Guide to Instagram Messages (Instagram Direct)

Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter are some of the most famous and used means to send private messages including photos, videos and emoticons to friends and followers. But also Instagram offers an interesting possibility of private sharing with the introduction of Direct, for some years now. Do you already know what they are and how to use them? We’ll take care of explaining it to you. You will see that Instagram Direct will compete with various instant messaging services once you discover how quick and easy it is to use.

Instagram direct

What is Instagram Direct and what is it for

This is a feature launched by Instagram in mid-2013 that allows you to send text messages, photos and videos privately to one or more users (maximum 32) within the social network. Until Instagram created this function, in fact, you could share your photos or with all your followers (by setting up a private profile) or with all Instagram users, while thanks to Direct you can customize the messages according to your needs. What could Direct be used for? For example, if you are organizing a party or an event and you want to make it known in an original and pleasant way only to a few friends. Or it is useful to create a small discussion group around an important moment that you want to remain private such as a birth or a new job or around a hobby that you share with your friends like a movie that you have seen at the cinema or a concert that you will go to together. But it can also be an interesting social media marketing tool for sharing initiatives or awards with a few small customers.

How to send a message on Instagram

Let’s get to the practice though. How does Instagram instant messaging work? Very simple. From Home is enough for you click on the paper airplane symbol at the top right and from here you will immediately have access to the list of contacts to whom you can send a private message with a photo or video. By clicking on the person’s name, or looking for the contact to whom you want to send a direct message, you can immediately write your text accompanying it with a photo that you can upload from your image gallery or take directly with the smartphone camera or from a short video with where you can communicate something to your friends with even greater impact in real time. Press “send” and that’s it. The videos and photos you send can be temporary (like stories) or permanent but in any case all conversations are contained and managed in two different sections: General and Main . You can decide in which of the two sections to insert your conversations.

Instagram Direct - Principale - Generale

How do you move a conversation from one section to another? It’s very simple, just keep your finger pressed on the conversation and a window will appear with some options, including the one to move the conversation.

How to create a group thanks to Instagram Direct

By sending a message to several people – just select more than one recipient – you will effectively create a group (similar to groups on WhatsApp). After sending the message, you can customize the group by entering a name. It is a very useful function that allows all members of the conversation to quickly identify the group.

The user who first sent the message will see a field to change the name of the group, once they have entered the conversation. However, it is always possible to change the name by clicking on the hamburger button at the top right of the conversation. After clicking, a new section will open with various options:

gruppo Instagram

From this same window you can leave the conversation, activate messages, add other people and see all the participants in the group. All group members can perform these operations.

How to read messages on Direct

To read messages sent to you by friends and followers, the procedure is just as simple and practically the same. From the airplane symbol at the top right of the Home you can not only search for contacts to write your direct message to but also have access to the list of messages that have been sent to you and then reply. In addition, every time you receive a message, a notification will appear on your smartphone to signal its arrival. Messages that come to you from people you don’t follow are placed in the “Message Requests” section and you can read them from there if you want.

When a message is read, the message “Viewed” (or the symbol of an eye with the name of the recipient next to it) will appear under the sent message. This way the sender can know if the recipient has actually seen the message or not.

It is also possible to like messages received by double clicking on the message. A red heart will be added to the message. It is always possible to like the message, just click again on the heart icon, under the message.

What are message requests?

Instagram allows, as a basic setting, to send messages to all users, even to those who do not follow and who do not follow you. These messages end up in a special folder for direct messages, the “message requests”.
You can view the message requests by clicking on the airplane symbol. If you have any requests, a notification written in blue will appear. By clicking on it you can read the message received, without the sender knowing that it has been read, and decide whether to accept or not accept the conversation.

How to send messages on Instagram without having the app

If you want to send direct messages via Instagram, without using the official app, you can do it using the desktop version, both from PC and smartphone. Just connect to, enter your username and password and click on the airplane button at the top right, exactly as happens in the Instagram app.

