How to Change Your Security Settings on Instagram: The Ultimate Guide

With billions of active users, Instagram is the best place to share life’s moments through photos and videos. But this also makes the social media platform a target for hackers or online scammers who want to exploit or access your private information. Breaches of Instagram accounts have unfortunately become common – so securing your profile should be a priority.

The good news is Instagram offers robust security settings giving you control over your account’s protections. Turning these on prevents unauthorized logins, locks down connected apps and adds critical layers of defense to stop account takeovers.

In this comprehensive 2000+ word guide, we will explore all of Instagram’s security controls in-depth:

  • Why Updating Settings Secures Your Account
  • Step-by-Step Setup Tutorials
  • Expert Analysis for Every Key Setting
  • Protecting Business & Creator Profiles
  • Ongoing Security Best Practices

Let’s get started securing your account!

Why You Should Update Your Security Settings on Instagram

Enabling Instagram’s security tools might seem like an unnecessary extra step, but it can prevent hugely detrimental account breaches. Just ask any of the 26+ million Instagram users who have had usernames, passwords and private data leaked in recent hacks.

As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, no online account is completely immune from intrusion. Updating your settings makes break-ins significantly harder. Here are 5 key reasons to secure your Instagram:

1. Prevent Profile Takeovers

Once hackers gain access to an Instagram account, they often change passwords and login credentials to lock the actual owner out. This allows them to seize control of the profile and pretend to be the legitimate user in further scams.

Activating security protections like two-factor authentication erects obstacles that make it extremely difficult for intruders to fully compromise accounts. It also gives owners backup methods to regain access.

2. Combat Identity Theft

Instagram accounts contain a wealth of identity data – real names, locations, email addresses, phone numbers, photos with hidden metadata and more. This creates prime fodder for digital identity theft.

Updating privacy restrictions, limiting connected apps and routinely changing passwords help safeguard private user information from exploitation in fraudulent activity.

3. Stop Financial Crime

Scammers are capitalizing on Instagram’s massive reach to perpetrate financial cons against unsuspecting victims. A common scheme involves hacking into accounts to launch investment, romance, phishing and charity cons using a trusted profile’s identity to build credibility.

Extra security precautions make accounts much less vulnerable to takeover and fraudulent use in these financially devastating situations.

4. Protect Company Brands

For businesses managing branded Instagram profiles, a security breach threatens serious reputation damage and loss of customer trust.

Enabling every security setting gives companies assurance that their accounts have maximum protection against outside attacks.

5. It‘s Required by Law

Instagram’s parent company Meta faces lawsuits over negligent security practices that exposed user data. Legal experts argue the platform is obligated to provide adequate protections safeguarding accounts.

Turning on settings like two-factor authentication and routinely changing passwords brings users more aligned with reasonable security expectations under the law.

Step-by-Step Guide to Updating Settings on Mobile

The most robust Instagram security controls are available in the platform’s iOS and Android mobile apps. Here is a walkthrough to access the Security Settings menu:

Diagram showing step-by-step path to access Instagram Security Settings

Let’s break this down step-by-step:

  1. Launch the Instagram mobile app on your device
  2. Tap your profile icon in the bottom right corner
  3. Hit the "hamburger menu" (3 horizontal lines) in the top right
  4. Choose the Gear Icon to enter Settings
  5. Scroll down and select Security

After following these steps, you will land on the main Security Settings page with options to update account protections.

Pro Tip: Instagram‘s website currently has limited security controls compared to mobile. Access settings there instead for the most robust protection.

Now let’s dive deeper into what each mobile security setting does and why it matters.

Login Activity

One of the most critical security settings is Login Activity under Instagram‘s Security tools. This feature displays a log of all devices that have recently gained access to your Instagram account.

Each login shows details like the browser, operating system, location and timestamp. This allows you to identify any unfamiliar or suspicious devices accessing your profile.

Example screenshot of Instagram Login Activity showing device details

If you spot a dubious device logging into your account, you can take swift action:

  • Tap to instantly block shady devices from the login activity screen
  • Change your account password to revoke access rights
  • Enable two-factor authentication for advanced account locking

Routinely checking Login Activity even weekly acts like a security camera giving visibility on unauthorized access attempts. This allows you to catch infiltrations early and lock intruders out.

Without this tool, breaches could go undiscovered for months with hackers quietly extracting data or racking up fraudulent charges under your identity.

Saved Login Information

In a similar vein, Instagram‘s Saved Login setting displays all devices that have your account username and password stored locally for automatic authentication.

Browsers like Chrome and apps like the main Instagram mobile client allow saving credentials for future logins. While convenient, saved passwords also introduce security risks:

  • Keylogging malware on devices can steal unencrypted passwords
  • Weak device passwords make saved login access easy if the device is left unattended
  • Data breaches expose vaults of usernames/passwords for hackers

Carefully review all devices with saved Instagram access. Remove any that seem unfamiliar, outdated or vulnerable to the above risks to lock down this attack vector.

Also consider turning saved login off altogether and manually authenticating each time for better security – albeit at the cost of minor convenience.

Two-Factor Authentication

Arguably Instagram’s most vital security setting is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA). As the name suggests, 2FA adds an extra "factor" needed to login beyond just a password.

After entering your credentials, Instagram will send a unique 6-digit verification code to your phone via text message. You must then enter this code to finish logging in successfully:

Diagram showing two-factor authentication Instagram login process requiring code

So even if a criminal manages to phish or compromise your main account password, they cannot gain access without also physically possessing your phone to receive the code. This adds an extra obstacle that severely thwarts most hackers.

