What is Instagram Username, and how to use it effectively?

Instagram has grown to be one of the most widely used social media platforms on the planet. People use the platform to express themselves through images, videos, Stories, and Reels and to share important events in their lives. 

The social media platform has been busy introducing several new features to the app, making it even more appealing. However, before you start your Instagram journey, there is one fundamental step you have to take before you join the platform. 

Perhaps this is also the most critical step since it literally helps identify you on Instagram, and that step is - you must create an Instagram username.

When creating a new Instagram profile, Instagram prompts you to choose a username. It would help if you made your Instagram username unique to stand out among the billions of users.

If you're unsure about your username, we'll help you understand the nuances of the Instagram username - how to create your username and change it from your current one to a new one.

First and foremost, let's define an Instagram username.


What is an Instagram Username in Instagram?

Instagram username is your entry and your identity on the Instagram network and is an essential ingredient to your Instagram account. 

It is used as a key (along with a password) to sign in to your Instagram account, help people locate your profile among a vast userbase, and help tag you in conversations, among other things on Instagram.

Your Instagram username is visible at the top of your profile and appears in your personalized Instagram URL, for example; 

  • https://instagram.com/username
  • www.instagram.com/yourusername

An Instagram username can contain letters, numbers, and sometimes dots and underscores if required. It must be 30 characters or less, as far as length is concerned. However, not many people/brands have such lengthy usernames.

How to create an Instagram username?

An Instagram username is created when you sign-up for a new Instagram account.

The process is simple - 

Open Instagram App or Instagram web and click/tap on the sign-up button in blue. The registration process is simple and self-explanatory. You just have to fill in details about yourself or your company if opting for a business account. 

You can choose your username, provided it is available, or go with the auto-suggested one from Instagram. 

Although this can be a nightmare for a few, when on other social media platforms where a username is usually fixed when creating an account, Instagram is one of few exceptions that provide you with the option to change your username. 

Also, remember that your Instagram username is different from your name or display name on Instagram. So choose accordingly. 

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

When displaying names and usernames on Instagram, although they may sound the same to the average folk, they have different uses altogether.

In Instagram, the display name is your name, which is displayed on your profile page, near your avatar or display picture.

On the other hand, a username works as your Instagram handle, often used to determine your Instagram profile's address.

Display name on Instagram need not be unique, and it can be defined as a combination of letters, special characters, and emojis. In contrast, an Instagram username is unique and cannot be the same for two people.

Also use of special characters is quite limited, and emojis are not permitted in Instagram usernames. But in the display name, users often put their creativity into defining their names.

What can you do if your Instagram name is already taken?

Finding a good username representing you or your business is a pain, especially when your chosen username is already taken.

Although, in this situation, you can't do much except wait for the username to be available unless you go creative!

If your Instagram username is not available or already taken, you can try the following things;

  1. Start your Instagram username with @official or @weare or @iam or @thisis or @real etc.
  2. Be creative with the use of numbers along with letters or use of underscore (_).
  3. If you have a brand, you can try creating multiple accounts according to a different country or use the country name in the end to differentiate your Instagram username.

A perfect Instagram username is a great asset. But when it is not available, be creative.

Also, create traction for your username so that people can know it's you and not someone else.

How do I change/alter my Instagram username on Instagram?

Changing your Instagram username is simple and quick on both the.com desktop version of Instagram and the mobile apps, whether you've truly changed your name or just fancy something else for a bit.

You can change/alter your username on Instagram by following the below steps;

  1. Open Instagram web at Instagram.com or Instagram App and login into your account.
  2. Once logged in, click/tap on your display picture in the circle at the top-right / bottom-right corner of the page to open your Instagram profile page.
  3. On your Instagram profile page, click/tap on the 'Edit Profile' button to open the profile editing section.
  4. In the 'Username' section, enter another username of your choice and click/tap on the 'Submit' button/tick mark to save your new username, and your Instagram username is now changed.

How can I use my old Instagram username on Instagram?

In order to use your old username on Instagram, you must get back your old username.

Usually, you can change your Instagram username back to your old username, subject to;

  • Your old username has not been taken by any new person on Instagram.
  • Your old username hasn't been recently removed from an active Instagram account that you don't own.

If your username is seen by many people, username change may be subject to review by Instagram and will be changed only when the review process is completed.

The username change will happen immediately if your Instagram account is limited to a few people.

How do I get my old Instagram Username or email address used with the Instagram account?

You can easily find your old Instagram username or email address. Just follow the below steps;

  1. Open the Instagram website at Instagram.com and login into your account.
  2. Click on your display picture in the circle to open the drop-down menu and select 'Settings' to open the settings page.
  3. On the settings page, click on 'Privacy and Security' from the left-side menu options.
  4. In the 'Privacy and Security' section, scroll down to 'Account Data' and click on 'View Account Data' to see your account details.
  5. Scroll down to 'Profile Info,' where you will find all former usernames, along with email addresses and phone numbers used in your Instagram account.

The above process can thus also help you identify all the previous credentials used to login into your Instagram account.

How to find my old Instagram username on Instagram App?

Instagram usernames are also part of your login information on Instagram, and sometimes you may want to know about your previous usernames used on Instagram.

Fortunately, finding your old Instagram username on Instagram is not difficult.

To find your old Instagram username, follow the below-mentioned process;

  1. Open Instagram App and login into your account.
  2. Tap on your display picture in the circle to open your profile page.
  3. Next, tap on the drop-down menu shown as three vertical lines on the top-right corner of the screen, and then scroll down at the bottom to open the 'Settings' page.
  4. On the settings page, tap on the 'Security' option.
  5. Next, tap on 'Access Data' and scroll down to 'Profile Info'. All your former Instagram usernames will be listed here.

Can I hide my old Instagram username on Instagram?

Often, there may be a situation when you have just updated your Instagram username to a more defining or professional-looking username to boost your Instagram profile.

One problem is that your old username is still visible on your older Instagram posts. How to fix it?

Well, although you can easily hide your old username by changing to a new username. However, if your old username is still showing, it is usually because it is in cache memory and will gradually change to your new username with time.

In some instances, the old username may be visible for longer, especially if it's a business account and you do a lot of advertising.

The quick fix is to switch to a new account altogether. But this is not a practical solution.

You can best give it time and let the Instagram algorithm replace your old username with the new one on your older posts.

Another helpful thing you can do is publicly post about the change in your username.

This is to let your followers know about the new username so that people following you will not get confused about your updated Instagram username and will mention your new username in the Instagram posts henceforth.


The Instagram username is the most critical element of your Instagram account as it is how the world will find you. Therefore choosing an adept username is as fundamental as your account itself.

A perfect Instagram username may not exist, which is not essential. Finding the right Instagram username that defines you based on your personality and brand value is what is required.