How to check a user’s activity status in direct messages

Instagram direct messages have another very special feature. They are used to know if the contacts with whom we have sent messages are active on Instagram or not. In the list of conversations, under the name of each user you have chatted with recently, you can see a small message that says when the contact was last connected to Instagram or if he is currently online. In this case, the user icon is also marked with a green dot.

What does the orange triangle mean in Instagram direct messages?

We’ve been asked by many about the meaning of the orange triangle that appears in some Instagram Direct conversations.

triangolo arancione direct

This symbol is used to indicate that the conversation has been ‘marked’ . In the next section we explain what is the purpose of marking a conversation.

“Activate messages” in conversations on Direct. What does this mean?

Some users have asked us what the “Activate messages” button means, an option found in the information of individual conversations on Direct. To find this setting you have to open one of your chats on Direct and click on the “i” at the top right. A page will open with two settings, not active by default: “Activate messages” and “Disable notifications of video calls”.

The wording “Activate messages” is not at all clear. Clicking on this check will deactivate the notifications of messages received from that conversation , which is the exact opposite of what it should mean! This somewhat mysterious wording appears only on Android. On the iPhone, the wording is replaced by a much clearer ‘Disable message notifications’.

If you turn off notifications from a conversation, a small crossed out speaker symbol will appear next to the conversation.

How to use filters to search in Instagram direct messages

Searching for conversations in Instagram Direct is less convenient than on other platforms, for example compared to Facebook Messenger. However, Instagram has some features that allow you to search in conversations and recently introduced a new feature, the Instagram Direct filters , which suggests that the development team is working on this issue to try to improve the search options in direct messages.

In the Direct tab at the top, by clicking on the magnifying glass you can search for conversations with a particular user. On the right you will find the filter symbol:

filtri instagram direct

Clicking on it will bring up some search options: Mail (the default option that shows all conversations), Unread (clicking on this option will only display unread messages) and Tagged Conversations .

This last option allows you to view only marked conversations, that is, conversations that for some reason you consider relevant. To mark a conversation, click on the flag at the top right of an Instagram Direct chat .

bandierina instagram direct

In the tab that collects all Instagram Direct messages, a small orange triangle will be shown that will allow you to easily identify the conversations you have marked previously.

Marking a conversation is therefore used to quickly find the chat using the new filter options. This can be useful if you have a lot of active conversations.

I can’t text on Instagram. What can I do?

It sometimes happens that errors appear in Instagram messages. For example, red error messages or just red Xs.
These error messages generally depend on two factors: the first is that you are not connected to the internet , the second is that Instagram has problems on its servers .

First then check that the connection of your smartphone is stable . If you are connected to the internet correctly, you can check on Google or Twitter if one of the not very rare Instagramdowns is in progress. Instagramdowns can depend on various problems and do not always cause the Instagram app to not work completely. Sometimes, for example, you can reach your direct messages, but you can’t send them.

Direct for Instagram: the official app to manage Instagram messages

Instagram has also launched a dedicated application to manage conversations. It is Direct for Instagram and you can download it both on the App Store (for Apple users) and on the Google Play Store (for Android users).

The message app automatically interfaces with the Instagram app. If you download it, when you click on the paper airplane icon in the Instagram app you will be sent directly a Direct for Instagram. To return to Instagram, just go back or click on the Instagram logo at the bottom right.

From the home page Instagram you can also enter the message management app by swiping from right to left.
You can of course also access Direct for Instagram by clicking on the app icon.

This new application is very simple. The navigation menu, located at the bottom, consists of four buttons.


Camera allows you to take photos or record videos, Messages contains your conversations and Stories contains a list of friends who have posted a story . Instead, the Instagram logo allows you to return to the main app.

You can navigate the app either by clicking on the buttons or by swiping from right to left and vice versa.

In short, the purpose of Instagram, as stated by the official blog, is “to make visual conversations even more fun”. And he seems to be doing very well, what do you think?

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