Can Someone See Your Instagram Story Without Following?

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  • Post last modified:3 November 2023
instagram story
Can Someone See Your Instagram Story Without Following?

Instagram is one of the biggest social media platforms that has the potential to help you connect with your friends and family. Instagram was evolved as just a photo-sharing app and now it has become a social media network where a number of people come, post, interact, and spend their time. It has over one billion active users. Now, the question here arises can someone see your Instagram story without following?

Instagram is popular for its features like uploading stories, posts, reels, etc to increase engagement and interaction on the platform. While performing all these activities on the app, it is also necessary to understand Instagram’s policies and privacy concerns. Instagram offers both private as well as public account options. By default, the accounts on Instagram are public, later on, you can change the settings and make your account private.

The visibility of your Instagram story, posts, or whatever you upload completely depends on the privacy settings of your account whether it is public or private. Let’s have a look at all the aspects and understand in detail if someone can see your Instagram story if they don’t follow you. 

What are Public Accounts?

Instagram accounts, by default, are set to public which means anyone can view your profile, posts, and stories. Public Accounts are basically suitable for businesses that aim to reach a large audience. The content we share on public accounts is accessed by anyone on Instagram, including those who don’t follow you on the platform. 

What are Private Accounts?

Instagram also offers a feature of making your account private if you want only approved followers can view your content. By setting your Instagram account to Private, you ensure greater control over your personal content which can be accessible only to a select group. It adds a layer of privacy to your account and also safeguards your content from being publicly visible. Individuals who try to follow a private account must send a request first, and then it is on the account holder to accept or reject it. 

How visibility of your Instagram Story is affected?

Being a new user of Instagram, it is natural to get curious about who sees your Instagram story. It totally depends on the factors like, account privacy settings, close friends list, etc. Let’s discuss all the factors in detail:

1. Instagram Story Privacy 

On Instagram, you can easily set the visibility of your stories. This feature on Instagram gives you control over who can see or view your content. Visibility settings on Instagram basically allow the users to customize the reach of their stories or any other posts and determine who can view them, even if they are not in their follower list. 

2. Public/Private Instagram Accounts 

Public Instagram Accounts allow everyone to view their stories, posts, reels, or whatever they upload at whatever time. 

Private Instagram Accounts have more strict visibility as compared to Public Instagram Accounts. Only approved followers can view whatever they post or share in the form of stories. If someone doesn’t follow you and your account is private, they can’t see your Instagram story unless you allow them to follow you.

3. Close Friends List 

Instagram offers a close friends list feature in which you are able to filter from your friend’s list to whoever you want your stories to show to. This will refine the visibility of your stories more than before whether your account is private or public. This feature is used when you want to share some intimate or exclusive content with the selected people. Those selected people can be added to the close friends list

4. Indirect visibility through screenshots and sharing 

Irrespective of the visibility settings, some users can even share and screenshot the content or story that they want to view on Instagram. If someone who doesn’t follow you takes a screenshot of your story after seeing it and can share it with others. 

Also, if someone from your followers, shares your story on their account, then it will be visible to those people who are not even your followers. In that case, you can hide your stories from those suspected people.

5. Blocking and restricting users

If you don’t want someone from your followers to view your stories anymore, you can block or restrict them from viewing. After blocking, they will not be able to access your account including your Instagram stories. 

If you are restricting someone from your followers, they will remain added to the list but will not be able to see your stories. With the help of this feature, you can manage your privacy settings and control who can see your story or whatever content you post. 

How to Hide Your Instagram Story From Specific Users?

If you want to know how to hide your Instagram story from specific users, you can follow these steps: 

  • Go to your Instagram profile and tap on the three horizontal lines located in the top right corner of the page.
  • From the menu that appears, select “Settings and Privacy” at the bottom left.
  • Below “Who can see your content“, tap “Hide story and live“.
  • Tap “Hide story and live from“.
  • Select the people you’d like to hide your story from. 

Read More: Steps to Recover Deleted Instagram Messages


Instagram provides various privacy settings in order to maintain the confidentiality of their user’s content. To manage the visibility of the content whether stories, posts, or reels you should go through all the options provided on Instagram and its settings. By using various options like public/private accounts, close friends list, blocking or restricting users you can set the visibility criteria and filter out the audience who can view or see your content on Instagram. 

If you have set your account to Public, anyone can see your Instagram story and if your account is Private, only your followers will be able to view your Instagram story. You can easily have control over your content like Instagram Stories by using and understanding the privacy features mentioned on Instagram. 


Can I control who sees my stories if my account is public?

Yes, if you have a public account, you can restrict who sees your stories using the Close Friends feature or by manually hiding specific users from viewing your stories.

 What is the Close Friends feature on Instagram?

The Close Friends feature allows you to create a list of select followers who can see your stories even if your account is public. You have control over who is on this list. 

What if I have a private account? Can non-followers see my stories then?

No, if you have a private account, only your approved followers can see your stories. Non-followers won’t have access to your content. 

Is it possible for someone to see my story by searching for my username?

No, Instagram stories are not discoverable by searching for a username. Users must either follow you or find your story through shared content.

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