Social Media Instagram How to View Private Instagram Accounts Can you? Should you? Is it legal? by Scott Orgera Writer Scott Orgera is a former writer who covering tech since 2007. He has 25+ years experience as a programmer and QA leader, and holds several Microsoft certifications. our editorial process Facebook Twitter Scott Orgera Updated on April 18, 2020 The Ultimate Guide to Instagram The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Introduction Instagram Basics How to Use Instagram Instagram Tips for Beginners Check Messages on Instagram Add or Change an Instagram Background Search Instagram for Tags and Users Add Music to Instagram Video Use Instagram Video Chat Try Instagram Shopping Get Verified on Instagram Clear Search History on Instagram Posting on Instagram The Best Time to Post Save a Draft of a Post Repost an Instagram Story See Previously Liked Posts Post a GIF to Instagram Add Multiple Photos to Stories Save Instagram Videos How to Quickly Repost Photos Saving Photos Deleting Photos and Videos View Saved Posts With Instagram Collections Working With Followers Mute Someone on Instagram See Who Unfollowed You on Instagram Block Someone On Instagram Unblock Someone on Instagram See Who Viewed You Great Tools to Track Comments Remove Followers on Instagram Tips to Get a Shoutout on Instagram Attract More Instagram Followers Delete 'Suggestions for You' IG Tips & Tricks Instagram Tips and Tricks to Try Add Highlights on Instagram Learn About Instagram Direct Use Instagram's Close Friends Feature How to Delete or Deactivate Your Account Reactivate Your Account Reset Your Password Get Started With Location Tagging How to Repost Shoot Videos with Instagram Video Understanding IG Privacy & Security Hide Your Story on Instagram Does IG Send Screenshot Notifications? Make Your Instagram Account Private See Who Saved Your Instagram Posts Download Everything IG Knows About You Manage Multiple Instagram Accounts Hiding Photos Rather Than Deleting Them How to View Private Instagram Accounts What Is the Instagram Virus? Top Instagram Scams The Instagram Money Scam Engaging Users on Instagram Start an Instagram Live Video How to Sell on Instagram Use an Instagram Creator Account Make Money as an Instagram Influencer How to Get More Likes Things You Should Definitely Do Get on the Instagram Explore Page The Best Instagram Apps to Boost Engagement How to Make a Poll Instagram Extras: Captions & More Steal These: The Best Instagram Captions Discover the Best Instagram Filters Have Fun With Instagram Hashtags Use Emoji Hashtags on IG The Easy Way to Track IG Hashtags How to Use the IG Questions Sticker Using Instagram on Other Platforms Can You Get Instagram on Apple Watch? Use Instagram on a PC or Mac Get Instagram for iPad What is the Galaxy S10 Instagram Mode? View Instagram on the Web Online Connect Instagram to Facebook Tools for Posting From the Desktop Tweet Share Email 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. 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.