(Published on May 10, 2023| Updated on September 19, 2023)
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!
To clarify the differences between restricting and blocking on Instagram, let’s take a deep dive into what each feature does.
There are several ways to limit users on Instagram. When you limit someone: they won’t see if you’re active or if you’ve read their messages. They’re the only ones who can view their new comments on your posts, but you have the option to see them by tapping “See Comment”.
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.
What certain activities does Instagram restrict?
When you get a notification from Instagram saying “We restrict certain activity,” it means that your account’s limited from certain actions on the platform, such as liking, commenting, or following other users.
First, let’s talk about how to restrict accounts.
You can do this in four places.
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.
4. Tap the exclamation icon and select ‘Restrict (Username).’ Take note that you can use the same steps to un-restrict the user.
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.’
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.
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.’
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.
How to unrestrict someone on Instagram
If you wish to un-restrict users, the easiest way is to head back to the ‘Restricted accounts’ page.
Tap the three-barbar icon in the top right section of your profile, then tap Settings and then Privacy.
Scroll down to “Restricted Accounts”.
There, you’ll find a list of all restricted accounts. Just tap ‘Unrestrict’ next to the user you want to give another chance.
What does block mean on Instagram?
When you block someone on Instagram, that person won’t be able to find your profile, posts or stories.
This will block their accounts, other existing or new accounts they may create in the future. But if you opt to block someone’s account and the existing ones they already have, this won’t affect the profiles you’re already following.
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.
This happens when you use the block function:
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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Similar to restricting, the Instagram block option is done in multiple ways.
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.
5. Tap ‘Block’ to finalize your decision.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
You can either block or unblock an Instagram Account at any time unless they’ve blocked you. ‘Restricted’ versus ‘blocked’ on Instagram differs greatly. While a blocked account can’t contact or reach you in any way, a restricted account can still see your posts and comments, but only visible to both of you.
Several options to screen a post from someone on Instagram without blocking them include: changing your profile to a private account, muting the account, changing privacy options in settings, removing the account from your followers list, or archiving specific posts.
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About the Author
Jimmy Rodela is a social media and content marketing consultant with over 9 years of experience, with work appearing on sites such as Business.com, Yahoo, SEMRush, and SearchEnginePeople. He specializes in social media, content marketing, SaaS, small business strategy, marketing automation, and content development.
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