How to View and Reply to Instagram Direct Message Conversations

Instagram direct messaging allows users to have private conversations with other users. Whether you want to view messages from friends or customers, or reply to specific messages, Instagram makes the process easy across mobile and desktop.

Viewing Direct Message Conversations

To view your Instagram direct messages on mobile:

  1. Open the Instagram app
  2. Tap the paper airplane icon in the top right corner
  3. This will open your messages inbox where you can view conversations

On desktop, you can view messages by:

  1. Going to and logging in
  2. Clicking the paper airplane icon in the top right to open messages

Replying to Conversations

Replying to an entire conversation is simple – just open the message thread and type your reply in the text box at the bottom.

However, Instagram also allows you to reply to specific messages within a conversation. Here’s how:

On Mobile

  1. Open the conversation
  2. Long press on the specific message
  3. Tap “Reply”
  4. Type your reply and send

Alternatively, you can swipe right on the message and tap reply.

On Desktop

  1. Hover over the message
  2. Click the reply arrow icon
  3. Type your response and send

Replying to specific messages keeps conversations organized and makes it clear what you’re responding to.

Replying from Feed (Mobile Only)

Instagram also lets you reply to messages directly from your feed without opening messages.

To use this feature:

  1. Tap the notification when you receive a new message
  2. Type your reply in the text box at the bottom of the notification
  3. Tap send

This makes it easy to carry on conversations while browsing Instagram.

Sharing Photos and Videos in Messages

One of the best parts of Instagram messages is the ability to share photos and videos. To do this:

On Mobile

  1. Open the conversation
  2. Tap the camera icon
  3. Select a photo/video from your camera roll or take one directly in Instagram
  4. Edit the media if desired
  5. Tap send

On Desktop

  1. Click the paperclip icon when typing a message
  2. Select a photo/video file from your computer
  3. Edit if desired
  4. Click send

You can share an unlimited number of photos and videos in conversations. Some key things to keep in mind:

  • Media will be compressed to save space
  • Videos can be up to 1 minute long
  • Photos and videos will disappear if either user deletes them from the conversation

Instagram Message Requests

If someone who doesn’t follow you tries to message you, it will show up as a message request rather than going straight to your inbox. You can manage requests in a few ways:

Accept request: Adds user to your messages and allows them to message you going forward

Delete request: Removes the message request

Ignore request: Leaves request in your inbox unanswered

To adjust your messaging privacy settings:

  1. Go to your profile
  2. Tap settings (gear icon)
  3. Tap privacy
  4. Tap messages
  5. Choose who can message you

By default, anyone can message you. Setting to “people you follow” will prevent unwanted requests.

Messenger Features

Instagram recently updated messaging to integrate more features from Facebook messenger:

  • Communicate across apps: Seamlessly message Instagram contacts on Facebook messenger
  • Watch together: Watch IGTV, Reels and more during video calls
  • Vanish mode: Set messages to disappear after being read
  • Forward messages: Forward Instagram messages to Facebook messenger

Turn these features on by updating messaging in your Instagram settings.

Instagram Direct for Business

Direct messaging is extremely valuable for businesses on Instagram. It provides a personal channel to:

  • Answer customer questions and provide support
  • Share exclusive deals and promotions
  • Get feedback from customers
  • Drive sales through the buying process

To use Instagram direct message for business success:

  • Personalize messages: Don’t use canned templates, customize each DM
  • Add value: Give customers a reason to open and engage with your messages
  • Find the right time: Pay attention to when your customers are most active

The ability to have meaningful conversations at scale on Instagram is an opportunity that every business should take advantage of.


Hopefully this guide gave you a better understanding of how to fully utilize Instagram’s messaging features. Direct messaging opens up new ways to engage with your closest connections on the platform.

As Instagram continues to evolve, messaging is only becoming more important. Take the time to foster relationships, support customers, and drive growth through direct message conversations.