Can I recover photos from a deleted Instagram account?

Losing images from a deleted Instagram account can feel devastating. Those photos and videos captured special life moments and memories. However, with over 900,000 searches in 2022 for how to delete Instagram (according to CNBC), it’s clear many users want an exit strategy. Though Instagram deletes content after account termination, there are still ways to recover deleted photos in some cases.

This guide will explain how Instagram account deletion works, methods for trying to rescue your images, and coming to terms with potential permanent data loss.

Why You May Want to Recover Deleted Instagram Photos

There are several reasons why you may want to recover deleted photos from Instagram:

Nostalgia – Instagram often contains many memories captured over the years. You may have deleted photos you now regret losing and want to recover for nostalgic reasons.

Preserving important memories – Photos on Instagram often capture meaningful life events and special moments. Accidentally deleting these can mean losing precious memories, so recovering them has high personal value.

Completing photo albums or collections – If you deleted a batch of photos by mistake that were part of an album or collection, you may want to recover them to complete the set.

Photos have artistic value – If you take photography seriously, your Instagram images may have artistic significance you don’t want to lose by deleting them.

Photos are still needed – You may have deleted photos still required for reports, records, or other purposes, making recovery necessary.

How Instagram Account Deletion Works

When you request to delete your Instagram account, it first enters a deactivated state for 30 days before being permanently deleted, according to Instagram’s Help Center (source). During this 30 day window, your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes and followers are hidden but can still be recovered if you log back into your account.

After 30 days, if you do not reactivate your Instagram account, it will be permanently deleted. At this stage, your account and all its data like posts, messages, followers, etc are removed from Instagram’s servers and cannot be recovered, as explained on Instagram’s FAQ (source). So essentially the account deletion process works in two phases – deactivate for 30 days, then permanent deletion.

Recovering Photos from a Deactivated Account

If your Instagram account was temporarily deactivated, you may still be able to recover your photos. When an Instagram account is deactivated, the content is not immediately deleted. According to Instagram’s Help Center, your photos, comments, likes, and followers are hidden until the account is reactivated or permanently deleted.

To recover photos from a deactivated account, simply log back into your account within 30 days of deactivation. Instagram states that “Your account will be restored with all of the content that was there before it was disabled.” So reactivating your account within 30 days should restore your photos.

However, after 30 days of deactivation, Instagram permanently deletes the account and all of its content. So it’s crucial to reactivate your deactivated account within 30 days if you want to recover your photos.

Overall, restoring a temporarily deactivated Instagram account is the easiest way to recover your photos. Just log back in within 30 days and your account along with your photos will be restored. Refer to Instagram’s Help Center for complete instructions on reactivating a disabled account.

Recovering Photos after Account is Deleted

Recovering photos after your Instagram account is permanently deleted can be challenging, but is sometimes possible depending on the circumstances.

When you delete your Instagram account, Instagram does not immediately delete all of your photos and data. According to their help documentation, “It may take up to 90 days from the beginning of the deletion process to delete all of the things you’ve posted, like your photos, comments or profile information” [1]. This means there is a window where your photos may still be recoverable through Instagram.

You can try reaching out to Instagram support and requesting that they restore your deleted account with your photos intact. However, there is no guarantee they can or will do this. The longer you wait after deleting your account, the less likely recovering your photos becomes.

If Instagram support is unable to help, your only option may be to use a third party Instagram data recovery tool designed to find and restore deleted Instagram photos. Just keep in mind these tools are not officially endorsed by Instagram, can be expensive, and are not always successful.

The bottom line is once your Instagram account is deleted, recovering your photos becomes very difficult. This is why it’s critical to back up your Instagram photos before deleting your account.

Using Third Party Tools

Some apps can help you recover deleted Instagram photos by saving copies of your Instagram data before deletion. Here are some top apps to consider:

MiniTool Mobile Recovery – This Android data recovery app can restore lost or deleted files from Android devices, including recovering deleted Instagram photos, videos, and posts.

Wondershare Recoverit – Available for both iOS and Android devices, this app lets you recover deleted photos, videos, audio and documents from your device or external storage.

Other apps like iMyFone D-Back and EaseUS MobiSaver also provide Instagram recovery features and can restore lost photos by scanning your device’s storage.

The key is to have one of these apps installed and creating backups of your Instagram before deletion. They allow you to “rewind” your device to a previous state and restore deleted Instagram content.

Contacting Instagram Directly

One option to recover deleted Instagram photos is to contact Instagram directly and submit a photo recovery request. According to Instagram’s Help Center, you can ask Instagram to restore your deleted photos or videos in the app within 30 days of deletion.

To submit a request:

  1. Go to the Instagram app and tap the profile icon in the bottom right.
  2. Tap the menu icon in the top right corner.
  3. Select “Report a Problem.”
  4. Choose “Something Went Wrong” and explain your issue in the text box.
  5. Request that Instagram Support restore your deleted photos and specify when they were deleted.

Instagram notes that they can only restore accounts and content that was mistakenly or accidentally deleted. They may not be able to recover content deleted over 30 days ago. It’s best to submit your request as soon as possible after deletion.

Keep in mind Instagram may not be able to restore all deleted content. But contacting them directly is worth a try, especially if you’ve lost important photos you want back.

Looking for Backups

If you had the Instagram app installed on an old phone, it may have stored photos and videos locally in the device’s storage or memory card. Connect the old phone to a computer and browse its files to see if there is still an Instagram folder containing your deleted content.

Also check other devices and cloud storage services you may have used to back up your phone’s data and media files. For example, if you had iCloud backups enabled for an iPhone with Instagram installed, you could potentially restore that backup to access the lost Instagram photos.

Additionally, if you had linked other accounts like Facebook or Flickr to your Instagram, any photos shared to those services would still be available there. You can log into those accounts and re-download any images originally posted from your now deleted Instagram account.

Accepting Data Loss

Once your Instagram photos are permanently deleted, sometimes the healthiest option is to focus forward and accept the data loss. While incredibly painful, especially when losing sentimental photos of loved ones or milestones that can’t be recaptured, it’s important to be gentle with yourself and not dwell on what’s already done.

Acknowledge your feelings – it’s normal to feel grief, sadness, regret, anger or depression over losing irreplaceable photos of past memories. Don’t ignore these emotions. As one Redditor dealing with lost photos advises, “Let yourself grieve. It’s a real loss even if it’s ‘just data'” [1].

Talk to someone – share what you’re going through with friends or family who can listen without judgment. Consider joining a support group, either in-person or online through platforms like Reddit, where you can connect with others who have experienced data loss. It helps to know you aren’t alone.

Focus on the memories – even without photos, cherish what matters most: the people, places, events and feelings that shaped your life. Reflect on the memories themselves rather than the loss of documentation. As one article advises, “Celebrate what you remember rather than focusing on what you’ve lost” [2].

Moving forward, be more diligent about regular backups so you never have to feel such profound loss again. But when it comes to photos already gone, practice self-forgiveness and make space to heal.


In summary, recovering deleted photos from Instagram can be a challenging process. Once an account is permanently deleted by Instagram, the photos are typically gone for good unless you had backups somewhere else.

Your best bet is to try and recover photos from a deactivated account before 30 days is up by logging back in or using a third party undelete tool. However, this is not a sure solution. Beyond that timeframe, your only options are trying to directly contact Instagram or finding any backups of the photos you may have stored elsewhere, such as on your phone or computer.

Going forward, it’s always wise to frequently back up your Instagram photos to avoid permanent data loss. But if your account and photos have already been deleted, hopefully some of these methods can help recover your lost Instagram memories.

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