and can't see their content so you can't always view another person's account.

This is typically done by making their Instagram account private, which ensures that only users that they approve will have access to what they share.

If you're a follower of a private account and have been approved by the account owner, then you should have no issues whatsoever viewing its content as if their account was public.

Instagram on smart phone.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Exercise Caution

If you're not an approved follower of a private account, things are much trickier when it comes to viewing their profile and photos. There are many apps on the market that promise to "hack" Instagram and allow you to view private accounts. However, none of them actually work as expected, and those that might do not last for very long. Instagram's security team is continuously patching such vulnerabilities. Many of these fraudulent services also have websites riddled with malware and unwanted ads, giving you yet another reason not to utilize them. 

Tricking Someone With a Bogus Account

If you're not against practicing the art of deception, however, then another potential backdoor into someone's private profile is to create a fake account and send them a follower request. 

This is a rather underhanded way to view a private Instagram account, and Lifewire does not condone or recommend the practice. However, parents might need to use this practice to track an underage child, so we have included it.

If you've set up your phony account to look like someone that they'd probably approve as a follower, then you may have a decent shot at tricking them into providing access. If you're willing to go this far, then you should take steps to make sure that your account looks like the real deal. This can be accomplished by doing the following:

  • Use quality photos.
  • Obtain some followers of your own before submitting the request.
  • Interact with other Instagram accounts.

Of course, if you know of a colleague, friend, or family member who is already an approved follower of the private profile in question, you could always ask them if you could take a peek via their account.

Using Apps to View Private Instagram Accounts

Several apps and services claim to provide access to private IG profiles, such as Private Insta Viewer. Not only do the majority of these options not deliver on what they promise, but many have embedded adware, viruses, and other unwanted programs.

If you've reached the point where you're seriously considering taking this route, it may be time to throw in the towel and come to the realization that you're not going to see those private posts.