What Do the Symbols Mean in Instagram Direct Message


Social media is always looking to create faster ways of communicating. For any new Instagram user, or new user of social media in general, it can feel overwhelming seeing all of these tiny little symbols on Instagram’s direct messaging feature. Their uses are not always apparent and sometimes you need someone to point out what their purpose is.

If you’ve been scratching your head over the symbols on Instagram direct messages and have been wondering what they mean, then continue on below to get a breakdown of their purpose.

The Meaning of Symbols on Instagram DM

Of course, the best place to start is by first opening Instagram’s direct messaging system.

1. Locate and launch the Instagram app.

2. Sign into Instagram with your account if you aren’t already logged in.

3. Open your messages by opening Direct Messages. First tap Home in the bottom left corner of the screen. Tap the arrow in the upper right corner of the screen, it looks like a paper plane. That’s Direct Messages.

Now that you have Direct Messages opened, you’ll see a handful of symbols along the bottom of your screen. From left to right they are as followed: Camera, Microphone, Gallery and Stickers.

Camera: Activates Instagram’s Camera feature, built with filters to play with. You can send these directly to someone in a message rather than post them on your news feed. Once you take a photo or select one from the gallery, you get three options at the bottom: View once, Allow replay, and Keep in chat.

With View once, the recipient of the message can see the image or video only once. After they view the message, it will disappear and can’t be opened.

Allow replay lets the recipient view the message twice, once viewed it cannot be opened. The Keep in chat mode will stay in the chat forever until you delete or unsend it.


Microphone: Instead of typing, you can press and hold the Microphone button to record a message.


Gallery: If you have a picture you already took and want to send it, tap Gallery to open your device’s storage and select said picture to send.\


Stickers: Select Stickers to send GIFs and stickers, like emojis.


Additionally, there’s a “Like” symbol, too, but it only appears when someone sends you a direct message. It’s a heart that appears below their message that, when double tapped, will fill the heart i, indicating to the other person you “liked” their message. Double tap again to remove the like.

Writing or Pencil Icon: The writing or pencil icon in the upper right corner of the screen when you first open the DM section will allow you to create a new message. If you don’t have an existing thread with someone, when you tap this, you’ll be able to select who you want to speak to and from there you can

Video Chat Icon: The video chat icon in the upper right corner of the screen when you go into the DM section allows you to start a video chat with the person you choose. Within DMs themselves, you can find this icon and it’ll allow you to  start a video chat with the specific person too.

Phone Icon: The phone icon in the call section when you click Calls in the conversations section allows you to start a phone call with the person you choose. Within DMs themselves, you can find this icon and it’ll allow you to start a phone call with the specific person too.

Green Dot: If you see a green dot next to someones name, this means that they’re active and online on Instagram. This is only available for those who don’t have this feature turned off. For those that do, you won’t see any kind of dot next to their profile picture.

Mute: The mute option when you swipe right on someones name allows you to stop receiving notifications when this person messages you. To unmute a person, open the chat thread and tap on the person’s name. Turn off the toggle next to Mute messages.

Heart Symbol: The heart symbol means that a message has been liked. This symbol can be seen at the bottom of a message. If you would like to unlike the message, simply hold down on it and click unlike.

Brady Klinger-Meyers is an experienced tech writer and marketer who currently writes for Techzillo as well as other popular sites like MakeUseOf. At Techzillo, he focuses on consumer technology in general with his interest being Android OS. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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