One of the most effective ways to protect the privacy and not get spied on Instagram is to configure the private IG profile. In this way, to see the content posted by that account, be it these photos, videos, or Stories, users must send it a follow request (similar to the Facebook friend request). Although this, still today, is one of the most effective procedures for staying anonymous on the social network, I want to reveal a secret to you: with a little effort, you can view private Instagram accounts without following them. In fact, some methods allow you to spy on a good part of the hidden content while not being followers of a specific invisible profile. In short, even if you have been blocked by a person, who has a private account, you may still be able to know what he is doing on the social network.
In the guide that follows, I’ll explain precisely how you can trace a private profile even if you are not a follower of it. The procedures listed are valid for iPhone, Android, and PC (except where otherwise specified). Before we begin, I remind you that spying on others is not allowed and that the guide is written and published for information. I will not be held responsible for any problems caused by applying it.
View posts with geolocation
One of the simplest solutions to view a private Instagram account without following it is based on geolocation. In case you know that the person to be “spied” is on vacation in a particular location, for example, you could use this detail in your favor. I state, however, that this trick is valid only for public accounts that have decided to hide some of their content from you to remain anonymous from you, or in any case for profiles that you do not follow, but always of the public type. In fact, as you already know, the posts of private profiles do not appear in the Explore section, much less in public searches.
However, to do so, first enter the Explore section by clicking on the magnifying glass icon. Here, click on Search and then tap on the Places tab (present at the top right). Now, all you have to do is enter the name of the city or tourist place where that person is in the search box.
But be careful: the more the number of users present in that particular place increases, the more difficult it will be to find posts related to the profile you are looking for. Also, remember that the first page you see will be the “Most Popular” posts. To view the “Recent” ones instead, you will have to tap on the appropriate item.
View posts with hashtags
Still talking about public profiles who have decided to appear invisible to you, you could view their posts using the hashtag search. As you already know, these are those interactive keywords that are preceded by the # symbol, which are usually used to publish content and to better index it within the social network. Hashtags, in fact, are nothing more than a categorization system, which, if well used, groups similar photos into easily accessible groups.
To view the posts of a private Instagram profile without following it via hashtags, first press the magnifying glass (present at the bottom of the main Instagram page). On the next screen, near the toolbar (at the top), click on “Search“.
Now, as in the previous paragraph, use the options at the top to start the hashtag search. If possible, try not to use one that is too generic, because otherwise, you may have to go through thousands of different photos before you find the one that interests you. Instead, try to use a specific hashtag, which the user in question uses frequently.
As you can easily see, the number of posts using that keyword will appear at the top of the screen. In addition, you can use the “Follow” button to view the shots that are categorized with that hashtag on your wall.
Control of other social profiles
It may seem strange to you, but to see private Instagram profiles without following them, sometimes you have to use other social networks. The people behind private accounts often share photos, videos, and Stories on other social platforms, such as Facebook or Twitter (which could also happen automatically). Maybe they have configured the right confidential profile to avoid showing their content to too many people.
Unlike the Instagram profile, usually, the Facebook profile is left public, or in any case, limited to close friendships. If so, it would be really easy to consult the photos posted, even without using Instagram.
I just gave you the example of Facebook because it is a social network used by the majority of the population. The same procedure, however, can also be applied on Twitter, but I assure you that it will be more difficult to achieve tangible results using Facebook.
All you have to do, therefore, is to open the Facebook app on your smartphone and enter the name of the person you are looking for in the search bar. With a little luck, in addition to Facebook posts, you will also be able to view some Instagram photos and videos. Remember that these contents are almost always accompanied by a series of hashtags and are therefore easily identifiable.
Don’t forget Facebook Stories. In fact, the stories published on Instagram often end up in the feed of the social network stories. And if the private profile in question had agreed to share its private content from IG to FB, if you were among its circles on Facebook, then you would be able to view it.
However, if you were not among this person’s Facebook friends, and the privacy of the post had been set in a restricted way (eg on “Friends”), to view the contents, you should search for the Facebook photos and videos that are in common with other users who have public privacy (or in any case the default one).
Using the Chrome browser
At the end of 2019, a “security flaw” was discovered (not really like that, but let’s go ahead) which allows, through a “bridge account”, to view private Instagram images even without following the profile. To carry out the procedure, however, someone you know must “act as your back”, that is, follow the user and have the Chrome browser on the PC available.
To proceed, first of all, the friend who follows that user must open one of the photos in the gallery of the spied profile. Then, by pressing the right mouse button over the image, you must select the Inspect item.
This will open the Chrome Developer Tools. In the sidebar, you need to click on Network and then on the HTML IMG tag. By doing so, image files will appear in the space below. Of these, usually, the last is the one related to the private profile photo. To view it directly, simply copy its URL address and paste it into the browser.
Obviously, in order to view the image of the private Instagram profile without being his follower, someone has to send you the link. Alternatively, this someone could share with you the screenshot of what was just shown on the screen. Once the connection is obtained, however, you will be allowed to view the multimedia file even without being logged in, therefore in a totally anonymous way.
Creation of fake accounts
Many users believe that to see private Instagram profiles without following them it is enough to create a fake account, so as not to leave a trace of their identity. In reality, it’s not that simple, as any type of account needs to be validated via a follow request.
Creating a fake account would therefore not spare you from having to send the aforementioned application for acceptance to the user. It is also true, however, that by disguising it ad hoc, and perhaps by widening its circles, it might be easier to get a positive response with the fake account.
Alternatively, you could create a secondary, but still real, Instagram profile. By starting over, and perhaps posting photos more in line with that person’s interests, you may be able to be accepted into their circles.
As you surely already know, the web is an inexhaustible mine of free tools to perform more or less any action. It should not surprise you, therefore, that online tools are also offered to view private Instagram profiles.
In this paragraph, as an example, I have decided to name two that work (or rather, that promise to work) in exactly the same way. These are privateinsta and whatchinsta. To use them, once you reach the pages of their respective websites, you will need to enter the username of the account you want to view in the appropriate box.
If you believe, you could try using them, but I don’t recommend you do that. Why? Because it is practically impossible for such tools to work, as the Instagram APIs related to private accounts are blocked. Therefore, third-party tools (such as web apps, software, and mobile applications) are not allowed to access this information.
Use of spyware or spy apps
For those who intend to see a private Instagram profile, there is also a “parallel world”, much riskier than all the procedures shown so far, but also more effective. Spyware and spy apps allow you to bypass many limits and spy on private Instagram accounts without following them in depth. It is also true, however, that they are illegal. So try to understand that this paragraph was written for illustrative purposes only, certainly not to encourage you to take actions that go against the law.
You should know that attackers use various methods to install spyware on devices used by those who have a private account. They range from phishing to social engineering, up to the execution of payloads.
After installing malware of this type on the victim’s device, a hacker could collect browsing data remotely without the user’s knowledge of the phone. Among these, there would also be sessions related to Instagram.
Alternatively, many rely on real spy apps for Instagram. In most cases, these are parental control tools, which are then used for different purposes. The basic requirement to install these spying apps, however, is to have the victim’s phone for at least a few minutes.