Deleting your Facebook account may take more time and effort than you expect. 


Angela Lang

Some see Facebook as a welcome way to stay in touch with relatives and friends across the world, and interact with groups of people with similar interests. Other see a darker side filled with political fighting, privacy oversteps and rampant misinformation. Others still may just crave a break.

Whatever your reason, we’ll show you how to delete every trace of your Facebook account. It’s important to note that there’s a difference between deleting your Facebook account and deactivating it. Deleting Facebook also severs ties to Facebook Messenger, the social platform’s chat app. If you want to also delete Instagram and WhatsApp, which are Facebook properties, you’ll need to do that separately.

Deactivating your Facebook account temporarily freezes it, which is useful if you want a brief hiatus. But that does nothing to stop the company from tracking your online activity. In order to fully cut ties with Facebook, deleting your account is the only answer. It’s a process that takes some time and patience. Below are the steps you’ll need to follow, as well as some factors you’ll need to take into account prior to going through with it. This story updates periodically with new information.


It may sound obvious, but start by deleting Facebook from your phone. 


Jason Cipriani

Delete the Facebook app from your phone

The first step is to delete the app from your smartphone or tablet. Remember that deleting the Facebook app doesn’t delete your account — you can still access it from the browser and other apps might still use Facebook as a login. 

Removing the icon from your phone gets it out of sight and mind, but it doesn’t do anything to your Facebook account overall. You’ll need to make sure you do all these other steps or Facebook can still track your online activity. 


There are plenty of messaging alternatives you can use to keep in touch with your Messenger friends. 


C├ęsar Salza

Choose any social platform and messaging alternatives

Remember, when you delete your Facebook account, your access to Messenger goes with it. Meaning, you’ll need to reach out to those you frequently talk to on Messenger and figure out another app or service to stay in touch. 

Take the same approach with your Facebook friends in general. Post a status a few days before you plan on deleting your account, and ask that anyone who wants to keep in touch send a message with their contact info.


Don’t lose access to apps and services you use Facebook to log into. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Important: Don’t forget about additional Facebook logins 

Third-party developers, such as Spotify and DoorDash, have long offered to use your Facebook account as a means to sign up and log into their services. It’s super convenient because it keeps you from having to remember yet another password. That is, until you don’t have a Facebook account anymore.

You’ll need to address those outside accounts that rely on your Facebook info by logging into each account and disconnecting it from your Facebook account. 

To find a list of apps linked to your Facebook account:

  • Sign into Facebook
  • Go to Settings > Apps and websites
  • If you’re having trouble figuring out how to unlink your Facebook account from a service, contact the company’s customer service department for help.


Download all of your Facebook data before doing anything else. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Once that’s done, request and download a copy of all your Facebook data by following these steps: 

  • Log into Facebook on your computer
  • Go to Settings > Your Facebook Information
  • Click View next to Download Your Information
  • Leave all of the boxes checked under the Your Information section
  • Leave the date range to All of my data.
  • Leave the format set to HTML — doing so puts your data in an easy-to-navigate format. 
  • In order to save high-resolution copies of photos and videos you’ve posted to Facebook, change the Media Quality drop-down from Medium to High. 

Finally, click Create File. Facebook will then gather all of your information and send you an email when it’s ready to be downloaded. It can take some time for this to happen — it’s not an instant process. 


Read through Facebook’s final advice before deleting your account. 


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Now you can delete your Facebook account

The final step is to delete your account. To do so, visit this page and sign in. 

Facebook will give you a list of tasks and things to consider before deleting your account. For example, you’ll be advised to download all of your information, or if you’re the sole admin of a Facebook Page, you’ll be asked to grant another account admin privileges, otherwise, the page will be deleted alongside your account. 

Alright, you ready? Click Delete Account, enter your password and click Continue. Finally, click Delete Account again and you’re done.

You have 30 days to change your mind about Facebook

Facebook will take up to 90 days to delete all of your account data from its servers. For the first 30 days of that, you can still sign in and cancel your deletion request. Your account will be restored and it’ll be like you never left. For better or worse.

To cancel your deletion request, visit Facebook.com, log into your account, and click the Cancel Deletion button.

And if you need any help with the emotional side of the breakup, here are some more tips to ease the pain of Facebook separation.