How to delete your Twitter account (and back up your tweets)

Ready to delete your Twitter account? Here’s how. But you’d better back up your tweets first.

The idea of leaving Twitter may not be as popular as #DeleteFacebook, but still, some people want to leave the microblogging service for good. In addition to any other reasons users might have, Twitter has recently been accused of being indifferent to accounts spreading fake news and propaganda, as well as not doing enough to prevent cryptoscams.

Leaving any service by just abandoning your account is a bad idea — if somebody hacks it and takes control of it, they can start spreading scams and fake news in your name, as well as write nasty things to your friends. That’s why if you really want to leave a service, the best way to do so is to delete your account completely.

In this post we’ll cover how exactly to dump Twitter, but before we get to that part, let’s discuss backing up your information. Perhaps you want to leave the service but keep the memories. Twitter allows you to do that, at least in part. Unfortunately, there is no option to back up tweets you liked from other users, or the list of people you followed, or any other lists you have created — nothing but your own tweets and retweets.

How to back up your tweets on Twitter

For some reason, Twitter makes you use the Web interface to request a copy of your tweets. You can’t use the app. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to twitter.com and log in to your account.
  • Click on your profile avatar in the top right corner, and in the drop-down menu select Settings and privacy.
  • From the menu on the left, select Account (by default, settings open to that page), scroll down, and click the Request your archive button, which you’ll find by “Your Tweet archive.”

Twitter will then create a ZIP archive containing all of your tweets (including tweets by other people that you retweeted) and send it to you at the e-mail address on file for you. That may take several minutes, maybe a little more.

When you receive the e-mail and extract the attached archive, you’ll see a file named index.html. Clicking on it will open an offline Web page with a list of your tweets sorted by month. The page also includes a graph of your Twitter activity. Clicking on the columns in the graph lets you switch between months and see all of your tweets from that month.

How to permanently delete your Twitter account

Formally, Twitter does not allow you to delete your account, but you can deactivate it. Twitter won’t delete your data from its servers and will continue to use your data for any purpose stated in the user agreement. What you’re doing here is making your account unreachable on twitter.com; nobody outside the company (including you) will be able to see it.

You can deactivate your Twitter account using either the Web interface or Twitter apps for Android or iPhone/iPad. For this, at least, you are allowed to use the app.

Deactivating a Twitter account using Twitter app for Android or iOS

  • In the top left corner of the Twitter app tap on your profile avatar.
  • In the menu select Settings and privacy.
  • Select Account.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and tap Deactivate your account.
  • Below the text tap Deactivate.
  • Enter your password and tap Deactivate.
  • Tap Yes, deactivate. Woosh, that’s it (yes, Twitter takes a lot of precautions to prevent accidental account deletion).

Deactivating Twitter account using the Web interface

  • Go to twitter.com and log in to your account.
  • In the top right corner, click on your profile avatar and choose Settings and privacy.
  • In the menu on the left, select Account, scroll to the bottom, and click Deactivate your account.
  • Twitter will show you a warning screen with quite a bit of text, under which there’s a Deactivate button. Click it.
  • In the pop-up window, enter your Twitter password and press Deactivate account.

After these machinations, your account will be deactivated — inaccessible on twitter.com or through Twitter mobile apps unless you reactivate it. It’s also noteworthy that Twitter explicitly states that some data on your profile and your tweets may still be available through search engines — some of your tweets are indexed by Google and its kin, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

How to restore your Twitter account

Note that after deactivating your account you can reactivate it by simply visiting twitter.com and logging in with your old login and password. That can also be done by logging in again in the mobile app. Twitter allows that for 30 days. After 30 days, you can consider your account permanently deleted; nobody — not even you — will be able to restore and use it.

Tips