How to See a Private Instagram Account (3 Easy Ways)

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Want to View a Private Instagram Account? Here‘s How to Do It Respectfully

Have you ever come across an intriguing Instagram account, only to find it‘s set to "private" so you can‘t actually see the posts?

It‘s understandably frustrating when you want to peek at someone‘s content, but they‘ve limited visibility to only approved followers.

As someone fascinated by cool Instagrammers, I‘ve definitely wished I could get access to private accounts. But random browsing shouldn‘t override someone‘s right to privacy.

If you want to ethically and consensually view private profiles, there are proper techniques you can try. But unsafe hacks and shady apps are completely off limits.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll be sharing insider tips I‘ve picked up for getting permission to view protected accounts – the safe way.

Here‘s what we‘ll cover:

  • What are private Instagram accounts and why do people use them?
  • The risks of using unauthorized viewing methods
  • How to send an effective follow request
  • Maximizing your chances of getting approved
  • Waiting for accounts to go public again
  • What happens when requests get accepted or denied
  • Extra methods to try if you get rejected

Let‘s start by understanding what private accounts are all about and why you shouldn‘t override people‘s privacy.

What is a Private Instagram Account?

Instagram lets users toggle their account between private and public settings.

By default, profiles are public. This means anyone can view posts, stories and reels – even people who aren‘t followers.

But switching to a private account restricts access so only approved followers can see content.

If you aren‘t already following a private account, you‘ll simply see blank placeholders rather than actual posts. Their photos and info are completely inaccessible.

Based on a 2021 survey of over 1000 Instagram users, 32% had private accounts and 68% were public.

So around 1 in 3 profiles limit access to followers only.

Here are the main reasons people go private:

  • Increased privacy and security – especially for personal accounts
  • Avoid unwanted attention from strangers
  • Filter followers and trolls by approving requests
  • Build exclusivity around content
  • Professional branding by limiting access
  • Temporary privacy to clean up old posts

While frustrating as a casual viewer, private settings give users much needed control over their digital space.

Going private is well within someone‘s rights – but that doesn‘t mean you‘re completely banned from accessing the account. There are still options if you want to take the proper steps to follow them.

Dangers of Unauthorized Viewing Methods

Now that we know why accounts go private, why is it so important to avoid shady "hacks" to access them?

You may come across various apps, sites and software promising they can let you view private profiles. Here are some examples and why they should be avoided:

  • Survey platforms – Complete surveys in exchange for access. Don‘t fall for this – it‘s a data collection scam!

  • Verification sites – Enter your personal info for "verification" before viewing accounts. Again, your data is their real product.

  • Viewer apps – Software claiming it can bypass Instagram‘s privacy settings. These contain nasty malware!

  • Password phishing – Fake login pages that steal your credentials if you enter them. Highly illegal!

Not only are these techniques unethical, they often serve as fronts to harvest your personal data or infect your device.

It‘s also against Instagram‘s rules to access private accounts without permission. Getting caught via shady apps could get your account deleted.

Stick to proper methods only – it‘s just not worth the risk! Respect other users‘ privacy choices.

How to Send a Follow Request to a Private Account

The main legitimate method is sending a follow request asking for access. Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. From the user‘s private profile, tap the "Follow" button.

  2. This will change to "Requested" indicating your request is pending approval.

  3. The user will be notified and can choose to accept or ignore the request.

  4. If accepted, your request button will turn to "Following" and you‘ll gain access!

  5. If your request expires or gets denied, the button will revert to "Follow".

That‘s the basic process – tap follow, get their approval, and then you can view their content.

But getting accepted isn‘t always guaranteed…here are some tips to maximize your chances!

Expert Tips to Get Your Request Approved

Since private account owners are selective about who they let in, you need to make your request appealing. Here are some ways to boost your odds of getting accepted:

  • Personalize your request message – Take the time to write why you specifically want to follow them. Generic messages are more likely to be ignored.

  • Follow some of their followers – People often accept requests from those with mutual connections and shared interests.

  • Engage with their public content first – Like, comment on, and save posts before requesting so they notice you.

  • Have an attractive account yourself – A complete quality profile with great content makes you look more appealing to accept.

  • Be patient – Understand approvals can take time. Following up excessively may actually hurt your chances.

Show you‘re a real fan interested in their specific content, not just blindly mass-following private accounts. Taking the time shows respect for their profile.

Waiting for Private Accounts to go Public Again

Rather than requesting access, you can also monitor accounts to see if they ever revert back to public:

  • Check the profile periodically to see if posts are now visible

  • When switched to public, you‘ll be able to see contents without following

  • You can then interact and follow them like any public account

According to Instagram surveys, around 29% of users have switched between private and public settings at some point.

People often go private temporarily for things like:

  • Archiving old content they later delete
  • Taking a social media break
  • Avoiding unwanted attention during conflicts
  • Restricting exes or trolls during messy breakups

Have patience and check back on accounts you want to view every month or so. There‘s a decent chance they‘ll unlock again later on.

What Happens When Your Request is Accepted?

If your follow request gets approved, here‘s what it means:

  • You‘ll be added as a follower and receive their post notifications

  • The profile button will now say "Following"

  • You‘ll be able to view all current and future content

  • You can like, comment on, and share everything they post

  • If they go private again, you‘ll retain access as an approved follower

So essentially, you get all the benefits of following them without restrictions. Maintaining your follower status just means staying actively engaged with their content rather than ignoring or unfollowing them.

What Happens if Your Request is Denied?

On the flip side, here‘s what happens if the user rejects your follow request:

  • The profile button will revert to "Follow"

  • Posts and stories remain hidden from your account

  • Any future requests may be auto-denied or restricted

  • You‘ll have to send another request and hope for a different outcome

A denied request signals they aren‘t interested in you accessing their account at this time. Don‘t take it personally, but do respect their decision.

Other Methods to Try if You‘re Rejected

If your request gets ignored or declined, all hope isn‘t lost. Here are some other good-faith efforts you can make:

  • Follow their friends/colleagues – Getting mutual connections increases your chance of reconsideration.

  • Interact more with their public content – Keep engaging to stay on their radar before requesting again.

  • Improve your own profile – Post great content related to their niche and fill out your bio.

  • Wait 1-2 months – Enough time for them to forget your previous request.

  • Politely ask why you were declined – If they provide feedback, you can improve your approach.

Just don‘t bombard the same account with multiple requests, or you‘ll be flagged as a spammer/harasser. Stay respectful.

Lastly, if repeated requests don‘t work, practice accepting that user simply doesn‘t want you viewing their profile. Don‘t take it as a personal attack – people have varied reasons for keeping accounts private.

The Takeaway: Respect Users‘ Privacy

At the end of the day, private Instagram accounts are personal spaces users want to control access to. While you may really want to view their content, you aren‘t inherently entitled to it.

Repeated harassment will only get you reported and banned. If your requests get continually denied, back off and move on. There are plenty of public profiles to enjoy if someone wants privacy.

Hopefully these tips give you the best practice for getting approved to follow private accounts the honorable way. Just stay persistent, polite, and most importantly, stay off sketchy hacks or rule-breaking apps.

Happy Instagramming!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.