How to Check Messages on Instagram

Check messages from your mobile device or computer

What to Know

  • Instagram app: Tap the Messenger icon in the upper-right corner. If you haven't updated Instagram, you'll see a paper airplane icon.
  • Send or respond to messages with text, emojis, photos, or videos. From the message screen, see if a message was opened.
  • Instagram on the desktop: Tap the Messenger icon in the upper-right corner. View and respond to messages.

This article explains how to access, read, and reply to your Instagram direct messages on the Instagram mobile app or from Instagram on the desktop.

Facebook has merged messaging between Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, so if your Instagram is updated to the new interface, you'll be using Messenger in your Instagram direct messaging.

Check Messages on the Instagram App

It's easy to access your direct-message inbox from the Instagram main screen, where you see your current feed with posts from people and businesses you follow.

You can't turn off read receipts on Instagram, but there are workarounds.

  1. Open the Instagram app on your iOS or Android device and sign in to your account or switch to the appropriate account, if necessary.

  2. Tap the Messenger icon. Your inbox messages are listed from most to least recent. Unread messages have a blue dot.

    If you haven't updated Instagram, you'll see a paper airplane icon.

  3. Tap any message to open the conversation thread, then use the text field and media buttons at the bottom to send a reply.

    Instagram with Messenger icon, blue new message dot, and reply field highlighted

    Use the search field at the top to search for a message from a certain user or to search for a keyword or phrase.

  4. To reply to a message with a photo or video, tap the Camera in the message box. A camera interface opens with options. Take a photo or video, then tap Send. Tap Send to Others to send the photo or video to other Instagram contacts.

    Instagram messaging with the camera icon, camera interface, and send options highlighted

    To send a quick photo or video reply without opening the conversation, tap the camera to the right of every message listed in your inbox.

  5. If you're wondering if your recipient has seen your message, the message screen keeps you updated. You'll see a message's status on the inbox screen, including when it was seen or when you sent it if it hasn't yet been opened.

    Instagram direct messages with Sent and Seen times highlighted

If you receive an Instagram message from someone you don't follow, it appears as a request in your inbox rather than a conversation. If you accept the request, you can reply without following the other user. If you decline the request, the other user can't contact you again unless you follow them.

How to Check Instagram Messages on the Desktop

You can also check your direct messages using Instagram on a web browser.

  1. Go to the official Instagram website and log in.

  2. Select the Messenger icon.

    Instagram on the desktop with Messenger icon highlighted
  3. Your current conversations appear in the left pane. Click a conversation to open it in the right pane.

    Instagram on the desktop with left and right message panes
  4. Type a message in the message bar. If you like, select the smiley icon to add an emoji.

    Instagram desktop reply screen with message bar and emoji options highlighted

    The desktop Instagram doesn't have many of the features of the Instagram app, such as sending photos and videos in a direct message.

The Instagram-Facebook Messenger Integration

According to a report in The Verge, in August of 2020, Facebook began rolling out its new messaging system, merging the messaging functionality of Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp with Messenger.

If your Instagram app still uses the older interface, you'll see a paper-airplane-style direct messages icon instead of the Facebook Messenger logo.

This messaging integration is meant to be a convenience for users, for example, allowing Instagram users to send messages to Facebook users who aren't even on Instagram.

  • How do I delete Instagram messages?

    Open Instagram, go to the upper-right and select the Messages icon. Swipe right on a conversation and tap Delete to delete the conversation. To unsend a message, tap and hold the message and choose Unsend.

  • How do I see deleted messages on Instagram?

    You can't recover deleted messages on Instagram, but you can recover deleted posts, reels, and more. Tap your profile picture and choose Menu (three lines) > Settings > Account > Manage Recently Deleted. Choose what you want to recover.

  • How do I react to an Instagram message?

    To react to an Instagram direct message, tap and hold the message and choose one of the optional reactions, such as a heart, laughing-crying face, sad face, angry face, or thumbs up. Tap the plus sign (+) for more popular social media emoji reaction options

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