Twitter was once a convenient way to get your memes, world news, and pop culture hot takes all in one place. However, being an active Twitter user also required sifting through a daily deluge of toxic characters, including QAnon, white supremacists, bots, and deepfakes. The Elon Musk circus that has been steadily crushing the formerly popular social network may have you strongly considering the advantages of bailing. And there are a bunch of new social networks vying for the role of Twitter substitute, such as Threads, Bluesky, and Mastodon. (More on that later.)
Hear me out on this: you don’t actually have to use Twitter. You can just delete your account.
Don’t worry: it doesn’t have to be permanent. If you find yourself feeling empty and directionless after doing this — or if you can’t stand not knowing what’s going on with the new management — you can get your account back up to 30 days after the fact. And if it ever gets to be too much again, just come back to this article and follow the steps. There’s a whole world outside of your timeline to explore.
Deactivate your Twitter account in a browser
If you’re on a computer or in a mobile browser, go to Twitter.com and log in to your account. To deactivate:
- On the web, click the More item in the bottom left of the screen. On the mobile browser, tap your profile icon.
- Select Settings and Support > Settings and privacy and then Your account.
- At the bottom of the list, tap Deactivate your account.
- Go to the bottom of the page to find the Deactivate link.
There’s going to be a lot of information on the page before you get to that link, some of which is pretty useful. There’s a full description of what will no longer be viewable (your display name, @username, and public profile), an assurance that you can restore your account “for some time” if it was accidentally or wrongfully deleted, and a way to reactivate after 30 days (useful if you’re being besieged and want to take a vacation from Twitter rather than delete your account entirely).
There are also links if you just want to change your username, use your current name or email address with a different account, or download your Twitter data. This last one is always a good idea before you delete any account; here’s the link.
Deactivate your Twitter account in the Twitter app
If you’re using a smartphone, go to the Twitter app and make sure you’re logged in.
- Tap your profile icon in the top-left corner. A menu will pop out from the side. Tap Settings & Support > Settings and privacy on the bottom.
- Tap Your account at the top. On the Your account page, select Deactivate account at the bottom. You’ll get the same informational page, and you can then tap the Deactivate button at the bottom.
A few things to note:
- To reiterate: your account won’t be permanently gone after this process. Twitter retains your information for 30 days before deleting it permanently. To restore your account, log back in and confirm that you want to reactivate your account.
- If you plan to create a new Twitter account with the same username and email address as the account you’re deactivating, switch the current account to a different username and email address before you deactivate.
- If you want to download your Twitter data, do that before deactivating. Twitter can’t send data from inactive accounts.
- Google and other search engines cache results, meaning your old profile and tweets may still pop up in response to search queries on occasion. However, anyone who clicks them will get an error message.
But where will I get my news and memes now?
So Twitter is gone from your life. Congratulations! But what will you do now that you don’t have a never-ending barrage of tweets to scroll through? Here are some other things to try with your newfound free time. (And keep an eye open — there may be even more showing up in the future.)
- Other social networks. A whole load of new social networks has been popping up, including Threads, Instagram’s version of Twitter; Bluesky, which was originally a Twitter-funded project; and Mastodon, a decentralized social network where you can choose which “instance” you want to belong to. We’ve got a long list of the latest contenders here.
- Newspapers. This might shock you, but plenty of media companies still sell physical newspapers and magazines. You can pick them up at newsstands, bookstores, and coffee shops and even have them delivered right to your mailbox if you buy a subscription. Rather than being bombarded all day, you’ll get your news in a digestible chunk each morning. The best part: you’ll look cool and sophisticated to everyone around you.
- Just go to The Verge. Don’t worry. We’re always here for you.
Update July 6th, 2023, 11:45AM ET: This article was originally published on February 25th, 2020, and has been updated to account for interface changes, new social networks, and current events.