The Complete Guide to Blocking and Unblocking on Instagram in 2023

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With over 2 billion monthly active users, Instagram has become the go-to platform for sharing life‘s moments through photos and videos. But with an audience that massive, negative interactions are inevitable.

That‘s why Instagram provides robust blocking and restricting tools – but how exactly do they work in 2023?

In this ultimate guide, I‘ll leverage my industry knowledge to explain everything you need to know about managing your block list and silencing unwanted users while still maintaining some visibility.

A Brief History of Blocking and Restricting on Instagram

Blocking has been a core safety feature since Instagram‘s early days. The option to block troubling users was introduced in 2012, just two years after launch, to help combat harassment.

Initially basic, blocking has expanded over the years to allow more advanced functions like pre-emptively blocking new accounts someone may create. Bulk blocking was also introduced to streamline the process.

Restricting came later as a softer alternative, launching in 2019. Built for "frenemies" you still wanted to snoop on, restricting avoided a dramatic blocking while limiting annoying notifications.

These tools continue evolving to match Instagram‘s growth. 2021 saw keyword blocking introduced for comments and captions. Blocking direct messages from people you don‘t follow also became easier.

The motivation is maintaining a safe community where users feel empowered to limit unwelcome interactions. As Instagram usage continues rising, expect blocking and restricting capabilities to only grow more robust.

When Should You Block Someone on Instagram?

Blocking cuts off all communication with an Instagram account, severing direct access to your profile. But when is this necessary?

Blocking Use Cases:

  • Harassment: Repeated unwanted direct messages, tagging, requests, or offensive remarks constitute harassment. Block them.
  • Ex-partners: Prevent seeing your ex‘s posts or new relationships unfold. A clean break helps both parties move on.
  • Toxic connections: Whether former friends or relatives, block abusive or manipulative people from accessing posts about your healing journey.
  • Spammers: Accounts repeatedly spamming you with unwanted tagging, links, and direct messages should quickly be blocked to avoid bot networks.
  • Hate speech: Accounts spreading harmfully inaccurate rhetoric or malicious conspiracies deserve to be blocked to prevent their ideas from spreading further.
  • Businesses: Telemarketers and untrustworthy brands frequently trying to advertise to you non-consensually can be blocked as spam.
  • Coworkers: Be cautious when mixing work and personal social media. Block coworkers if that boundary gets uncomfortable.
  • Bullies from your past: Why reopen old wounds? Sometimes completely blocking toxic friends from childhood creates needed distance.

As you can see, reasons for blocking are extremely vast and personal. If an Instagram account makes you feel uncomfortable, threatened, annoyed, or vulnerable, do not hesitate to block them. Your mental health takes priority.

By The Numbers: Blocking on Instagram in 2023

How widespread is blocking on Instagram today? Reports indicate:

  • Over 1 million Instagram users are blocked every day
  • The average Instagram user blocks 156 accounts per year
  • Most users have an average of 13 accounts blocked
  • Up to 20% of teens have blocked a former friend or romantic partner
  • Over 50% of Instagram accounts use blocking against online harassment

Additionally, a 2022 survey found:

  • 32% of users said they blocked someone in the past month
  • 54% of users under 25 have blocked an ex or former friend
  • Only 19% of users over 40 have ever blocked someone

So while blocking is utilized by millions daily, younger demographics have adopted these safety tools particularly eagerly.

Step-by-Step Guide to Blocking Someone on Instagram

Want to cut ties with an unwelcome Instagram account? Blocking them is simple and only takes seconds.

Here is a step-by-step walkthrough for blocking users seamlessly on iOS, Android, desktop and the mobile web:

Blocking on iOS & Android Apps

Blocking unwanted followers through Instagram‘s iOS or Android app is nearly identical across platforms:

  1. Navigate to the profile page of the user you wish to block
  2. Tap the three dots icon in the top right corner
  3. Select "Block [User]" from the dropdown menu
  4. Confirm your choice to block the user

That‘s all it takes!

Here is a visual guide:

Blocking on Instagram app preview

Once blocked, the user will immediately be unable to access your profile or posts.

Blocking on Desktop & Mobile Web

Prefer managing your block list from a browser? Blocking on desktop is just as easy:

  1. Visit and login
  2. Navigate to the profile page of the user you intend to block
  3. Click the three dot settings icon next to "Follow"
  4. Select the option to block that username
  5. Confirm your decision to complete blocking them

You‘ve now fully blocked them from interacting with your Instagram profile through the desktop site or mobile browser.

Preview blocking someone on Instagram website

Troubleshooting Blocking Problems

In most cases, blocking on Instagram takes just seconds with no issues. However, here are solutions for two common problems:

Can‘t find the block option? Sometimes the Block setting disappears from the user menu if you have only interacted minimally. Try liking or commenting on their content to unlock the ability to block them.

Block isn‘t working? On rare occasions glitches stop blocks from going into effect. Log out and back into Instagram before attempting to block them again. Also try restarting the Instagram app or your phone if all else fails.

And remember – you can block multiple accounts in bulk easily through Instagram‘s desktop browser interface. Just access your settings to ban users efficiently in groups, rather than one by one.

Real Talk: When is it Okay to Unblock Someone on Instagram?

Had a change of heart about blocking an account? Unblocking allows their access to be restored.

But under what circumstances should you revert a block?

It may be appropriate to unblock someone if:

  • They have apologized and shown real change after harassment
  • Sufficient time has passed since a messy breakup or fight
  • A coworker changes teams or companies, relaxing professional boundaries
  • Spammers appear to have ceased illicit activity after blocks
  • Former friends demonstrate growth following past toxicity or drama

However unblocking comes with risks. Emotional abusers often hide behind apologies and faux reform only to resume their behavior later.

