How The Instagram Followers And Followings List Are Ordered

In this article, you will learn how the Instagram Followers and Following list are ordered. What does sort by default mean on Instagram following list? And How to sort your Following list?
Timothy Iyekowa
Timothy Iyekowa - Writer & Editor
16 Min Read

Instagram’s order of Followers and Following list may be intrigued by the algorithm, which defines many things. And they are different factors that determine the order and how the list is sorted differently.

You may be confused about how the two lists are ordered and how you can find out what’s coming first and last. Because Instagram is not clear or even states anywhere how it arranges the Followers and following list. This is done with their algorithm, which changes things now and then.

In this article, you will learn how the Instagram Followers and Following lists are ordered. What does sort by default mean on the Instagram following list? And How to sort your Following list? In case you want to see the newest or oldest following.

How your followers’ list is ordered

Instagram orders your Followers list with the account that just recently followed you at the top.

After Instagram started using its algorithm to determine the account that will show on your Followers list, certain factors are meant for accounts to be displayed. So we did a test on this one.

We experimented to see how Instagram ordered the Following and Followers list, and the option to sort as well.

Instagram has been known for confusing its users, yeah, you heard that right. With no straightforward information that tells us how the list works.

But we have a solution for that on what you see when you look at your Instagram Followings and Followers list. Remember, there is no specific order for these lists.

Account With Less Than 200

Accounts with less than 200 followers are organised in a different order, instead.

We check this out on the @techvocast Instagram page, and from the Activity, section will look at the last few people who have followed us.

When we checked our Followers list we saw that the accounts who have followed us last appear first at the top of the page.

As you can see from the image below. This is different if you are looking at someone else Followers list, we will explain this in the next heading.

How your followers list is ordered

For others, with a Follower of 200 or fewer, the list will be arranged in alphabetical order according to the profile name, and not by their username (some accounts).

If there is no name, the account is at the top of the list.

When I check my profile on the app for the people that have followed me you will see it is organised in alphabetical order.

With most accounts, this appears so, but also different in other cases. It is based on algorithms.

How your followers list is ordered another account

Accounts With More Than 200

For accounts with more than 200 followers, the list will be arranged by the Instagram algorithm based on different factors.

If you have a mutual connection with an account, you will see them at the top.

The account you interact with, and the ones you share interests with.

Three factors determine who shows up on your Followers list relationship, relevance, and recent interactions.

The key fact here is that Instagram doesn’t follow one rule to order your Followers list on your account.

The photo-sharing app may take a different approach for different accounts.

How someone’s else followers list is ordered

It’s quite different if you are looking at someone else Followers from your account.

What you will see is quite different from what others or the person might see in their Followers list.

If you are looking at someone else Followers list, what you will see is the account you have a mutual connection with.

The account you have liked their post, message, and most recent interaction.

From the image below, I used my account to look at the Followers on Techvocast, and you will see it is different.

The Followers list shows accounts with whom I have had the most interaction recently (the account I follow first, before others).

The algorithm shows this based on my recent activity. It shows the people I follow first

How someone’s else followers list is ordered

How the Instagram followers ordering algorithm works

The Instagram algorithm works differently for all accounts, as the photo-sharing app doesn’t explain how the Followers algorithm works.

We did our work to find out how the Instagram algorithm determines what to show on the Followers list and how they are ordered.

Different factors consider the ordered list.

Accounts that interact with your post

If an account interacts with your post and visits your profile, they will be at the top (for some users).

Your followers who like your posts or comments are more likely to be at the top of your list of followers. These users are interested in your content.

Accounts you interact with

If you have Followers that you interact with mostly their account may also appear at the top.

This is not the case if you aren’t actively using the account, and Instagram may just use any factors.

But if you use your account well it’s the account you interact with: commenting, DMs, and replying to their comments.

Accounts with a shared interest

For some users, accounts with certain shared interests may be available at the top of your list.

These changes are because of the algorithm, so it is difficult to say which factors they use for all accounts.

If they follow similar brands or businesses on Instagram, they may likely be at the top.

Accounts you are interested in

If a user just follows you and you keep checking their account to see their account and what they do over time.

Their profile may appear at the top of your list. This factor is also shown to users, but not the most.

Accounts you follow

If you follow an account or have a certain mutual connection, their account may appear at the top of the list.

This happens for some users, two or more accounts will be at the top if you have any. And it is the most recent that followed you.

How your Instagram following list is ordered

The Instagram Following list is ordered simply though, and you can easily tell.

The following list shows accounts based on mutual interaction:

If you like the user posts often, accounts that followed you too and like your posts, made comments on each other’s posts, DM each other, tag each other, visit their profile often, etc.

