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What You Can Do With Your Instagram Account

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Instagram recently updated their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and it caused quite a backlash. While the changes seemed to indicate that Instagram reserves the right to sell your photos or show them in advertisements, it wasn’t really true as Verge clarified. Users revolted, and Instagram quickly reverted the changes and reinstated the old terms of service – which, ironically grants actual rights for anyone to use your pictures by modifying them.

If you’re concerned, you have these options: you can delete your Instagram account right away, use a third party service to download your pictures before deleting them or migrate your photos to another service.

When that’s done, you can check out the alternatives mentioned at the end of the post so that you can still have fun filtering photos.


Nilay Patel’s clarification (linked above) is worth a read if you’re contemplating to delete your Instagram account right away. After a thorough analysis of the new legal terms, he clearly concludes that Instagram’s first update to the terms of service actually is less powerful than the old one – the new language allowed Instagram to only display place your photos near related content. Now, here’s the language in question that has since then been reverted:

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

They didn’t really mean that they’ll sell your photos without compensation, they just meant your photos could be placed alongside other photos – let’s say there’s a page for a restaurant and Instagram could choose to display photos you have taken in that restaurant. That’s it – no modification like adding logos to your photos can be done because the language mentions only display.

Okay, that’s how it looked like before the reinstatement. After the big fat undoing that Instagram did, they’ve gone back to the old terms of service which allows them to sell advertising “on, about, or in conjunction with” photos – which means they could actually use photos in ads and modify them as they like. It seemed like the users won by causing them to retract the terms, but in reality, it’s Instagram that’s winning.

You might argue that every other web startup out there has pretty much the same terms of service, wired in a legal quagmire of incomprehensible terms. Yes, but if you’re a little in concerned that Instagram is just pretending to play good, then it’s time to move on. Here are your choices:

Download Your Instagram Photos

Our friends over at Guiding Tech have covered that lets you download all your Instagram photos as a compressed zip file to your local hard disk. Once you go to, all you have to do is click the big orange ‘Sign in with Instagram’ button and grant access to your account.

You’ll be taken back to the same page again, and from the available options, you can choose ‘Download .zip file’ and then ‘Start export’ to begin the download.

If you click ‘Advanced Options’ before exporting your photos, you could upload only your last 10 photos, photos between specific dates or photos with a specific tag. This way, your archive becomes much smaller because you’re downloading only those photos that matter to you!


You can extract the zip archive after the download is complete and you’ll find all your favourite photos there!

There are similar tools that do pretty much the same thing – there’s a desktop app that lets you download your Instagram photos in one ago, among other things. Here’s a link to a previous post that discusses such utilities.

Backup your Instagram Photos To Dropbox

There used to be a tool to send your Instagram photos to Dropbox – Instadrop. Unfortunately, it is not working anymore and you cannot really transfer all your old Instagram photos to Dropbox folders instantly anymore. However, if you’re not really sure about deleting your account, but would still like to post photos AND have them backed up elsewhere, IFTTT shows the way out.

Go to, sign up or login with your existing ID. Now, go to this page and activate your Instagram account. Also, go to this page and activate your Dropbox channel.


Voila! You can now add this recipe that makes the sync from Instagram to Dropbox possible in one go.


Scroll down. After customizing options on how your Instagram photos should be saved to your Dropbox account, you can hit the bold ‘Use Recipe’ button. Pretty much it – all your future uploads will get synced to Dropbox.

Here’s a bonus tip: you can go to the Instagram app settings and turn on the setting that saves your photos to your local phone library. You can either choose to save the originals, or only the filtered photos.


Delete Your Instagram Account

Instagram makes it ridiculously easy to delete your account. It’s not possible from the mobile app at the time of writing, but you can do it from the web. Just go to and click on ‘Your Account’ in the footer.

Make sure that the ‘Edit Profile’ tab is open in the page that appears next.


Click “I’d like to delete my account” from the end of the page.


From the next page, choose to tell Instagram why you’re deleting your account, type in your password and then click ‘Permanently deactivate my account’.


Once done, your photos, likes and friendships cannot be recovered again.

Alternative apps

If you quit using Instagram but still want to get more of the filtering goodness, there are a good number of apps to choose from – both paid and free.

There’s Snapseed, which was recently acquired by Google. It puts a lot of editing tools at your disposal besides just having filters and effects. There’s also a photo auto-correct feature that’s notable. The app is free and is available for download for both iOS and Android. Or you could try Pixlr-o-matic.

Camera+ is probably the best replacement out there for iOS, and comes with a ton of effects – that are arguably more lovely than Instagram’s. It comes at a price though, but at $2, it offers filters, borders, sharing, cropping and everything else you can think of. Download for iOS (it’s selling for a lower price today).


What did you do with your Instagram account? Tell us in the comments!

Written by Killer Tech Tips

December 25th, 2012 at 1:04 pm