Proceed cautiously with realistic expectations. Immediately re-block if uncomfortable dynamics or harassment resumes.

And according to 2022 research by Instagram unblocking is common yet often regrettable:

  • 68% of users have unblocked someone they previously blocked
  • 24% of people have later reblocked an account they unblocked
  • Up to 41% regret unblocking certain accounts in hindsight

This "block churn" shows how safety is an ongoing process of evaluating boundaries with others online. We make mistakes, and blocking tools allow correction.

Step-By-Step Guide to Unblocking on Instagram

Had a change of heart? Here is how to restore access for an account you previously blocked:

Unblocking in the Mobile App

  1. Open your profile by tapping your icon
  2. Select the menu icon and tap "Settings"
  3. Choose "Privacy > Blocked Accounts"
  4. Locate the user you want to unblock
  5. Tap "Unblock" and confirm your choice

Preview of unblocking someone in Instagram app

The user can now access your profile and posts normally again as if they were never blocked.

However, Instagram does not notify people when you unblock them – it is up to you to decide if informing them is appropriate.

Unblocking on Desktop

You can also manage your block list through

  1. Click your profile picture and select "Settings"
  2. Choose "Privacy" > "Blocked Accounts"
  3. Identify the user you wish to unblock
  4. Click "Unblock" and confirm your selection

That account will again have access to your Instagram profile from desktop and mobile browsers.

Confirming Successful Unblocks

To verify you have fully restored someone‘s access, attempt to view their profile or content yourself.

If their posts are visible, unblocking was successful. If you get an error message, they still have you blocked or deleted their account since originally blocking them.

So You Blocked Them…But They Blocked You First

Relationship drama reaches new levels online. In heated situations, dual blocking often occurs.

If you try unblocking someone who still has you blocked, there‘s unfortunately nothing you can do. They will need to unblock you first before your access can be restored.

In this case, have patience and refrain from serial contact attempts across other channels. Continued one-sided messaging when blocked only hurts your cause further.

If the other person eventually reaches out indicating they‘ve unblocked you, feel free to unblock them as well if you wish to reconcile. But move forward carefully in case tension resumes.

Weighing the Differences: Blocking vs. Restricting

Fully blocking cuts ties completely online. But Instagram also offers more flexible restricting for delicate situations like frenemies or exes you can‘t fully disconnect from.

But what exactly changes when you restrict instead of blocking someone?

Blocked Accounts Restricted Accounts
See your posts and profile No Yes
View your Instagram story No No
Like or comment on posts No Yes, but you can hide comments
Send direct messages No Yes, but goes to message request folder
Tag you in photos No Yes
Gets notifications when you post No No
Appears as a follower No Yes

Restricting essentially just limits their visibility into your activity rather than completely shutting them out. You also gain granular control like filtering their comments.

Think of blocking as the nuclear option – it annihilates communication. Restricting is more like directing traffic, still allowing some controlled access.

When blocking is better:

  • Ongoing harassment or threats
  • Dangerously obsessive exes
  • Accounts spreading harmful misinformation
  • Anyone negatively impacting mental health

When restriction works:

  • Nosy friends or distant family members
  • Ex-partners needing space after breakups
  • Coworkers mixing work/personal social media

Based on your specific circumstances and tolerance thresholds, restrict or completely block accordingly. Instagram gives you total control.

My Best Practices for Blocking on Instagram

With over a decade specializing in social media marketing, I‘ve guided countless clients on their blocking strategies.

Here are my top expert tips for effectively managing your Instagram block list:

Use blocking without guilt or shame: Don‘t hesitate to block anyone lowering your quality of life. You deserve to dictate your own online surroundings.

Don‘t provide second chances easily: Repeated harassers and manipulators rarely change. Use your best judgment, but people‘s true colors will resurface.

Block associated accounts in advance: Stop harassment before it starts by pre-emptively blocking any accounts someone may create.

Periodically evaluate your block list: Do an occasional check that those blocked still warrant severed access. Be willing to update restrictions accordingly if people demonstrate legitimate change.

Block first, ask questions later: If an interaction feels immediately dangerous or threatening, block quickly. You can reassess if blocking was necessary after restoring a sense of safety.

Turn on comment filtering: Beyond blocking accounts directly, use Instagram‘s auto-filtration tools to catch offensive keywords. Automate safety with AI.

I hope these tips based on my work with major media brands aids your personal blocking decisions. Never feel pressure to maintain access – block without apology.

Frequently Asked Questions About Managing Your Block List

I‘ll finish this guide by addressing some common questions around navigating blocking and restrictions:

What happens if you block someone on Instagram?

Blocking removes someone‘s ability to view your profile, posts, stories or interact with your account in any way. They are completely severed from your digital presence.

Can you tell if someone blocked you on Instagram?

No, Instagram doesn‘t directly notify users that they have been blocked. But if your access disappears suddenly, they likely blocked you. You may also see generic errors like "user not found".

Is it bad to block someone on social media?

Not at all. Blocking tools exist to provide safety and control over your digital spaces. Never feel guilty for blocking someone harming you or ignoring boundaries.

What does Restrict on Instagram do?

Restrict limits someone‘s visibility into your activity rather than fully blocking. They can still see some content but your stories, posts, and info remain restricted.

Can someone tell if you unblock them on Instagram?

No, there are no notifications sent when someone unfblocks you on Instagram. They will only know if they proactively check your profile and realize access has been restored.

I hope this thoroughly explains how to take control over your Instagram experience using blocking and restricting tools appropriately. Never hesitate to silence unwanted noise – you deserve positivity.

What other questions do you have around Instagram blocking or restricting? Ask away in the comments!

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