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What Does “User Not Found” Mean on Instagram & How to Fix

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Some users have been facing the issue of the “User not found” error message appearing as they search for someone’s profile or an account on Instagram. So we are here for the rescue! We will be discussing the possible reasons why this issue may happen. 

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Okay, so it’s not like there are a lot of people left who aren’t aware of the mega social media platform Instagram already. But, there is quite a decent amount of the population of users who often find themselves stuck in the errors of the app, like Instagram doesn’t refresh the feed. 

As Instagram continues to grow into an even bigger social media platform in the marketplace by bringing out even cooler and more useful features, there comes great responsibility as well. And no matter how big of an organization, we all make mistakes, right? One such is an Instagram error that the users are asking for solutions for – what does “user not found” mean on Instagram? And we are here to answer that, along with the required solutions to this issue. 

“User not found” error on Instagram

In this article, we are going to discuss what “user not found” mean on Instagram and also explain its methods using which you can possibly get rid of the error. So let’s dive right in! 

What Does “User Not Found” Mean on Instagram?

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Scrolling through Instagram and coming across a pretty funny or interesting comment. So you decide to go to the person’s profile to explore them a bit more. But…. to your excitement and curiosity, you see the error “User not found” instead. So what does an Instagram user not found mean? Let’s find out.

When you see the error message “User not found” on Instagram, this means that the person you’re trying to reach or visit is unavailable for some reason. So, here we are going to explain different possible scenarios which could mean different things why you get to see the error “User not found on Instagram.”

The user is not found on Instagram, but …

  • The profile picture is still visible

“Instagram user not found but can see profile picture”, this could happen when the user you’re trying to reach has disabled his/her account, or it has been suspended recently. However, if you visit their account after a few days, their profile picture won’t be there anymore, and you will see the “User not found” error. 

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If the user is not found on Instagram, but you can still message them, then it doesn’t mean that they are receiving your messages. And not only that, even if the account is found someday, those messages would still not reflect. Hence, it is better to stop texting as it is just like watering a dead plant.

  • Their posts are still visible

There are issues like you can’t post on Instagram and in the case of posts, the reason you may still be able to view them is that it happened recently. If the user is not found on Instagram, but their pictures still show, it is only for some time. And once you refresh your Instagram app or restart it, this glitch will be gone. 

  • The bio is still appearing

If the Instagram user is not found but you can see their bio on their profile, don’t take it as a sign of that person’s availability in that person’s list. This is just a glitch that will be gone in a manner of time. 

So these were some possible scenarios that can happen when you see the “User not found” error. Now we will discuss the reasons below which can cause this error to occur.

Reasons for “User Not Found” Issue on Instagram

Now that you know what the “user not found” error means on Instagram, to help you better understand the error message, we will list some reasons which can lead to the issue.

If you are trying to look for someone’s username by searching manually, or for the first time, it is possible that you either made a typing mistake or have the wrong username. So you may have to recheck the username you have entered.

Typing error on Instagram

Unlike other social media platforms, users can change their username on Instagram anytime they want to from the app or website. And this is one of the common reasons many people face the “User not found” error on the platform.  But, it is worth noting that the user can only change the username if it is available. So when you search for the username once it’s changed, it’s like it doesn’t exist anymore. 

So what is it all about? Basically, Instagram uses the person’s username as the basis of the URL for leading to the person’s profile. And so, due to this, their Instagram location changes as well. Even though Instagram directs to the new location if someone searches for the user or looks for them, this may not always be the case.

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Instagram username change

Hence, if you try to look for the user by their old username, you might not find them. So below are some points that will help you in finding out or confirming whether they have changed their username.

  1. You can go to the user’s other social media platforms and see if they have updated any information about their username there.
  2. If that didn’t work, maybe go through the profiles of some mutual friends and see if they have their updated username added with them in their followers or following.
  3. You can simply go to your messages and open the conversation with that person. This way you can go to their updated profile. However, if there is still the “User not found” error appearing in their account, this could most likely mean you’re blocked.
  • Account has been Temporarily Disabled 

Since a lot of people prefer taking a break from social media, Instagram has given users the option of temporarily deactivating their account. And once they are ready to be in the social media world again, they can make a comeback. So nowadays, it has become pretty common for people to disable their accounts on Instagram.

During this temporary period, the user’s account won’t appear in the search results now it will appear in the mutual friends’ list of followers and following. So if you are trying to look for the person’s account while they have temporarily disabled it, you will see the “User not found” error message. 

Temporarily disabled account

Even though Instagram doesn’t provide the exact details about whether a person has disabled their account or has blocked you, you can ask a mutual friend to look up their account for confirmation. 

  • Account is Permanently Deleted 

There are times when people decide to give up on their social media life and hence decide to delete their account. And so, if the account they want to delete permanently is from Instagram, all their likes, comments, posts, content, and of course, their profile will be gone. This means that since the account has been deleted, it won’t appear in the search results or followers/following list either. So this is when you will get the “User not found” error message if you search for their account. 

Instagram Account Permanently Deleted

Since there is no way as of now to determine whether a user has permanently or temporarily disabled their account, you can ask a mutual friend for confirmation if they look up their profile. 

If you think this won’t work, there is one last resort left that you may as well try – searching their username. Now, if you’re wondering what this means, all you have to do is simply search for their username and if you see a different account instead, this will mean that they have actually deleted their account. Hence, this will confirm that you weren’t blocked by that person. 

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With over a billion monthly active followers, Instagram sure has a strong community and so are its standards for the users. And so, there are certain Community Guidelines set by Instagram that the users have to follow unless they want themselves banned or suspended from the platform. 

Account suspended from Instagram

So it is possible that the person you are trying to reach may have violated one of the rules and regulations set by Instagram. The accounts of users who are banned or got their accounts suspended also appear with the “User not found” error message.

  • Outdated Version of Instagram

Another possible reason which can lead to the “User not found” error message is having an older version of the Instagram app. There is a possibility that if you have not updated to the latest version available of the app, then Instagram is not working. And this error message can simply appear due to a glitch or bug in the outdated version of the app.  

Old Version of Instagram

As discussed earlier, there are certain rules and regulations set by Instagram that the users have to follow. And so, those who don’t follow them and violate them by abusing others or using inappropriate language, etc. can get banned from Instagram. So if you think the person you are trying to reach has done this, it can be the reason for the “User not found” error message to appear. 

  • The respective user has blocked you

If you think that none of the reasons mentioned above is causing the error message of “User not found” for you, then one last reason left is being blocked by the user.

So these were some reasons which can lead to the error message “User not found” on Instagram. 


Ans: The users had complained about Instagram posts not showing for some people, while some said they were appearing in the reels instead. However, the issue was later resolved by Instagram a couple of hours after clarifying it on Twitter.

Ans: The “Try again later” error message can appear when you’re using automation tools or third-party apps. It can also show up when you like, comment, follow/unfollow someone “too aggressively.” However, it also appears when you haven’t done anything of such sort, and can simply be a temporary glitch.

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