While Instagram started as a simple photo-sharing app, it has grown to become a very flexible platform with a number of powerful, entertaining, and fun-to-use features.
One such feature is the Direct Messages (DMs) feature, which was added in late 2013. Since then, DMs have become a go-to standard of communication for heavy social media users.
For those of you who have experienced the agony of waiting a seemingly endless amount of time for a reply to a DM, it is possible to at least squelch some of the waiting pains.
In this article, I am going to show you how to tell whether your Instagram direct message has been read. While that won’t help you receive a reply any sooner, you will at least know that the other party is aware of your message. I’ll also teach you how to flip the script as we discuss how to keep people from finding out whether you’ve received their messages or not.
How To Use Instagram Direct Messaging
If you haven’t ever used Instagram DMs, let’s first review how they work.
DMs are very useful and straightforward (in contrast to some other Instagram features, which require their own tutorials). Instagram DMs don’t offer anything that other chat apps don’t offer, but having the service built right into the app can allow you and your friends to have a dialog focused on picture postings without having to switch between apps.
How to send a direct message:
- Open Instagram and log in.
- Select the paper plane icon in the top right of the app. This opens Instagram Direct and displays a list of your Instagram connections. If you have any DMs waiting for you, there will be a number on the tip of the paper plane’s nose.
- Tap the person you want to send a message to or tap the symbol of a pencil on paper in the upper right-hand corner to just write in the username of someone you aren’t connected to.
- Write your message in the text box. If you wish to add photos and more, choose the options from the icons next to the text box.
- Hit Send.
Instagram DMs work more or less the same as messaging in any other normal chat app; the message is sent internally within the app’s platform (not sent externally as with an SMS message) and the recipient can usually see the DM instantaneously.
Another method of accessing the DM system is through viewing someone’s profile. This is quite useful when you stumble across a profile with content you like or recognize and want to reach out to that person.
- View someone’s profile.
- Select Message from the buttons in the middle of the screen.
- Write the message as you normally would in the box at the bottom.
- Hit Send.
Unlike some platforms, where messages from people who aren’t connected are considered somewhat suspect, Instagram DMs are always sent right to the recipient’s mailbox. Instagram does this to increase the level of engagement between its users.
How to Tell if Someone Has Read Your Direct Message
Instagram provides immediate feedback to tell you that a message has been read (or at least seen) by its recipient. If the message is private (one on one), you will see ‘Seen’ under your message when the recipient has read it. This works just like read receipts on other messaging apps.
In a group message, you will see a small eye icon next to the usernames of those who have read your Instagram direct message.
Reading Messages While Remaining Invisible
There are times when you might just be busy and not have time to engage with someone via DM but still want to check their messages for important content with plans to respond later. Since you can’t turn off read receipts on Instagram, you’ll have to use a workaround.
While the method to do this involves a bit of effort, it’s not too difficult. The idea is to disconnect your device from the Internet before reading the message so that you can’t send a read receipt.
How to hide your Instagram activity:
- Do not immediately open the DM when you see it arrive.
- Turn off WiFi and/or cellular data or switch your phone to Airplane mode.
- Now you can open the message and read it. This will queue up a read receipt to send, but it can’t send because there’s no Internet.
- Return to your profile page or leave the conversation.
- Log out and then shut down the Instagram app.
- Turn on WiFi and/or cellular data or switch Airplane mode off.
- You can open Instagram if you need to but don’t go back into the conversation. If you do, the app will send the queued read receipt.
There are many reasons why you may not want to send a read receipt for Instagram’s direct messages. This method works on Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and many other social networks. Use it well!
Are there other ways to tell whether your Instagram direct message has been read? Got any other ways to avoid sending read receipts? Tell us about them below!
More Great Instagram Tips & Tricks
Here’s our guide to changing the font in your Instagram story.
We’ve got a tutorial on how to download and save someone else’s Instagram video.
Here’s a walkthrough on how to view someone’s Instagram story without them knowing.
We’ve got a great tutorial on how to add a picture or video to an existing Instagram story.
Here’s our piece on how to delete a single image from an Instagram post.