How Do You Know Whether Your Instagram Direct Message Has Been Read?

Posted by Jamie on January 17, 2019

Instagram is an extremely popular social media site where users can exchange pictures and videos, but it is also a full-featured messaging app. Instagram implemented direct messages (DMs) a few years ago and although the feature took longer to catch fire than the app’s creators had hoped, DMs are now one of the go-to methods of communication for the social-media-aware set. The psychology of direct messaging via social network is quite fascinating. People who are usually patient and laid-back suddenly become the most impatient people ever when they’ve sent a DM. People who would wait contentedly for someone to get back to them in real life, because they understand that life happens, suddenly turn into needy teenagers if you keep them waiting longer than 30 seconds for a reply to a DM or social media post.

Perhaps you are one of those people! In this article, I am going to show you how to tell whether your Instagram direct message has been read. I’m also going to discuss how to keep people from finding out whether you’ve received their messages or not.

How to use Instagram direct messaging

First, let’s review how Instagram DMs work, in case you haven’t used Instagram direct messaging. It’s actually a quite useful and straightforward way of communicating within the app. It does not offer anything other chat apps don’t offer but it does allow dialog between individuals or groups around your picture postings.

You have a couple of ways to send a direct message:

  1. Open Instagram and log in.
  2. Select the paper plane icon in the top right of the app. This opens Instagram Direct and displays a list of your Instagram connections.
  3. Tap the person you want to send a message to or tap the + button in the upper right hand corner to just write in the username of someone you aren’t connected to.
  4. Write your message in the text box.
  5. Hit Send.

So far this is the same as just about every other chat app. The message is sent to the recipient via Instagram’s own DM system and will usually be delivered in seconds.

You can also send a message using 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.

  1. Select the three dots in the top right corner of the person’s profile or image to access the menu.
  2. Select Send Message from the popup menu.
  3. Write the message as you normally would in the box at the bottom.
  4. Hit Send.

This latter method supposedly increases engagement within Instagram. It allows you to DM people who you do not yet follow or who do not follow you.

Has your Instagram direct message has been read?

Like other social media apps, Instagram tells you whether a message has been delivered and read.

  • In a private message, you will see ‘Seen’ under your message when the recipient has read it.
  • In a group message, you will see a small eye next to the usernames of those who have read your Instagram direct message.

Avoid sending a read receipt for Instagram direct messages

If you’re busy right now and don’t want to show someone you have read their message so they don’t badger you for a reply, you can stop Instagram from providing this information. It is the same method we use to stop read receipts in many social media apps. We turn on Airplane mode or turn off WiFi before reading.

If for any reason you don’t want people to know you have read their Instagram direct message, try this:

  1. Do not open the DM when you see it arrive.
  2. Turn off WiFi and/or cellular data or switch your phone to Airplane mode.
  3. Open the message and read it.
  4. Return to your profile page or leave the conversation.
  5. Log out and then shut down the Instagram app.
  6. Turn on WiFi and/or cellular data or switch Airplane mode off.
  7. Open Instagram if you need to but don’t go back into the conversation. If you do, the app will send a read receipt.

There are many reasons why you may not want to send a read receipt for Instagram 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!

5 thoughts on “How Do You Know Whether Your Instagram Direct Message Has Been Read?”

Angelica says:
I want to know how can i tell when someone is on Instagram on there i phone
Matt says:
If you just look at the messages screen, and you can see the bolded unread new message, but you don’t tap to open the new message, does it still say seen?
dude says:
yeah, it doesn’t say seen or have the eye on mine either. guess they got rid of that feature?
Lily says:
On my phone it doesn’t say seen or show a little eye icon? The message goes up and I don’t known who’s seen it? Please help?!
Steve says:
My insta seen receipts have been gone for months. I only know if someone read my message because there’s a gap where the “seen” label would be. It even happened on different phones and on my dog’s insta account.

Any idea what this is about? I can’t find any info anywhere.


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