How to change your Instagram name, and is it a bad practice? (guide 2023)

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There’s a lot of room to be creative on Instagram. You can post aesthetically pleasing photos of your morning coffee, show off your music skills in your Stories, and display all of your thoughtfully categorized content on Highlights. But there’s one area on the app that has inspired some controversy when it comes to creativity: your name. While you can change your Instagram name, it’s not the same as updating your bio or profile photo. Since it’s the primary avenue for people to find you, it’s wise to proceed with some caution when messing with something as important as your Instagram name.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Instagram name changes — and whether it’s bad social media practice to do so.

Can you change your Instagram name?

It’s absolutely possible to change your Instagram name and your Instagram username. And yes, those are two different things.

Your Instagram username — or your Instagram handle — is displayed on your profile at the top-center of the screen. It’s also found above every post and next to every comment and like you leave. It’s how people tag you in content as well.

Your Instagram name, on the other hand, is only displayed on your profile underneath your profile photo. People can use your username and your name to search for your profile.

How to change your Instagram username or handle

Changing your Instagram handle is simple and can be done by following these steps:

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Press the person icon at the bottom-right corner of the page to navigate to your profile.
  3. Then press the Edit Profile button located underneath your bio.
  4. Press the Username field.
  5. Delete your old username.
  6. Type in your new one.
  7. Finally, press Done.

After you’ve followed the steps above, your Instagram username will be changed. If you decide you don’t like your new username and you want to go back to your old one, you typically have up to 14 days to do so.

However, if a new account has already taken your old username, you won’t be able to change it back.

How to change your name on Instagram

As it turns out, changing your name — also known as your display name — on Instagram is just as easy as changing your username.

Here’s how to change your name on Instagram:

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Press the person icon at the bottom-right corner of the page to navigate to your profile.
  3. Tap the Edit Profile button located underneath your bio.
  4. Now press the Name field.
  5. Delete your old name by pressing the X symbol.
  6. Type in your new name.
  7. Press Done.

Doing this will change your name on your Instagram profile immediately. So, what happens to your account and your virtual visibility after that?

The caveats of changing your Instagram name

As easy as it is to change your Instagram name and username, it does come with some caveats. Depending on how actively you’ve been promoting your Instagram account in other places and how much you want to grow your following, there are some important things to consider before you press “Done.”

Is it a bad practice to change your username?

If you’ve had your account for a while and have built up a sizable following, most experts agree that changing your Instagram username isn’t the best idea.

Why? For starters, if you’ve ever promoted your Instagram account outside of the app (like in a guest blog post or under your email signature), those links won’t automatically redirect to your account anymore.

Because your Instagram profile URL won’t automatically change outside of the app, you’ll also experience a short period where you won’t show up on Google or any other search engines. And if you’ve linked any other social media accounts to your Instagram (like Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube), you’ll also have to change your username there, too.

Do you lose followers when you change your Instagram name?


When you change your username, everything within the app will automatically switch over to your new account name. So all of your previous comments, mentions, and likes will display your new username.

However, if someone attempts to find your profile and tries to search for your old username, they will get a notification that reads “user not found.” That alert might lead them to believe that you’ve deleted or deactivated your Instagram account.

There’s also a chance that your followers might not recognize you and your new username. If they think you’re a new account, there’s a chance they could unfollow you.

To try to avoid this loss of followers, make sure that you announce your new Instagram username on either your Stories or in a post before you make the switch. That way, your followers will know what to expect.

That being said, changing your Instagram display name will not set off any of the issues mentioned above. People might not be able to find you by typing in your old display name, but it won’t mess with any of your URLs. So if you want to experiment and play with a new Instagram name, changing your display name is a much safer option.

Why does your Instagram name appear locked?

If your Instagram account appears locked, don’t worry; you haven’t been locked out of your account, and it doesn’t mean you’ve violated one of Instagram’s rules.

In March of 2019, Instagram rolled out a new feature that automatically locked accounts’ old usernames for 14 days after they switched to a new one. The goal of this new tool was to prevent hackers who grab old and discarded usernames to use as bots. In the past, hackers have taken over old usernames as soon as those users switched over, which prevents that person from returning to their old usernames ever again.

This auto-lock feature gives Instagram users a grace period for switching over their usernames, which, as we mentioned previously, is a change that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

If there’s a lock symbol next to your username, it means your account is currently set to private, so only followers you have approved can see your content.

Can people see your previous Instagram names?

No. Once you’ve changed your Instagram name, people will only be able to see your current username. There is no way for them to access your previous usernames.

You used to be able to see your previous Instagram usernames within your account settings. However, Instagram seems to have done away with that feature.

All that being said, there are multiple factors worth considering before you change your Instagram name. However, if you’re not worried about losing followers or lowering your engagement for a couple of weeks, changing your username is no big deal.

Lisa Giancola

Lisa Giancola is a great technology enthusiast, especially with regard to facebook, reddit, Twitter, Discord and pinterest applications.

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