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

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.

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

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 squelch at least some of the waiting pains.

In this article, you’ll see 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.

How To Use Instagram Direct Messaging

If you have never used Instagram DMs, let’s first review how they work. If you already know, feel free to skip to the next section.

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 dialogue focused on picture postings without having to switch between apps.

How to Send a Direct Message to Friends/Followed Profiles in Instagram

  1. Open Instagram and log in.
  2. Select the “messenger” (paper airplane) 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 messenger’s icon.
  3. Tap on the “profile” that you want to send a message to, or tap the “edit” (pencil and paper) icon in the upper right-hand corner to write in the username of someone not in your “Friends” list.
  4. To add an image from your device’s gallery, tap the “image” icon (square with mountains and the sun) on the right before you type the message, or the option disappears.
  5. To add an instant photo, tap the “camera” icon to the left before you type a message, or the option disappears.
  6. To add an animated sticker or GIF, tap the “sticker” icon (peeled square with a smiley face) on the right before you type your message or the same icon on the left after typing your message.
  7. Write your message in the text box, then press “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 usually sees the DM instantly.

How to Send a Direct Message to Any Profile in Instagram

Another method of accessing the DM system is through viewing someone’s profile. This is quite useful when you stumble across a person/organization/business with content you like or recognize and want to reach out to them.

  1. Tap on the user’s profile icon to open their profile page.
  2. Select “Message” from the buttons in the middle of the screen.
  3. To start, add your gallery image first (if applicable) by tapping the “image” icon (square with mountains and the sun) on the right side. You cannot add a gallery image after typing in the comment box, unless you backspace.
  4. To add a new photo, tap the “camera” icon on the left before typing any text. This option disappears when text is present, so backspace to delete any text and get the icon back.
  5. To add an animated sticker or GIF, tap the “sticker” icon (peeled square with a smiley face) on the right before you type your message or the same icon on the left after typing your message.
  6. Write the message as you normally would, if not done already, then press “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’ll see the status using the following steps.

  1. On the Instagram “Home” page, tap the “Messages” icon (paper airplane) in the top-right section.
  2. Open your last sent message by tapping on the corresponding profile in the list.
  3. Scroll (if applicable) to the bottom. The status appears below your last message.

Depending on the type of message and the relationship between you and the recipient, your read receipts may be different.


Assuming you’re following someone, and they’re following you back, you’ll be able to see their Instagram handle next to the ‘Seen’ icon in the lower left-hand corner of your message (as seen in the screenshot below).


If you’re interested in your group messages, you will see the username next to ‘Seen’ in the lower left-hand corner indicating they’ve read your message

Not Following

If you’re messaging a private account and they have yet to accept your follow request, you’re left in the dark until the following status changes. When you send a friend request to one of these accounts, it will appear as a ‘message request’ and it’s up to the user whether to accept it. You will not receive any notification if they declined your request.

Can I turn off read receipts on Instagram?

Unfortunately, no. The only option you have to read messages without alerting the sender is to put your phone in Airplane Mode, read the message, close Instagram, and turn Airplane Mode off again.

Can someone see if I read their message multiple times?

No, there is only one read receipt and that appears when you first read the message.

Why do I see a paper airplane flash when I’ve sent a message?

The paper airplane icon that appears next to your message merely means your message is sending.

Can someone see if I deleted a message?

If you hold down on a message you’ve sent on Instagram you’ll get the option to ‘Unsend’ it. Although the recipient may have already viewed and read the content, they won’t be able to see it any longer.

Can I block someone from messaging me without blocking their account?

While you can’t block someone from sending you a DM without completely blocking their profile, you can mute their conversation. This is handy if someone is spamming you, or you just don’t want to read their messages. Open the person’s DM and tap on the person’s username in the upper left-hand corner of Instagram. From here, toggle the option to Mute Messages. The other user will still be able to send you messages, but you won’t get a notification from them.

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!

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

Russ says:
I swear someone saw my IG message over a month ago because it said “Seen” at the time. Early this morning, it said “Seen Thursday.” Later this morning, the message now says “Seen last week.”
Steve Larner says:
The person that is shown to have seen your Instagram Direct message probably had a time/date incorrectness, so it made the “Seen,” “Seen Thursday,” and “Seen last week” statuses adjusted to their current time setting—or it could have been on your end. This scenario is just one possibility.
Lily says:
Why does it show ‘opened’ after a period of time on a photo I’ve sent to someone, when I know for a fact it has not been opened?
Tanja says:
I was wondering, if there’s a setting on instagram, where you automatically open dm’s without really reading them? Because there’s a celebrity, who reads my dms right after I’ve sent it, and it’s EVERY time, which seems quite impossible?
Nadja says:
Dear everyone, I have same question as Tanya, van you please answer?
Thank you
Mac Mac says:
How can I stop receiving messages or chose who to get messages from without removing a person.
Alex says:
are there read receipts on the desktop version?
Shannon says:
Are people notified if you read their message more than once? Or will they just get the initial “seen” notification?
K says:
What does the little airplane mean right after a direct message?
Marina says:
Is it me or is there a limit on Instagram direct messages? I am not able to send IG DMs anymore. I have tried all the solution options but nothing really changed. Ingramer and Instazood helped me out, so i can chat with my folks again (at least from PC). Although sometimes Instazood does not let me log in… fortunately, Ingramer is always ready to help me. That is great but how can i fix the problem with Instagram app?
maci says:
my messages will say seen under them before the other person has even opened it, has this happened to anyone else?
Matthew Cosenza says:
How long you gonna believe that hunny? Players gonna play – #dumphim
Shweta says:
Happened with me too.
I haven’t seen other person’s message but still it shows ‘seen’ under them.
Travis says:
I replied to an Instagram story and was able to see that my reply was “seen”. Several hours later I replied to another story that posted and the “seen” icon from the first post disappeared. Does that mean I have been muted?
Jade says:
I sent a message to someone I follow but doesn’t follow me back. There’s caption saying I can’t click the camera above for video call but my messages aren’t labelled seen or delivered or sent.. now I don’t know if it’s been seen or delivered or sent or what.. why is it?
Angelica says:
I want to know how can i tell when someone is on Instagram on there i phone
Ron says:
It’s says active by the dms list
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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