How do you search for deleted Instagram accounts?

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 2 billion monthly active users. With so many accounts, it’s inevitable that some will become inactive or get deleted over time. There are a few main reasons why an Instagram account may get deleted:

Deleting inactive accounts. While Instagram has not publicly confirmed this practice, there are reports that accounts with extended periods of inactivity may get deleted by Instagram, perhaps after 1-2 years of no use (Alphr).

Violating Instagram’s terms of service often leads to account deletion. Examples include sharing prohibited content, using automated bots, buying fake followers or engagement, and harassing other users.

Users choosing to delete their own accounts due to losing interest, seeking more privacy, mental health breaks from social media, etc.

Getting hacked and having the account deleted by hackers maliciously.

When an Instagram account is gone, people may want to find it again for several reasons – reconnecting with old friends or followers, researching someone, finding old photos or memories, business/brand continuity, etc. This article will explore different methods people can use to try to find deleted Instagram accounts.

Why Instagram Accounts Get Deleted

The most common reason for Instagram deleting accounts is for violating their terms of service. Instagram has guidelines in place to maintain a safe community and positive user experience. If accounts break the rules, Instagram may disable or delete them.

Some of the main terms of service violations that can get accounts deleted include:

  • Spamming others with unwanted comments or DMs
  • Posting nudity or sexually suggestive content
  • Bullying, harassing, or threatening others
  • Impersonating others or providing inaccurate information
  • Buying or selling illegal or regulated goods

Instagram employs technologies like artificial intelligence to detect rule-breaking content and accounts. So if you violate the terms repeatedly, Instagram’s systems will likely flag and remove your account.

Finding a Deleted Instagram Account You Know

If you personally knew the person behind the deleted Instagram account, you may be able to find it again by looking through your contacts and direct messages with that person. Here are some tips:

  • Check your contacts list on your phone or email to see if you have the person’s phone number or email address. You can try contacting them directly to ask if they have a new Instagram account.
  • Look through your Instagram direct messages. If you previously messaged with the deleted account, you should still see their username in your message history, even if their profile is gone. This could jog your memory of their exact username if you want to search for it again later.
  • Scroll through your Instagram feed and stories history. If you interacted a lot with this account by liking, commenting on, or being tagged in their posts, you may be able to spot their old username in your activity history.
  • Check any old screenshots or photos you may have saved that show their profile or username handle.

If you can remember anything unique about their username, like initials or numbers, you can try searching variations of that to see if the account was reactivated with a similar handle. With some detective work going through your digital traces, you may be able to rediscover a deleted Instagram account of someone you personally knew.

Searching by Username

One of the simplest ways to check if an Instagram account was deleted is by searching for the username directly in the Instagram app or on the Instagram website. When you type a username into the search bar, Instagram will show the account’s profile if it still exists. However, if the account has been deleted, the search results will not display anything.

For example, if you try searching for @janedoe but the account no longer exists, the search bar will say “No users found” instead of showing Jane’s profile. This is a clear indicator that the @janedoe account has been deleted off of Instagram. According to users on Reddit, when an Instagram account is deleted, the username essentially dies with it and becomes available for anyone else to claim after a certain period of time [1].

Therefore, if you have the exact username of a deleted Instagram account, your best bet is to simply search for it on Instagram. If the account no longer shows up at all, you can be certain that it has been deleted. This straightforward search method can save you time and confirm that the account you’re looking for is gone before you attempt to find it through other means.

Using Third Party Sites and Apps

There are third party websites and apps that specialize in searching Instagram data to help find deleted accounts. Some top options include:

BeenVerified: With the BeenVerified search page, you can enter the Instagram username and it will locate any matching accounts, even deleted ones.

Wayback Machine: This internet archive allows you to search for snapshots of past Instagram account profiles and posts.

These third party tools search historical Instagram data and archives to help uncover deleted accounts. However, there is no guarantee they will have the deleted profile cached.

