Can You Turn off Read Receipts on Instagram? Not Exactly

How you can keep others from seeing you've read their message

What to Know

  • If you read messages with airplane mode on, they will appear as unread in your inbox, and the sender won't know you've seen them.
  • If you tap on a message notification, that counts as read.
  • You can't turn off read receipts on Instagram.

This article covers workarounds for disabling read receipts on Instagram, including turning on airplane mode and not clicking on new message notifications.

How to Prevent Instagram Friends From Knowing You Read Their Message

You can't turn off read receipts on Instagram, but you can read messages privately by first turning on airplane mode. But first, you need to avoid tapping new message notifications.

Turn Off Instagram Message Notifications

When you tap an Instagram message notification, that message gets marked as read, and there's no way to undo it. One way to avoid this is to turn off Instagram Direct notifications. Here's how.

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile.

  2. Tap the menu icon (three vertical lines).

  3. Tap Settings.

  4. Select Notifications.

    Turning off Instagram notifications.
  5. Select Messages. (It might say Direct Messages.)

  6. Under Message Requests and Messages, tick the circles next to Off.

    Turning off Instagram notifications.

Read Instagram Messages While in Airplane Mode

When you're ready to read your messages, open your inbox and turn on airplane mode before tapping any messages.

  1. Open the Instagram app.

  2. Tap the Messenger symbol in the top right. If you haven't switched to the merged Instagram/Facebook Messenger inbox, tap the mail icon to open the Instagram Direct inbox.

  3. Turn on Airplane Mode and make sure Wi-Fi is off.

    On Android, swipe down from the top of the screen to access the Quick Settings Menu. Tap Airplane mode.

    To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone, swipe down to open the Control Center and tap Airplane mode.

    Turning on airplane mode on an Android phone.
    Turning on airplane mode on an Android phone.
  4. Read your messages.

  5. Exit the inbox and return to your profile page.

  6. Tap the menu icon (three vertical lines).

  7. Tap Settings at the bottom.

  8. Scroll down and tap Log Out.

    Logging out of Instagram.
  9. Turn off airplane mode.

  10. Log back into your account.

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