For years, DMing on Instagram was an experience you lived through, not something you enjoyed. The social media app was so focused on photo sharing that it neglected to focus on things like basic messaging features like custom notification settings. But since boldly declare that it is no longer a photo sharing appInstagram is slowly changing things up, recently launching chat themes, a real search feature, and other tweaks designed to make posts on Instagram better.
Here are a few features you may not be aware of and how you can use them to improve your DM game. (Note: these features roll out slowlyso you may not have them all yet.)
How to send messages to your close friends with a simple gesture
This feature shows that Instagram is increasingly focusing on how users actually use Instagram DMs: to share cat memes with their friends. With this change, you can now share faster than ever: you can now tap and hold the Send button in a message and at the top you’ll see four photos representing the profiles you’ve contacted most often. Drag your finger to the profile picture and release to send the message.
Reply directly to Instagram DMs
It is now possible to browse your feed while talking to people in an Instagram DM. The new in-app notification banner is expandable and you can reply to anyone from there.
Send a message without notifying the recipient
If you’re trying to send someone (or a group) a message at night or at any other time that you don’t want to be notified, type “@quiet” before the message. The message will still be sent, but the user will not be notified.
Go full Snapchat with Vanish mode
Like Snapchat, Instagram DM also allows you to send disappearing photos and videos. But what if you want an entire conversation, with all the text and photos, to disappear after a while? You can now enable Vanish mode by swiping up on a chat. Once you exit Vanish mode, all chats will be deleted. If someone takes a screenshot in Vanish mode, you will receive a notification.
Try a new theme
Instagram DM introduced themes a while back and every now and then there is a new addition. The latest theme, lo-fi, infuses the app with chill vibes, but you can choose from many more themes. Press “i” from the header, then go to the Themes section to browse.
Search via chat
Want to find incriminating evidence from a six-month-old conversation? Instagram DM will help you with that now. Open the chat, tap the “i” button from the top, and go to the “Search in conversation” start.
Make group DMs less intense
Group chats can get noisy quickly, but you can control this with the DM-level notification settings. Open a group DM and tap the “i” button. Here you can mute all messages, mentions, or calls. You can also enable new member approvals so that the group doesn’t become spam-central overnight.
Avatars, polls and other ways to make DMs more fun
see the little “Plus” button in the bottom corner of your Instagram DMs? It hides quite a few features. The first is quick answers, where you can create custom shortcuts that can be extended to entire sentences or sentences. This function is like Text replacement on the iPhone, but limited to the Instagram app.
Tap the Stickers button and you will see options for “Avatar” and “polls† Avatar is the Facebook version of Memoji Stickers, which allows you to create your own avatar and send it in a sticker instead of using an emoji. The Polls feature works similar to that in Stories, allowing you to quickly get responses from everyone in the group chat without triggering a dozen notifications.