Instagram Restrict vs Block: Differences, When, and How to Use It

May 10, 2023

7 min to read

Jimmy Rodela

Content Writer @ Vista Social

Instagram Restrict vs Block: Differences, When, and How to Use It
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Instagram restrict vs. block—what’s the difference?

Social media platforms like Instagram have a variety of useful tools to manage your privacy.

Restricting and blocking are two such tools. 

This guide sheds light on the block vs. restrict function, their differences, and how to use them. 

Let’s jump in!

Table of Contents

Instagram restrict vs. block: What’s the difference?

To clarify the differences between restricting and blocking on Instagram, let’s take a deep dive into what each feature does. 

What happens if you restrict someone on Instagram?

So, what happens when you restrict a user on Instagram?

Nothing happens—at least, from that user’s perspective. 

Unlike blocking, restricted users will still be able to see your posts and leave comments. However, they get to keep those comments for themselves. 

That’s right, only they can see what they write on your Instagram content. It will remain invisible to other users and yourself. 

Restricted comments will only show a ‘See comment’ in the comments section. This lets you view comments from restricted users and decide whether or not to reveal them to other users. 

Sounds pretty handy, right?

Here’s more—a restricted user also won’t be able to view your activity status. From that user’s screen, you’ll appear as permanently inactive and unavailable for a response. 

If you actually read a restricted user’s new messages, they won’t get a “Seen” indicator like with normal users. This is handy if you don’t want them to expect a response and bug you further after you check their message. 

By the way, messages from restricted users will go straight to your message requests inbox. 

How to manage restricted accounts

First, let’s talk about how to restrict accounts. 

You can do this in four places. 

How to restrict accounts through the comments section

1. Launch the Instagram app and open the post with unwanted comments. 

2. Look for the specific user you want to restrict. 

3. Tap on the comment and swipe to the left to reveal the menu. For Android app users, simply tap and hold the comment. 

Swipe to reveal the menu.
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4. Tap the exclamation icon and select ‘Restrict (Username).’ Take note that you can use the same steps to un-restrict the user. 

Restrict the user.
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How to restrict accounts through messages 

1. On the Instagram app, go to the direct messages section by tapping the messenger icon in the top-right corner of your Feed. 

2. Open the chat with the user you want to restrict. 

3. On the conversation page, tap the name of the user at the top of the page. 

4. Tap ‘Options’ in the top menu and select ‘Restrict.’ For Android users, just scroll to the bottom, click ‘Restrict,’ then select ‘Restrict account.’ 

Restrict account.
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How to restrict accounts through their profile

1. Load up the Instagram app and head to the profile of the user you want to restrict. 

2. Tap the three-dot icon in the upper-right corner. 

3. Tap the ‘Restrict’ button to restrict the opened user account.  

Restrict user.
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How to restrict accounts through the settings page

1. On the Instagram app, go to your profile page and tap the hamburger menu icon (three horizontal lines). 

2. Tap ‘Settings’ and then head to ‘Privacy.’  

Tap ' Privacy Settings'.
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3. Under “Connections,” go to ‘Restricted accounts.’ If this is your first time restricting users, tap ‘Continue’ after reading the restrict feature overview. 

4. Use the search bar to look for the user accounts you want to restrict. Once you find them just tap the blue ‘Restrict’ button next to the correct user. 

Restrict' button next to the correct user.
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If you wish to un-restrict users, the easiest way is to head back to the ‘Restricted accounts’ page. 

There, you’ll find a list of all restricted accounts. Just tap ‘Unrestrict’ next to the user you want to give another chance. 

What happens if you block someone on Instagram?

Unlike restricting users, blocking is a more “in your face” way to express that you want nothing to do with a user.

You can block someone on Instagram if you absolutely don’t want anything to do with the other user. 

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This happens when you use the block function:

  • The user won’t be able to find your or your client’s account on Instagram.
  • All their likes and comments will be removed (unblocking them won’t restore these). 
  • They won’t be able to tag or mention your or your client’s account. 
  • You won’t receive and see their direct messages (even if you unblock them). 

Blocking an account also hides its content from your Instagram app. 

So, if you get tired of Elon Musk posers posting pseudo-inspirational stuff, blocking them is a great way to go. 

Only you can unblock users and restore their ability to connect with you or your client. 

If you block someone on Instagram, there’s nothing they can do about it. There’s no Instagram appeal form they can submit or tool they can use to override your decision. 

It’s a foolproof way to deal with trolls and toxic users. 

