Last Updated on February 5, 2023 by James McAllister

By: James McAllister


For one reason or another, a lot of the accounts you’re currently following on Instagram will one day go inactive.

It could be that they’ve simply moved on, they’ve forgotten their password or they were blocked from posting. In any case, continuing to follow these inactive accounts can prevent you from following others once you hit Instagram’s limits.

So, it’s a good idea to periodically unfollow Instagram accounts that have become inactive.

But what is the most efficient way to find inactive accounts so you can unfollow them? In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!

Signs That Someone Is Inactive

Instagram App

Before we can determine who you should unfollow, let’s first quickly cover the signs that an account has gone inactive, and is likely not being used anymore:

  • The user hasn’t posted anything in at least 3 months. The only exception to this is if they have a pattern of rarely posting.
  • The user no longer has a profile picture.
  • The user does not have any active Instagram Story.
  • If their profile contains Story highlights, these are dated from a long time ago.
  • The user has not interacted or engaged with your content recently.
  • Their following count has not changed. You can check this using a tool like Socialblade.
  • They do not respond or read any DMs that you send them.

Of course, some people check Instagram sparingly or only use it for browsing – they may not even like any photos! So, there may not be any way to know for sure.

That being said, let’s now look over some of the different ways to identify and unfollow inactive accounts on Instagram.

Method One: Check Each Profile Manually

The first option is to manually go through each account that you’re following, and check to see whether or not they’re inactive.

This strategy works best when you’re following a few hundred accounts or less, as it’s the slowest out of all three of the methods.

That being said, it’s still pretty quick once you get into a good rhythm, so don’t discount the idea just because it sounds like a little bit of work. It’s really not that bad!

To do this as quickly as possible, open your Instagram profile and tap on your following list.

The idea here is that you want to open the first profile, and tap on their first picture as quickly as possible. Then, scroll down to look at the date.

If it was posted too long ago, unfollow them and move onto the next person.

Although there are many signals that somebody may be inactive, their most recent post is perhaps the most reliable of them. It’s also one of the quickest to discover when you’re going through your entire following list manually.

It is possible to check and unfollow up to 500 accounts an hour using this strategy – or even more if you’re very focused.

So, try it out!

Tip: If you believe that someone may return to Instagram someday and you really enjoyed their post, it may be a good idea to continue following them even if they are inactive. Sometimes people take breaks for several years before returning – especially if they already have a following!

Method Two: Unfollow Everyone, Then Refollow

Another thing you can try is simply unfollowing everyone – then refollowing those accounts that you care about seeing the most.

While this may seem a little drastic, it avoids the tedious work of checking everyone manually, and gives you a good opportunity to sort of ‘reset’ your Instagram feed in a way.

The reality is, most people have less than 50 accounts that they actually pay that much attention to. Think about it – other than your friends, could you name more than a few dozen accounts that you follow without actually checking?

Most people can’t.

So, if you don’t mind taking the time to refollow your most important accounts, this can actually be a huge timesaver over the first method.

Note: Your friends will get a notification that you’ve followed them again, and may wonder why you weren’t following them in the first place. A post on your page (or your Story) can explain what you’re doing, without having to talk to each person manually.

Additionally, Instagram has a limit to how many people you can unfollow at once. To learn more, click here!

Method Three: Use A Tool

The third and final method is to use a social media tool that’s specifically designed for helping you to manage your Instagram account.

A few examples include, ‘Unfollow for Instagram’, ‘Crowdfire’ and ‘Followers Insight’.

However, whether or not these apps will work for you seems to be hit or miss. Anecdotal reports from other users have suggested that the features either are buggy or no longer work as intended.

Instagram has gotten far more strict in recent years regarding what app developers are able to do when it comes to Instagram management. So, it’s possible that Instagram no longer allows apps to analyze the posting frequency of users, making it difficult to track who is inactive.

That being said, if you do find a working piece of software, they almost all work the same.

Usually, there will be a specific section that lists inactive accounts. Each profile will appear below each other, with an unfollow button on the right-hand side.

So, just tap on it and go down the list until all of your inactive accounts that you’re following have been removed.


Inactive accounts can harm your following to followers ratio, and are generally pointless to continue following.

By following one of the three methods above, you can regularly clear inactive accounts out.

I hope that this article has provided some ideas. If you have any other questions about Instagram, please ask them using the comment form below.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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