How to view a private Instagram account in a few different ways - though the best way is to just send a follow request

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  • The only surefire and legitimate way to view a private Instagram account is to directly request to follow it.
  • There are a few alternative ways you can try to gain access to posts on a private Instagram account, but they're not perfect. Some of those methods raise ethical issues and are best avoided.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you want to get access to a private Instagram account, the best thing to do is simply hit that "Follow" button on the Instagram app or website and wait for the person to approve you.

That is the one and only way to gain full and legitimate access to the person's content and to establish the ability to exchange messages back and forth.

You should follow a private Instagram account to view it

There are some alternative methods you can use to view a private Instagram account without following the account, including using third-party apps that violate Instagram's terms of use - which we don't recommend doing.

However, if you want to view a private Instagram account at any time, your best bet is to just follow the account.

That said, there are other ways you could technically and ethically view a private Instagram account (or posts associated with the account) without following the account directly.

Use Google to view Instagram posts associated with a private account

You can copy and paste the private account's Instagram name (you can view the name, post count, and follower and following figures even of a private account) into Google and then do an image search.

Chances are that some of their pictures will come up, having been tagged elsewhere on a public Instagram or even Facebook accounts.

View a private Instagram account through a friend or another account

If you know someone who follows the private Instagram you want to view, you could always access that account through their account - with your friend or acquaintance's permission, of course.

If there's a specific Instagram post you want to see, you could also ask them to take a screenshot of the private post and send it to you.

Otherwise, you could request to follow a private Instagram account from another account you've created.

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