Additional options like using a specialized 2FA app for code generation – such as Authy or Google Authenticator – provide further account locking to stop infiltrations.

Cybersecurity experts almost unanimously agree that two-factor authentication is the #1 digital security tool all social media users should enable given its protections.

Yet a 2022 survey showed only 30% of people use 2FA on any accounts at all, let alone Instagram. Don‘t neglect this vital shield – turn it on!

Password Updates

While less buzzworthy than two-factor authentication, Instagram‘s Password Update tool remains a straightforward yet critical security control.

Experts recommend proactively changing passwords every 90 days as a routine best practice to cycle in new credentials before breaches occur. Criminals also crack nearly 100,000 Instagram passwords daily via brute force attacks.

If your password gets exposed publicly or you notice suspicious login activity, immediately use Instagram‘s internal change password feature.

Generating a new complex passphrase instantly revokes an existing compromised password to block adversary access.

You should also avoid password reuse and instead utilize a unique random password per account. Password manager apps like 1Password and LastPass help create and store distinctive keys for all your profiles.

Example strong 15 character Instagram password with special characters, numbers & letters

Use Instagram‘s password update control as part of an ongoing routine to cycle in new credentials before the old ones get cracked.

Emails from Instagram

A more subtle but still useful Instagram security setting manages Email Communications from the platform to your registered email address.

These messages often contain vital account notifications around:

  • Suspicious login attempts
  • Password reset confirmations
  • Profile tagging alerts
  • Copyright violations

Keeping email notifications enabled ensures Instagram can directly alert you to anomalous activity requiring investigation. Don‘t let these early warning messages end up in spam folders.

You can tailor specific notification types under this setting based on preference. But experts recommend leaving on critical security communications as a safeguard.

Security Checkup

If diving into individual settings feels overwhelming, Instagram‘s handy Security Checkup feature provides a simple checklist summarizing protections.

The Security Checkup page displays at-a-glance whether you have configured key options like:

Example Instagram Security Checkup checklist screenshot

  • Two-factor authentication
  • Login activity visibility
  • Password update cadence
  • Suspicious activity alerts

Green checkmarks indicate enabled protections while red X‘s reveal gaps.

Use Security Checkup to quickly review protections or as a reminder to periodically brush up account security hygiene similar to changing air filters or getting a physical exam.

Connected Apps

Instagram allows linking Connected Apps and third-party services to your profile for extended functionality like posting scheduling, analytics, contests and more.

However, each connected app requests varying levels of access permissions to your account data. Their security models also differ greatly.

The Connected Apps setting under Security shows all current integrations with ability to instantly disconnect them.

Carefully vet each connected app and remove any that seem dubious or unnecessary. Fewer links mean fewer vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit.

Also check that trusted apps only have minimum necessary permissions. There is typically little reason for a scheduling tool to require access to your private messages, for example.

Revoke or tweak app permissions even for popular services as your needs change over time. Keeping access lean locks things down further.

Securing Business & Creator Instagram Profiles

For brands, influencers, celebrities and public figures, an Instagram account breach threatens massive reputation damage, financial loss and user trust.

Extra security considerations apply for protecting business and creator profiles with large audiences:

Two-Factor Authentication – Absolutely mandatory for accounts with over 10,000+ followers, no exceptions. The account reach makes hacking financially lucrative.

Login Review – Check activity daily rather than weekly to spot anomalies faster. Higher follower counts draw more attacks.

Password Manager – Generate lengthy random passwords only used on Instagram to prevent phishing.

App Audit – Social media management platforms have been breached before. Reassess connections regularly.

Backups – Maintain archived copies of content and data in case hackers ransom access.

Separate Personal & Professional – Use distinct accounts for personal and branded profiles to limit risks.

Email Authentication – Register Instagram accounts to secure corporate email addresses with cybersecurity teams monitoring threats.

Summary infographic of Instagram security tips for businesses

Staying Secure Long-Term on Instagram

Remember that privacy protections are an ongoing exercise requiring vigilance, not a one-and-done activity. Consider regularly:

🔑 Changing passwords every 90 days using a password manager

🔒 Enabling two-factor authentication via text or authentication apps

🕵️‍♀️ Checking login activity weekly for unauthorized access attempts

📱 Securing devices linked to Instagram against malware threats

📌 Reviewing security checklist for protection gaps needing addressed

📃 Clearing unused connected app authorizations as account needs evolve

🔒 Updating privacy settings as Instagram adds new user controls

No system is 100% bulletproof as threats evolve but staying on top of Instagram‘s security settings makes your account radically harder to breach.

Key Takeaways: How to Update Instagram Security Settings

Shoring up Instagram privacy is crucial in the era of rampant social media hacking. Follow this expert summary to lock down key protections:

⭐ Enable two-factor authentication requiring extra login verification

⭐ Routinely change account passwords every 90 days

⭐ Check login activity weekly for unauthorized access attempts

⭐ Revoke unused app permissions linking third parties

⭐ Use Instagram‘s security checklist for periodic tune-ups

⭐ Customize email and privacy settings for needed visibility

⭐ Consider extra measures unique to business profiles

⭐ Stay updated on evolving social media cyberthreats

Instagram provides the tools making your account far more breach resilient – you just need to turn them on and make secure access an ongoing habit!

Next Steps & Further Reading

We covered a ton of Instagram security ground here! Continue locking things down with these expert guides:

🔐 Advanced Instagram Privacy Settings Beyond Security
📲 2-Factor Authentication FAQs: How to Enable & Set Up
🔑 Password Manager Apps for Business & Personal Use
😃 How to Recover a Hacked Instagram Account

Stay safe in the social media landscape! Let us know if you have any other questions.

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