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What Is an Instagram Handle, and Do You Already Have One?


So you’ve joined more than 1.35 billion Instagram users, but you keep hearing about this elusive thing called an “Instagram handle.” If you’re wondering what an Instagram handle is and whether you already have one, this guide will explain everything.

Spoiler alert: if you’re on Instagram, you definitely have a handle.

What Is an Instagram Handle?

Your Instagram handle (also known as your Instagram username) is a unique identifier that people use to find you on the photo- and video-sharing social networking service owned by Meta. You can think of it as the URL to your Instagram life. Often, the handle is prefaced with an “@” symbol when talked about or shared.

This unique identifier appears at the end of your Instagram profile URL, like this: https://www.instagram.com/davidmorelowrites/

It also shows up next to or above your profile picture. Here’s how it looks on desktop (left) and mobile (right).

This exclusivity makes your handle a valuable part of your digital identity. The same can’t be said about your Instagram display name, however. Multiple users can have identical display names, making them less unique but more flexible for creative expression.

The following screenshot shows a different David Morelo, with the same display name but a different handle.

Both your handle and your display name contribute to your overall Instagram persona, but they do so in distinct ways. While your handle serves as your unique identifier, your display name serves as a more casual, customizable element that can add personality to your profile.

Tip: learn how to see who shared your posts on Instagram.

Instagram Handle Examples

Now that you’re clear on what an Instagram handle is, let’s check out a few examples that illustrate the many creative ways there are to register a unique handle, even if your first choice is already taken:

  • @patcummins30: this Australian international cricketer added his ODI shirt number to his name, making it easy for fans to identify him among other Pat Cummins profiles.
  • @colormecourtney: this fashion blogger and content creator turned her love for vibrant hues into a memorable handle.
  • @natgeo: National Geographic goes for simplicity and brand recognition. Using the well-known abbreviation of their name, they make it easy for followers to find and tag them.
  • @virat.kohli: Virat Kohli, a renowned Indian cricketer, uses a straightforward approach, incorporating his full name with a dot in between.
  • @iamcardib: the American rapper adds a touch of personality with “I am,” making the handle more intimate and relatable, while still being easily identifiable as Cardi B.
  • @chrisbrownofficial: the musician adds the word “official” to distinguish himself from fan accounts and imposters.

These handles showcase that even when your preferred handle is taken, you can still get creative. Add numbers, underscores, or even a touch of your profession or interests to make your handle uniquely you.

Tip: when sharing your Instagram handle with others online or including it on your business card, make sure to always include the “@” symbol before your username. This not only makes it clear that it’s a handle but also allows for quick, clickable access when shared digitally. For example, instead of just writing “davidmorelowrites,” write it as “@davidmorelowrites.”

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How to Change Your Instagram Handle

You’re not stuck with your Instagram handle forever. If you’re going through a rebrand or just want a change, you can easily update it. Just remember, changing your handle changes the URL people use to find you, so go ahead with the change only if you’re certain and prepared for the potential impacts.

Mobile

Launch the Instagram app (Android | iOS) on your mobile device, and navigate to the Profile tab at the bottom.

Tapping the "Profile" button in Instagram app.

Tap the “Edit Profile” button.

Tapping on "Edit Profile" button in Instagram app.

Tap the “Username” field to change your Instagram handle.

Pressing on "Username" on "Edit Profile" screen on Instagram app.

Tap “Done” in the top-right corner to save the changes.

Tip: did you know you can mute someone on Instagram? We show you how to do that.

PC

Log in to your Instagram account, and navigate to the “Profile” tab.

Clicking on "Profile" button in Instagram on PC.

Click the “Edit profile” button.

Clicking "Edit profile" option on Instagram for PC.

Click the “See more in Accounts Center” option.

Clicking on "See more in Accounts Center" option in Instagram Settings on PC.

Select your Instagram account.

Selecting Instagram account in Accounts Center on PC.

Select the “Username” option, and make your change.

Clicking on "Username" in Accounts Center in Instagram on PC.

Click “Done” when finished.

FYI: if Instagram is not working for you, put these tips to work, and get back to browsing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does deleting an Instagram account make the handle available for reuse?

No, deleting your Instagram account permanently removes that handle from availability. Instagram’s policy states that a deleted account’s username cannot be used again, even by the original account owner.

How often can I change my Instagram handle?

You can change your Instagram handle as many times as you want, but keep in mind that Instagram’s algorithm may make your account harder to find in search results if you change it too frequently. But perhaps you are looking to stay hidden. If so, check our guide on how to hide your Instagram account and prevent other users from finding you.

Is there a character limit for Instagram handles?

Yes, your Instagram handle must be between 1 and 30 characters. It can only contain letters, numbers, periods, and underscores. Special characters are not allowed.

Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by David Morelo.

David Morelo
David Morelo

David Morelo is a professional content writer in the technology niche, covering everything from consumer products to emerging technologies and their cross-industry application. His interest in technology started at an early age and has only grown stronger over the years.

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