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How to Reply to a Message on Instagram

Messenger and Instagram

How do you reply to a message on Instagram? Ever since Instagram was acquired by Facebook (now Meta) in 2012, it has undergone a lot of physical and functional changes. Several features have been added, including the Instagram Direct messaging feature.

Instagram Direct was introduced to Instagram in 2013, and it has become one of the most popular and widely-used features of the Instagram app.

How do you use it? It’s basically a messaging feature. It allows you to send DMs to people on Instagram at its base level. But it’s totally fine if you don’t know how that works.

In this article, you’ll be learning how to use the Instagram Direct feature.

This article will show you how to reply to a message on Instagram and other useful tips that will improve your Instagram messaging experience.

How to reply to a message on Instagram with the Instagram app

The most popular way of replying to a message on Instagram is via the Instagram app. To do that,

Step 1: Launch the Instagram app

Launch the Instagram app on your smartphone if you have Instagram installed.

Open Instagram on your smartphone

Step 2: Tap on the Instagram direct messaging Icon

Once Instagram opens, you will see the messenger icon located at the top right corner of the Instagram feed. Tap on it to see your messages. The icon could be a paper airplane icon or the lighting chat icon of Facebook Messenger.

Message icon on the Instagram app

Unread messages on Instagram are bolded, while read messages are greyed or faded.

Unread Instagram messages in bold

Step 3: Tap on a specific message to reply to it.

To reply to a specific message on Instagram, tap on it. The message will open, and you can read the message fully before replying to it.

Step 4: Tap on the text input box to start typing a response

Tap on the text input box to bring up the keyboard and start typing a response to the message. You can respond to a message with text messages, emojis, stickers, a picture, and voice messages.

Message reply options on Instagram

You can also long-press a message to react to the message with an appropriate emoji.

Instagram has some default emoji reactions, but you can add more. Click on the “+” sign by the far right of the default emoji reactions to add custom emoji reactions.

Instagram emoji reaction after long-pressing a specific message in Instagram

You can reply to individual messages with animated message effects like selfie stickers if your Instagram is up-to-date. Tap the sticker tab beside the text input box in an Instagram direct message to respond to a particular sender with selfie stickers of your choice.

How to reply to a message on Instagram via your phone notification

If a message on Instagram pops up among your phone notifications, simply tap on the notification. Instagram will take you to that specific message, and you can respond directly from there.

Message Requests

Message requests are from people you aren’t following and have never interacted with their content before. This Instagram feature was designed to ward off unnecessary Instagram DMs and spam.

Click on requests and select a direct message to reply to. You can approve or reject a message request. Once a message request is approved, future messages from the sender will go directly to your inbox.

Direct messaging requests

Hidden requests

Once you open “Requests,” you will see another tab called “Hidden requests.”

If you click on “Hidden requests,” you can see messages that are less important than regular Instagram direct messages. These are mostly spam messages.

Hidden Requests

Replying messages on multiple Instagram accounts using one app

Are you signed in to multiple accounts on your Instagram app? Instagram allows you to easily switch from one account to another when reading and replying to messages.

Tap on your “user name with the bottom arrow” at the top left of Instagram’s messaging interface.

Switching from one message group to another on a specific phone

It will bring up a popup that allows you to easily switch from the inbox of one Instagram account to the inbox of another one.

How to reply to access messages from Instagram on Facebook

Instagram now allows users to reply to an Instagram message on the Facebook messaging app by introducing cross-app messaging between Instagram and Facebook. To do this, you must first turn on the feature on your Instagram app.

Once the feature is activated through your Instagram settings, you can reply to an original message from Instagram on your Facebook account or through the “Messenger ” app.

Note that Instagram’s paper airplane icon will be replaced with the Facebook Messenger icon once you activate the messages feature.

How to reply to a Message on Instagram Through the Website.

Instagram users can also reply to messages on Instagram’s desktop version if they are not with their Android device or iOS device. Here is how to do so.

Step 1: Visit the Instagram website on a computer browser.

Launch a browser on your computer and visit the Instagram website. Enter your details to log in.

Instagram website on a computer browser

Step 2: Click on the messenger icon to see your messages

Click on the messenger icon to see your messages. Click on a specific Instagram message to bring it up and reply to it.

Instagram messages
Instagram Messages on Desktop

Step 3: Click on the text box.

Click on the Instagram text box to enter text and respond to the Instagram DM(direct message). You can respond to an Instagram user with text, emojis, and pictures. However, you can’t respond with stickers or a voice message on the Instagram desktop site.

You can click on a particular message to respond to it, react to it with an emoji, copy it, or forward it.

Instagram message box  on the desktop

How to reply to a message on Instagram in vanish mode

The vanish mode is a new Instagram feature that will automatically delete a message after the recipient reads it. You can turn on this feature for highly-sensitive, time-bound chats.

You can reply to chats with vanishing mode like you reply to a regular message on Instagram, but your response will also disappear after the person has read it.

Open Instagram and tap on the messages icon at the top of the Instagram feed to do this. Select a message and tap on the chat name.

There, you will see various chat settings that you can tweak as you please. Simply toggle on “Vanish mode.”

Chat settings for specific messages on Instagram

Replying to group messages on Instagram Direct

You can reply to group messages on Instagram the same way you reply to regular messages. However, you should know that everyone in the group chat will see your reply.

Replying privately to specific messages in Instagram groups

If you want your reply in a group chat to be private, do the following:

Open the group chat, then click on the specific message. Tap on the three-dot icon “…” to privately reply to the selected message. That way, only the original message sender will see your response.

How to update messaging settings on Instagram

A new feature on Instagram allows users to change the theme and configuration of their message replies. Meaning you can add colorful chat themes and change the DM interface.

Open Instagram and tap on the messages icon at the top of the Instagram feed to do this. Select a message and tap on the chat name. There, you will see various chat settings that you can tweak as you please.

Chat settings for specific messages on Instagram


Q: Can I attach all kinds of files when replying to Instagram DM and messages?

A: No. You can only attach image files. You can’t attach documents, videos, or other kinds of files. But you could upload the file somewhere else and send the link as an Instagram message. You can also send the link to videos and photos uploaded directly to Instagram.

Q: I can’t see some new messaging tools on my Instagram app. How can I access the new features?

A: You’ll need to update your Instagram app to see a new feature. Enabling automatic updates on your smartphone will ensure that your Instagram direct message version is up to date.

Q: How secure is my private data when I reply to messages on Instagram?

A: Instagram follows strict territorial data protection rules, such as the European data privacy laws for residents of the EU. But your messages can still be screenshotted and forwarded to other parties without you knowing. Be careful with what you reveal on Instagram, especially in large group chats.

Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.