How your following list is ordered

This is random and different for accounts, but the interaction factors remain, and it is the best way to know the account you most actively interact with.

People that you follow and have the most interaction with appear at the top.

How someone else following the list is ordered

If you look at someone else’s Instagram following list order, you will see the ordered list is different when compared to the original account following.

Instead of the following being based on the user’s mutual interaction with its following.

It will be based on your mutual interaction with the person following the account (the accounts you are following).

We looked up the @techvocast Following list with another account, and the following list is based on my mutual interaction with the account that Techvocast follows.

Here is the image, it shows the account I follow that Techvocast followed.

How Someone else following list is ordered

Instagram following categories

If you have updated your Instagram app, you can see categories at the top.

Which is based on the accounts that you most interact with and show up in your feed and the least accounts you interacted with.

Instagram following categories
Using a web browser to check followers and following list

How to sort the Instagram following list?

You can sort your Instagram Following list by Default, Latest, and Earliest.

The Default shows the Following list based on mutual interaction, the Latest shows the account you recently followed, and the Earliest shows the account you first followed.

To sort the following list, go to the Following tab, tap on Sort by Default, and select an option: Either Latest or Earliest.

How to sort the Instagram following list?

What does sort by default mean on the Instagram following list?

This means that all the accounts that show up on the list have a mutual interaction with you.

The account you follow, comments, DM each, and like their post as do they, will be at the top of the following list before others.

After that other Followers are arranged based on different factors by the algorithm.

How Instagram following ordering algorithm works 

The Instagram algorithm changes the following orders every time, after the mutual interaction. The list cannot remain the same for a very long time.

Although the photo-sharing app has not officially disclosed how its algorithm ordered the following list, here is what we think caused the changes over time.

An account with mutual interaction

One of the very factors for the Following order is the mutual interaction you have.

If you like their post, and they like yours, your comments, and all sorts of relationships in the app their accounts will appear first.

Accounts with mutual followers

If you both have mutual followers, Instagram will also make their account appear at the top.

But these changes, if you have more than 5 people following an account that follows you, the account will be at the top.

Accounts that follow you

If you are following someone and the person following you back, well apart from interaction and mutual followers the personal account will be at the top.

Because at some point there may still be some interaction, DM, comments, tags, and all that.

Accounts Geo-Location

Some accounts that are closed to you may also be at the top is your following list.

If you interact with the person, likes, comments, and all that. They may appear at the top of their location.

Using a web browser

If you are using Instagram from your web browser, this is quite the same when you look up your Followers and followers.

Both seem to order accounts the same way it does on the app.

Techvocast’s Instagram account shows the accounts that recently followed them, and the accounts they are having the most interaction with.


For your Following list, you can see the first and the most recent accounts you follow on the app, you just have to sort it out, it is that simple.

If you go for the default sorting, Instagram will order the following list based on mutual interaction and using different factors that are determined by the algorithm.

For followers, it is quite easy to see the people who interact with you and keep consuming your content on the app.

In 2022, the Followers list shows the account that is most frequently interacting with you, by liking or commenting.

If you have less than 200, the Followers list will be shown in alphabetical order.

Some Instagram account Follower lists still show users that just recently followed you.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Instagram sort the default following list?

To sort the following list, go to the Following tab, tap on Sort by Default, and select an option: Either Latest or Earliest.

What is Instagram’s default sort?

The Instagram default sort is based on mutual interaction and many other factors known by the algorithm. If you interact with an account often, it appears on the top of your Following list.

How to sort Instagram followers by location?

You cannot sort your Instagram Followers by location, it is not possible. You cannot even sort Followers, only your Following can be sorted with no location option.

Did Instagram change the follower’s order?

Instagram regularly changes the Following order based on the account size, your interaction, and if you are viewing someone else Followers list.

Why does Instagram’s following list keep changing?

The list changes based on your mutual interaction, mutual followers, and other factors known by the algorithm.

How is someone else’s following list ordered?

They are ordered based on your mutual interaction with the accounts. Like comment, DM, Follow, etc.

What does the order of someone else’s followers mean?

It means that you have an interaction with them. You like their post, they liked yours.

What Does it Mean to be at the Top of someone’s Following list on Instagram?

It means that you have a mutual interaction with the accounts that they are following. It is based on your mutual interaction with the account.

Further Reading

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By Timothy Iyekowa Writer & Editor
As a seasoned content writer with 4+ years of experience in consumer technology, Timothy has been a dedicated author and editor at since its inception. Specializing in addressing user concerns, his articles offer effective solutions for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac-related issues. Timothy's expertise also extends to crafting content about social media and various applications. Through his daily articles, he consistently aids users in overcoming their technology challenges.
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