Contacting Instagram

If you’re trying to find information about a deleted Instagram account that you didn’t own, one option is to directly contact Instagram. You can submit an information request to Instagram regarding the deleted account through their contact form at

In the request, provide as much information as you can about the deleted account, such as the former username, any details about the account user, and the reason you need information about the deleted account. Explain why you need to contact the former account user.

Keep in mind Instagram may not be able to provide any information about a deleted account due to privacy reasons. But it’s worth submitting the request in case they can share any details that could help you track down the former account owner through other methods.

Hiring a Private Investigator

As a last resort, you can hire a private investigator who specializes in finding deleted social media accounts. Professional investigators have access to proprietary databases and methods that go beyond what an average person can access.

According to this source, a private investigator may charge $1500 or more to find a deleted Instagram account if you can provide some basic information about the person. Rates likely vary based on the investigator’s experience and demand.

Investigators use sophisticated techniques like social engineering, contacting tech support, and examining cached data to track down accounts. As this source notes, investigators can pull data from many social sites beyond just Instagram.

While hiring an investigator can be expensive, they have the best chance of locating a deleted Instagram account if it proves impossible through other methods. Just be aware that there are no guarantees of success.

Accepting the Account is Gone

While losing access to an Instagram account can feel devastating in the moment, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Social media accounts come and go, but your real-life connections and relationships are far more meaningful. With time, it becomes easier to move on.

Here are some tips for coping with a deleted Instagram account and moving forward:

  • Remember that your photos and memories existed outside of Instagram. Just because the account is gone doesn’t mean those experiences and relationships didn’t happen.
  • Make an effort to stay connected with your close friends and family through other channels, like meeting up in person, texting, or using different social platforms.
  • Consider taking a break from social media altogether to reset your habits and focus on real-world connections.
  • Reflect on what aspects of Instagram you enjoyed most and find new hobbies or activities that provide similar fulfillment.
  • Create a new Instagram account if you miss having it as a creative outlet, but don’t get hung up on amassing followers or likes again.
  • Focus your energy on personal goals and projects you’re passionate about pursuing.

With time and perspective, most people find deleting an Instagram account is just a minor blip. Nurturing real-world relationships, finding new fulfilling activities, and directing your energy towards personal growth will help you move forward.

Preventing Deletion

One of the best ways to protect yourself from losing your Instagram account is to regularly back up your account data. Instagram allows you to download a copy of your photos, comments, profile information, and more. It’s recommended to download your Instagram data every few months or so and save it externally on your computer or other devices. That way, if your account is unexpectedly deleted, you still have a copy of all your important account information and content.

Some tips for backing up your Instagram data:

  • Go to your Instagram settings and request a download of your data. It may take up to 48 hours to prepare your download.
  • When ready, Instagram will email you a link to access your data. The download link expires after a few days, so be sure to access and save the data during that period.
  • Save the Instagram data files externally on a computer, hard drive, or cloud storage. Don’t store it only on your phone.
  • Set a reminder to back up your data every 3-6 months. More frequent backups can help capture more content.

Regularly backing up your Instagram data is the best preventative measure against losing your account and content permanently. If your account does get deleted, you’ll at least have the data to look back on or potentially try to reinstate your account.


If you’ve lost access to an Instagram account, there are several ways you can try to track it down. Searching by the username periodically can reveal if the account has been reactivated. Third party websites may be able to locate deleted accounts as well. If you know the account owner, you can try contacting them directly to see if they can reinstate the page. As a last resort, you could hire a private investigator to use their resources to find the account.

While it’s frustrating to lose access to an Instagram account, either through deletion or hacking, the best option is often to simply start fresh with a new profile. Be sure to secure any new account with two-factor authentication and a strong password to prevent it from being compromised. Avoid spamming or violating Instagram’s terms of service so you don’t risk getting banned again. With caution and care, you can create an Instagram profile that will remain active as long as you desire.