How to Deactivate Your Facebook Account

How to Deactivate Your Facebook Account

Ever think about putting your Facebook account pause? Perhaps spending time on Facebook makes you feel anxious or stressed. Or maybe you’d like some time back in your life and simply want to spend less time online.

Deactivating puts your account on hold and hides your timeline on the site. Facebook doesn’t delete any of your information just in case you want to come back into the fold. It’s an easy way to take a break from Facebook and then later switch the lights back on. Once you do, everything comes back – your friends, your likes, previous posts and anything else you did at the site.

You should know, however, deactivating your account does not remove your name from your friends’ lists of friends. If it bothers you that your friends might wonder why they’re not seeing your posts, but can still see you as a friend, it might make sense to let them know you’re leaving the network for a while.

Facebook screenshot the Deactivating or Deleting Your Facebook Account page showing the option to Deactivate Account or Delete Account with the Deactivate Account radio button selected

Deactivating Your Facebook Account

On your computer

  1. On, select your profile icon in the upper right corner.
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ and then ‘Settings.’
  3. Click on the ‘Meta Accounts Center‘ box.
  4. Select ‘Personal details.’
  5. Select ‘Account ownership and control.’
  6. Select ‘Deactivation or deletion.’
  7. Select your account.
  8. Select ‘Deactivate your account’ and select ‘Continue.’ You’ll be asked enter your password and then click on ‘Continue‘ and follow the prompts to complete the process.

On your phone

  1. Open the Facebook app.
  2. Tap your profile icon in the lower right corner.
  3. Select Settings (cog icon) in the upper right corner.
  4. Select ‘Meta Accounts Center.’
    Facebook app menu screenshots with Menu page on the left with the Settings cog icon pointed out. On the right, you see the Settings & privacy screen with Meta Accounts Center circled.
  5. Select ‘Personal details.’
  6. Select ‘Account ownership and control.’
  7. Select ‘Deactivation or deletion.’
  8. Select your account.
  9. Select ‘Deactivate your account’ and select ‘Continue.’ You’ll be asked enter your password and then click on ‘Continue‘ and follow the prompts to complete the process.
    Facebook Account ownership and control screenshot on the left showing the option: Deactivation or deletion. On the right is the Deactivating or deleting your Facebook account screen with the Deactivate account option selected.

Keep in mind that messages you’ve sent to other people or posts you’ve shared with groups remain on Facebook even after you deactivate your account.

Download Your Facebook Data

When you deactivate your Facebook account, you’re leaving all of your data behind. So it’s a good time to find out exactly what information Facebook has stored about you and your activities. You can browse through it by going to the Facebook Your Information page. If you decide you want to download a copy, it’s easy to do. 

There are two tools. The ‘Download your information‘ tool lets you pick and choose which items to download and delivers them to you as a zip file. Check out our step-by-step instructions in How to Download Your Pictures, Posts and Other Data from Facebook. Or, if you just want photos and videos, you can use the more convenient transfer tool to export a copy to Google Photos, Dropbox, or a few other cloud storage services. Find out the details in our story How to Export Your Facebook Photos and Videos to Cloud Storage.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: If you can no longer access your Facebook account because you don’t remember the login, read our article on How to Delete an Old Facebook Account When You Can’t Log In]

[Image credit: screenshots via Techlicious, phone image via Canva]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.

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