Follow Request on Instagram Canceled: What Others Know?

Here’s what the other user knows if you cancel an Instagram follow request you sent by mistake:

If the request is canceled before the other person checks their account, they should not know that anything happened, and they should not see a request.

If they have push notifications on their phone, they might see a notification even if they cancel.

If you’re slow, they’ll see the request and know everything.

So if you want to learn all about what happens when you cancel an Instagram follow request, then this article is for you.

Let’s jump right into it!

Canceled Instagram Follow Request: Other User Knows?

What Is an Instagram Follow?

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If you’re a big-time Instagram user, you can breeze through some of this background information.

Skip down to where I talk about what people know when you cancel a follow request.

But if you’re not so familiar with Instagram, let’s take a moment to learn a few essentials.

Since Instagram is a social media platform, it includes a way for you to connect with people and easily see what they’re posting.

With Instagram, this is done through the follow mechanic.

You can follow other users, and they can follow you.

When that is the case, you will see each others’ posts and have an easier time keeping up with each other via the app.

That’s really the whole point.

There’s also the issue of engagement metrics.

If you’re trying to use Instagram in a professional manner (like through social media influencing or with a business page), then follows are an important aspect of engagement. 

To keep this simple, having more follows is good for being popular on the app.

How Does Instagram Follow Work?

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When it comes to actually following people on Instagram, it’s pretty easy.

Go to whatever account you’re interested in, and then hit the follow button. That’s it.

Well, that’s sometimes all there is to it.

You see, Instagram actually has two kinds of accounts: public and private.

If you hit the follow button on a public account, then you will follow that account.

No extra steps are necessary.

If you try to follow a private account, then it will actually send a request to that user.

They’ll get a notification saying that you want to follow them, and then they can either approve or decline that request.

It’s a feature that allows people with private accounts a little more control over who can and cannot see their posts.

This, by the way, works in both directions.

If you have a private account, then people will have to request permission to follow you.

You will get notifications, and you can approve or decline as you see fit.

The important thing to understand about all of this is that when you hit “follow” on a private account, that sets an automated response in motion with the Instagram servers.

That response culminates with Instagram sending the other person a notification about your follow request. 

That’s going to be a crucial point of the rest of this conversation.

What About Canceling an Instagram Follow Request?

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Now you know how to follow someone.

What happens when you cancel a follow request?

How does that work?

Well, when you send a follow request, you will see that the request was sent while it is pending.

The button that says “follow” will change to “requested.”

You can click or tap on that button, and you will see two options: unfollow and cancel.

You can hit unfollow if you followed accidentally or change your mind.

It’s a pretty easy thing to find and do.

If you hit the unfollow button, then that will send a signal to the Instagram servers, and the servers will delete the original request.

We’ll get into what this looks like on the other end in the following sections.

First, it’s important to emphasize the basics here.

You can only cancel a follow request in this way after you make the request and before it is approved or declined by the other user.

Otherwise, instead of seeing “requested,” you will see “following.”

You can still unfollow through the same set of steps, but you’re no longer canceling the follow request.

Your follow was approved at this point.

Interesting enough, you will see the “follow” button come back at some point if your request was denied.

If You Cancel an Instagram Follow Request, What Does the Other User Know? (3 Things)

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Finally, we can get to the crux of this whole thing.

You know how follow requests work.

You know how canceling them works.

If you follow someone and then cancel the request, what does the other person see?

That depends on a few different things, so I’ll take you through each of the possibilities in detail.

#1 If They Look for the First Time After You Cancel

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When you cancel a follow request, the idea is that the Instagram servers are erasing that request.

In that case, the other person should not be able to see your request.

They should see nothing at all.

That’s what happens when everything goes according to plan.

Keep in mind that there are exceptions to this, and we’ll be talking about all of the ways that things can get weird.

But, if you’re able to cancel the request before they see it, then they shouldn’t see anything at all.

The Notification

The problem is that tricky follow request notification.

As you know, when you send a follow request, the other user gets a notification.

In theory, if you cancel the request before they see the notification, it will go away, but sometimes, notifications don’t clear as intended.

Really, this depends on how they get the notification.

If you sign into Instagram on the website, you’ll see your notifications on the list of options on the left side of the screen.

Those notifications include any follow requests.

If someone sends you a follow request and then cancels it, the notification will disappear from this list.

That’s because this is controlled exclusively by Instagram, and everything works nicely.

But, what if you get push notifications on your phone?

You use Instagram a lot, so you allow your phone to show you Instagram notifications even when the screen is locked.

In this case, Instagram is sending notifications to your phone, and your phone is now forwarding them to you.

There’s an extra step in the process, and that’s where things get muddied.

If you follow someone and cancel the request before they see it, there still might be a notification on their phone.

In this case, the phone will say that there is a request on Instagram.

How much is in that notification depends on the software on the phone.

Some phones will say that you have new notifications on Instagram.

Others will push more information and tell you exactly who requested to follow you.

It really depends.

So, they might tap on the message and open Instagram.

When they do, the follow request won’t be there.

Basically, they get a ghost notification.

The long story made short is that the notification might tell them about your request even if you cancel right away. 

But, there’s still more to discuss.

#2 If They See the Request Before You Cancel

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If they see the request before you cancel it, then there’s not much to say.

They saw the request.

They know everything.

Whether or not this happens is kind of a numbers game.

How long did it take you to cancel?

How often are they on Instagram?

How many followers do they have?

If they rarely check Instagram, they may not have seen your request.

Even if they’re on all the time, if they are busy enough on the app, they might not see it.

But, given enough time, it’s virtually inevitable that they will see your request.

If you’re trying to prevent that, the key is to cancel the request as fast as possible.

#3 If You Cancel Immediately

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There’s one other scenario to consider. 

You see, there is a bit of lag time that exists after you make a request with Instagram.

Let’s say you’re using the phone app.

You’re scrolling, and you accidentally tap on “follow.”

That sends a signal to the Instagram servers that you want to follow an account.

The servers then process that information and send your follow request to the user.

As fast as computers can be, this doesn’t happen instantaneously.

In fact, Instagram handles an absolutely insane amount of internet traffic, and on a regular basis, various requests get stalled while they wait in line to be handled by the servers.

Because of this, it can take anywhere from a few seconds to 15 minutes for the servers to actually process your request and send the notification.

That, dear friend, is a window of opportunity.

If you cancel the request before it is processed, then no notification will ever be sent.

The Instagram servers will receive a request to cancel the follow notification before the follow request gets there.

The servers are sophisticated and know what to do with that information, so when the follow request finally gets there, it’s automatically canceled.

There is, however, a catch.

The cancel request can also get stuck waiting in line to be processed, and you have absolutely no control over how quickly any specific request is processed.

Canceling immediately is your best bet to avoid any notifications, but there are no guarantees.

If the cancel request has to wait for 15 minutes and the original follow request goes through quickly, you’re out of luck, and the previous sections apply.