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How to manage blocked accounts

Similar to restricting, the Instagram block option is done in multiple ways. 

How to block accounts through the comments section

1. Open Instagram and go to the post with a comment from the user you wish to block. 

2. Look for their comment. 

3. Swipe left to reveal the menu and tap the exclamation icon (again, Android users need to tap and hold to show the menu). 

4. Select ‘Block’ and choose one of the two options. You can either block the specified account or block the user and any account they have or create in the future. 

Choose an option.
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5. Tap ‘Block’ to finalize your decision. 

How to block accounts through messages

1. Open the Instagram app and go to the messages section (tap the messenger icon in the upper-right corner. 

2. Find and open the conversation with the user you wish to block. 

3. Tap the person’s profile name.

4. Tap ‘Options’ and select ‘Block’ in the context menu. You will also get to choose to block the user’s present and future accounts or just the specified account. 

Tap to block account.
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How to block accounts through their profile

1. Open up Instagram and go to the profile you want to block. 

2. Pull up the settings menu by tapping the three-dot icon. 

3. Tap ‘Block’ and complete the process by choosing whether to block all their accounts or just one.

Tap to block user.
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How to block accounts through the settings page

1. Open Instagram and go to your or your client’s profile. Tap the three-bar menu icon to go to account settings. 

2. From there, go to ‘Settings,’ select ‘Privacy,’ and swipe down to “Connections.  

3. Go to ‘Blocked accounts.’ 

4. Tap the plus icon in the top-right corner and search for the user you want to block. Once you find them, simply tap the ‘Block’ button. 

Block buttons.
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Tips for managing your client’s Instagram account community

Blocking and restricting accounts may sound counterintuitive in a platform that’s supposed to connect people. However, it’s sometimes a necessity—especially when using them on trolls or users who don’t add value to your clients’ follower base.

Keep in mind, blocking and restricting accounts doesn’t always fix problems. Some groups of users may push the narrative that you’re resorting to censorship to preserve your (or your client’s) brand image.

The good news is, you don’t need to rely on Instagram’s restrict and block feature to maintain a more welcoming community. 

Here are 6 simple tips to help you build more positive connections and keep trolls away:

  • Avoid one-sided interactions. Give the audience opportunities to voice out their concerns outside of regular comments and DMs. Consider asking Instagram poll questions, running quizzes, sharing feedback forms, and paying attention to external reviews. 
  • Feature user-generated content. Show the community that you value connections by sharing user-generated content, like reviews, posts with products, and tutorials. You can learn how to make a Reel with photos to compile and publish UGC in a more shareable form (don’t forget to learn the ideal Instagram Reels dimensions while you’re at it). 
  • Mold your content strategy for your top followers. For Instagram relationship-building, quality matters just as much—if not more than—quantity. Pay attention to your client’s Instagram following list order and double down on the content types they interact with. 
  • Keep backups of your Instagram content. When it comes to trolls, the worst-case scenario is if someone influential enough weaponizes their reach to “bomb” you with reports. So, consider learning how to save Instagram videos with music, use backup tools, or consolidate all your assets through an SMM platform like Vista Social. 
  • Implement a content approval method. If you’re managing a client’s account, get them involved in the content approval process as an extra layer of protection against problematic posts. You may use Instagram drafts to let clients approve posts manually or onboard them into Vista Social for more streamlined content approvals. 
  • Get creative with interactive posts. Hashtag contests are easy and fun, but there are more creative ways to engage your community and spread positivity all around. For example, learn how to reverse audio on Instagram and have followers guess the title. 

Customers Also Ask

Can someone see if you restrict them on Instagram?

No—the Instagram app doesn’t notify users if you restrict their access. On the flip side, you also can’t tell if someone used the restrict feature on your (or your client’s) Instagram profile. 

What happens when you restrict someone on Instagram?

The Instagram restrict feature will hide your active status and the “read” indicator in direct messages. This is useful if you wish to avoid unwanted interactions with certain followers or users. 

Can restricted accounts see my Story?

Yes—a restricted person can see your Instagram Stories, Reels, and posts normally. The restriction feature only hides their comments and interactions from the rest of Instagram. 

Grow your Instagram community with Vista Social

Vista Social is packed with all the tools you need to stay on top of conversations, monitor stats, and optimize your content publishing strategy. 

Our inbox feature lets you stay on top of conversations across all channels. You can also use our content performance reports and “best posting time” suggestions to fine-tune your strategy to the target audience’s preferences. 

Give us a try by creating a free trial here—you won’t be disappointed!

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