How to Use Instagram Video Chat

Gab with up to six friends

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram

Instagram's not just for taking gorgeous photos of your vacation and sharing perfectly stylized selfies anymore. With a feature called Instagram Direct, you can video chat with up to six friends on iOS and Android devices in much the same way you might join video chats in Skype, Snapchat, FaceTime, Houseparty, or Facebook Messenger.

Here's how to set up Instagram Direct so you can enjoy video chat sessions with your fellow Instagrammers on the same app you already use for sharing photos.

How to Start a Video Chat on Instagram

Ensure you're running the latest version of the Instagram app installed on your iPhone or Android and that you have an account. From there, open the Instagram app.

Start a video chat in Instagram
Open Instagram Direct to start a video chat.

Tap the paper airplane in the top right corner; it should appear just to the right of the IGTV icon that looks like a miniature television. This tap opens your direct inbox, where your direct messages live on Instagram.

Now you can start a video chat with up to four of your Instagram friends. You can do this one of two ways:

Start a Video Chat in an Existing Conversation

Tap a username or group name to open an existing conversation then tap the video camera icon in the top right-hand corner of your screen to initiate a video chat. The person or group you call will receive a notification indicating you're video calling them.

Start a Video Chat in a New Conversation

Start a new conversation by tapping the Plus (+) in the top right corner and picking the people with whom you want to video chat. Tap the video camera icon on the top right-hand corner of your screen to initiate a video chat. The person or group you call will receive a notification indicating you're inviting them to join a video chat.

Video chat with up to four friends in Instagram
Four-way video chat in Instagram.

Enjoy your video chat! When you're done, tap the red phone button to hang up.

How to Browse Instagram During a Video Chat

You can browse Instagram while you're in a video chat with your friends.

Tap the minimize button in the top-left corner, represented as a little square within a square, while on your video chat. A window with your friend's face on it will appear, which you can move around on your screen wherever you like. You can now browse your feed, send direct messages, post photos, and do anything else you normally would while continuing your video chat; your friends won't see what you're browsing, only your face.

How to Troubleshoot an Instagram Video Chat

Instagram video chats are pretty straightforward, but if you find you're having trouble receiving a video chat request, there's a chance you might need to turn your Instagram push notifications on.

Privacy Considerations for Instagram Video Chats

Prevent someone from trying to video chat with you using one of these two methods:

Block the user by tapping the relevant username to access his or her profile. Tap the three small dots in the top right-hand corner of your screen then choose block. The user won't be notified you've blocked them.

If you want to unblock this user later, repeat the above steps and choose Unblock.

Alternatively mute the conversation you've had with the user from your Instagram feed.

Tap the paper airplane icon in the top right corner to open your direct messages within Instagram. Select the group conversation you'd like to mute, then tap the group name at the top, then tap next to Mute Video Chat.

If you haven't named the group, just tap the list of names. You don't have to give the group a name.

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