The One Sneaky Trick To Seeing Instagram Posts Without An Account

The workaround that’ll let you see *some* content.

Originally Published: 
A woman in a white sweater tries to use INstagram without an account.
Natalie Zotova / 500px/500px Prime/Getty Images

You finally took the plunge to delete Instagram off your phone, thanks to some not-so-subtle screen time notifications. But you miss seeing your friends’ feed-worthy escapades on hiking trails and figuring out how to walk their cat. If you’re looking to keep your data off social as much as humanly possible, figuring out how to use Instagram without an account can help you avoid both FOMO and screen time.

How Do You Use Instagram Without An Account?

While you used to be able to view as many public Instagram photos and accounts as you pleased without having a login of your own, you now have to be logged in to see... well, pretty much anything. This restriction can help protect current users from unwanted attention or stalking, but it can also make it tough to scroll for more of those hilarious panda videos your friends are sending you.

There is one workaround, though: Use your trusty search bar. Type the name of the celeb whose latest photos you want to see plus Instagram to find their page. Or type the hashtag you’re looking to browse — so, “#avengers + Instagram” when you’re looking for the latest updates on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Clicking into the results will let you browse the previews of any photos or video that use that hashtag. You won’t be able to click into a post to see captions, likes, or comments, much less make your own, but you can preview public posts.

In the interest of protecting the specifics of each photo, Instagram will prompt you to log in each time you try to see something more than a preview of the post. So if you want to scroll through photos and vids in their full glory, you’ll need to log in — or ask your friend to use their phone. Just don’t accidentally double-tap any photos of their ex.

How Does Using Instagram Without An Account Impact Your Privacy?

Whatever you’re scrolling through when you’re logged in, Instagram “knows” about it — your personal information, combined with what you’re looking at on Instagram, Facebook, and your phone, contribute to what ads you’re shown on the platform. This might change soon — Apple has recently updated its privacy policies to require Instagram and other apps to give you the ability to opt out of data tracking. For now, it may be a comfort to know that the “hack” above won’t show any photos from private accounts — which is good for those ridiculous photos of you and your puppy that you only want your besties to see.

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