New Alpha Released A new version of Tech Lockdown has entered early access.

How to Block Instagram Completely

Learn how to Block both the Instagram app and website on Smartphones and Computers

techlockdown logo
Tech Lockdown Team
Updated April 1, 2024

Are you considering a break from Instagram or even thinking about leaving it for good? You're not alone. Many users find themselves in a cycle of deleting and reinstalling the app, searching for a more permanent solution to minimize distractions or reclaim their time. Instead, consider going beyond uninstalling the app and block Instagram entirely.

In this guide, we'll walk through several effective strategies to block Instagram entirely on your devices. Since Instagram is most commonly available on smartphones, we'll start there. However, we will also discuss more comprehensive solutions, and show you how to block Instagram across your entire home's Wi-Fi.

Schedule When You Can Use Instagram

Perhaps you don't want to block the app entirely - but you still want to reduce how much you use the app. You can create a scheduled DNS Content Policy for Instagram that blocks the app during the middle of the night or during productive hours.

You can do this in a couple of ways, the simplest of which is to use built-in parental controls to set an App Limit or Downtime for the app. While this is a good start, it's too easy to disable.

Instead, I recommend customizing a DNS Content Policy to schedule when Instagram and general distracting apps can be accessed. For example, I create a scheduled block rule for news and social media, only allowing access to them during lunch hours.

You could take this a step further with a block rule to automatically turn of the internet at night .

A scheduled rule is more effective than using screen time on your phone. It blocks the Instagram app at the network level, meaning that both the Instagram app and website will be completely disabled when you've scheduled the app to be blocked.

Content Policy rules can work on smartphones, computers, and even your entire Wi-Fi network if you connect your router to your DNS Content Policy. This means that you can schedule Instagram usage on any device that you access the internet.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Set an App Time Limit for Instagram

One problem some people might run into if they use a scheduled rule to block Instagram is that they will try to "maximize" their time spent during their allowed hours. In the end, they could still be spending the same amount of time on the app all at once, instead of actually reducing their time.

Most Instagram users are on their smartphones, which means that they can use screen time features that come built into their smartphones. These are called App Limits.

For example, Screen Time settings on iPhones can be used to create a time limit for Instagram easily. 

Android users can use their Digital Wellbeing settings to do the same thing.

An important note, screen time settings are very easy to bypass. On iPhones, you can simply request more time for yourself:

Even if you've set a Passcode, it's easy to memorize a four-digit number and just disable screen time.

That's why we recommend including screen time settings as a part of your full blocking system  alongside DNS Filtering. We encourage our users to use several layers of filtering, starting from DNS filtering down to blocking techniques that are unique to each device.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Block the Instagram App and Website Completely

The obvious way to prevent yourself from opening the Instagram app is to uninstall it. However, what if you want to prevent yourself from ever installing it again? And even better, can you block the website as well?

Block Instagram with a DNS Content Policy Block Rule

The most comprehensive way to block Instagram is using a DNS filter. A DNS filter can block Instagram more comprehensively so that both the app and website are blocked.

This allows you to:

  1. Block Instagram on iPhone, Android, Windows, and Mac
  2. Block the Instagram website in mobile and desktop web browsers

We've already mentioned that you can create a scheduled policy to unblock Instagram outside of productive hours. It's even easier to create a block policy that won't allow Instagram to be accessed at all.

Another advantage of using a DNS Filter to block Instagram is that you can install this on all types of devices:

  1. Home Router / Home Wifi. Schedule when Instagram can be accessed on all devices using your home internet connection.
  2. Smartphone App. You can block Instagram on your smartphone by downloading an app that ensures your schedule is still enforced even when your WiFi is off and you are using 4g/5g internet.
  3. Computer Application. Similar to the smartphone, Windows and Mac computers can install a program that keeps you always connected to your Content Policy .

When dealing with addictive habits, bypass prevention is an important point to consider. Otherwise, you'll simply develop a habit of compulsively modifying your Content Policy to turn off your Instagram block rule.

To keep myself from adjusting my Content Policy rule schedule, I lock my Tech Lockdown profile .

This ensures that I stick with my goal to stay off Instagram.

Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Get Powerful DNS Filtering
Create and enforce a Content Policy on all your devices.

Block Instagram on your Computer

If you want to block Instagram on your computer, the most effective way to do this is with the same DNS filter you are using to also block Instagram on your smartphone. 

However, we suggest combining multiple blocking methods together for a better blocking system. Windows and Mac computers can block Instagram in these additional ways:

  1. Hosts file
  2. Browser extensions
  3. Screen Time (Mac)

For example, Windows and Mac computers can block websites using the hosts file by adding these entries:

The Hosts file isn't the best option by itself, but when combined with a DNS filter, it can act as a backup filtering option.

Block Instagram on your Smartphone

Using the iPhone's built-in parental controls  or Android apps that block content are the most well-known ways to block instagram on smartphones.

For example, Screen Time lets you set a website blocklist, which you could use to block

You could also use the Allowed Apps section to toggle off instagram:

There are a few downsides to this approach:

  1. Instagram has to already be installed
  2. You have to disable the app store to prevent Instagram from being installed
  3. This approach is relatively easy to bypass

A more effective way to block apps on Android and iOS is to use the device management strategy we discuss frequently. With this approach, you can create app blocklists and prevent Instagram from being installed without disabling the entire app store.

Device management is the most effective way to block apps on your smartphone. It allows you to enable features normally inaccessible to standard smartphone devices:

  • Create and enforce an app blocklist.
  • Force a Content filtering app to be always enabled.
  • Disable default apps, like Settings or the App Store.
  • Make changes to your smartphone remotely.
Manage Android and iOS Devices at Home
Manage Android and iOS Devices at Home
Go further with blocking content and preventing bypass on iPhone and Android smartphones.

Going Further with Bypass Prevention

When it comes to dealing with addictive content online and the subsequent bad habits, I've found that a multi-layered approach is essential. Crafting effective blocking systems is what we focus on at Tech Lockdown.

However, you might need to go further in some cases with more of a focus on bypass prevention.

Here's what I mean by that. For smartphones:

  1. Parental controls that come with a device are fairly easy to bypass, especially if you are self-managing.
  2. Some people are highly motivated to get around blockers to access addictive content.

In order to add significant friction to help break compulsive behaviors, I've written a definitive guide that goes through concepts like the following:

  1. Go much further than parental controls with device management techniques to enforce restrictions on a device.
  2. Increasing accountability and browsing transparency
  3. Preventing uninstall of apps and browsers extensions
  4. Handling common bypass methods

These step-by-step instructions are made available to Tech Lockdown members in your account dashboard in the guides section.