How To Change Instagram Username Without Losing Followers

So, you have spent some time building your brand on Instagram, connecting with a community through sharing and responding, and making yourself visible to the contacts that matter. 

But you realize you need a username change! 

A couple of questions may come to mind; how does it work? will you maintain the fame you’ve so far built or better yet, the following? 

Well, if you want to change your username but don’t want all your effort and energy to go down the drain, that is what I address in this article. 

For a quick look; it is important to inform your followers about your intended username change, keep them informed, and put the confusion and doubts at bay. 

We’ll be looking more into this. 

First, let’s understand the username change possibility and its implications, then see how you can change your username without losing your followers. 

Can the Instagram username be changed? 

Yes, changing a username on Instagram is quite easy. Instagram allows users to change their Username and Display name using the Edit Profile function.

The implication of changing Instagram username

Loss of old username; when you change your username, the old one will be made available for another Instagram user after a while.

This means that you may not be able to change back to your old name if it is already taken. However, Instagram allows you to change back to your old username within 14 days. 

If another user takes on your new username, they will inherit even the tags in which that name was used!

Change in the profile link; a profile link is a URL that helps you share your Instagram profile with other users. 

It matches with the username or contains the username. 

So when you change your username this also changes. 

This can mean that links you shared using your old username will not work anymore. 

Loss of engagement; your friends and family, or even clients may still tag your old username thinking that they are tagging you, hence you lose engagement with them. 

Your contacts need to know your new username to avoid confusion and misunderstanding. 

Direct messages will not disappear; on the brighter side, your direct messages are private and will remain, they will not change. 

Loss of followers; when people see another username, they may think it is a different person. 

Some users may have an attachment to the name and when it changes they may prefer to not keep around. 

How to change your Instagram username without losing your followers 

Well, now that you know it is possible to change a username, and you have decided you do not want to let your effort and energy go down the drain by losing followers and following, it is important to know how you can change your name, but not lose your followers. 

First things first, how do we change a username on Instagram? Here is how

  1. Open your Instagram and log into your account
  2. Go to your profile page; you can do this by tapping your profile picture in the bottom right corner of your screen
  3. On your page you will have options to edit or share your profile, these are typically below the bio information.

    Tap on the edit profile option; 
Instagram Profile Page
Instagram Profile Page
  1. Then tap in the username bar on the edit profile page. This should allow you to change to your preferred name by typing it into the bar. 

Instagram will first check name availability. 

You should be able to see a green/blue check mark if the name you want to change to is available. 

If the checkmark is inactive, or you see a red exclamation mark, then the name is unavailable. 

Instagram Username
Instagram Username

Instagram Username

Keep trying other username options until you get the active green/blue check

  1. Now you can tap the okay, or the check sign on the top right. Done! 

Okay, so if you are worried about the implications, especially losing followers when you change your Instagram username, here is the solution. 

For starters, changing a username will not erase all followers or make your Instagram account blank

NO! Your loss of followers may be due to confusion or attachment to the old name. 

To avoid losing your followers; 

1. Inform your followers

It is useful to let your followers know your intention to change a name. This should be done before the actual username change. 

You can let them know what the new username will be, and explain reasons for the change. 

This will help avoid confusion, as well as reassure your followers when they see a new username.  

2. Make the change mild

Depending on your reasons for the change, it is wise to make the name change not so different from the previous one. 

For example, I can change ‘gloria23’ to ‘gloria2385’; something that actually some users may not even notice. 

With this, the account will actually not look so strange and I can keep my followers

3. Send a reminder

Remember to remind your followers of the username change. You endeavored to inform them before the change, it is a good idea to remind them after the change. 

You can do this through a post, a story or even a live video. 

In case someone missed the prior information, this is also a good way to bring them on board. 

You can also ask the people who tagged you to update the username in their tags to keep you part of the conversations. 

4. Engage

You need to keep the engagement active and meaningful. 

The username change should not be followed by dormancy if you were an active user, this may push followers off. 

It is important to post useful and relevant content to keep your followers hooked and reassure them that you are still the same person.  

How often can I change my username on Instagram?

Instagram allows you to change your username if you are unhappy with it, or just need a change or any other reasons. 

You can change your username on Instagram multiple times though there may be some restrictions. 

I have not proved a specific limit period or the number of times you can change your username, but restrictions for how often you change a username on Instagram may be influenced by; 

  • How old your account is 
  • How active you’ve been
  • How many times you have attempted to change your username 

So, you can change your Instagram username as many times as Instagram allows you! 


What is the difference between a username and a display name on Instagram? 

On your Instagram page are three identifiers – the name at the top of the screen, the profile photo and the name below the photo.

Instagram Username

The name at the top of the screen is the unique identifier that appears in your profile URL just after the @ symbol. 

This is the username and must be unique. One username can not be used by more than one person. 

The username is what people use to search for your profile, and it is what other users use to mention you in posts or tag you. 

The display name on the other hand does not have to be unique; multiple users can have the same display name. 

In most cases, people actually use their real name as their display name. This can be changed on Instagram without any limitations. 

The display name is what appears directly under your profile picture.  

How can I change my Instagram display name? 

Changing your display name on Instagram is very possible and you can do this in the app Settings, or on your web version. 

Once you are logged into your Instagram, you can go to your profile page and tap on the Edit profile option

Here you have several edit options.

You can choose the edit display name and then type in your preferred name. 

You can make this unique to visitors, or even use your actual name.

After the change, you can refresh the page or reopen your Instagram app. 

What happens to your tags when you change your Instagram name? 

When you change your username, tags that were previously made will remain as they are, they may not automatically change. 

The mentions from posts, tags in videos or photos and mentions in comments or captions will all be connected to the old username as they already exist. 

However, Instagram makes an effort to ensure that users can still find you with your new name by redirecting tags in photos or videos to your new username. 

This may take some time to update though. 

The best way is to inform your followers about the change in username and ask them to update tags with your new username so that you keep the engagements. 


Changing a username on Instagram has been made easy and possible, though with a waiting period. 

This may come with some losses especially due to ignorance and confusion. 

Well, the good news is that you do not have to start all over again because of a username change, you can change your username and still enjoy your followers, following and conversations.

What is most important is communication; making your followers aware of your decision to change a username will make the change smoother, enjoyable and satisfying. 

I hope you enjoy your Instagram experience. 

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Gloria Is an academician in the social sciences with more than five (5) years of lecturing. She has a passion for research and writing and has written a number of articles about social media. She loves journaling and poetry.

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