'Instagram Direct' private messaging is now official

Direct messages from strangers require extra step before receiving

Following a general rumble of expectation for weeks, Instagram has just launched its own private messaging service. With the latest update to version 5 of the app, you can now send images and videos directly to individuals and groups rather than your entire follower base.

You'll be able to select where your image goes — to "Followers" or "Direct" — after you've taken and edited your picture or video, and if you select Direct you'll have a choice of sending to just one or several people you choose. Once sent, you'll see an indication underneath the picture of who has seen and liked the photo, along with a standard Instagram comment thread underneath. It's the same Instagram experience you know, but with a smaller audience.

You can go straight into the Direct portion of the app with a new inbox button in the top left of the home screen, where you'll see both read and unread messages, along with "Direct Requests" from people that you don't follow. The latest update is already live in the Play Store, so have at it.

Source: Instagram

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • Nice surprised #phonebeard.
  • Pointless feature Sent via the Android 5.0 MilkShake.
  • Not if you are a tween.
  • Care to elaborate why you think so? Seems like something that people will really take advantage of.
  • Since the update, my IG stream and twitter timeline have been nothing but people upset about it, and the fact it can't be disabled. I only have 5000 or so followers, which is relatively small sample base, but I've yet to see any positive feedback on it or excitement about it as a feature. So, a lot of people do not find it useful, as well. However, I can definitely see teens, trying to hide stuff from mom and dad, being completely thrilled with this. Posted via Android Central App
  • This is exactly my problem with it. I follow my daughter, and it's a condition of her having IG in the first place. Now I have no way to see what she's sharing with people anymore. Services like this that are geared towards minors, or at least become very popular among them, need a means of parental control built in. But then they probably wouldn't become popular among minors, or they would move on to something else. It's becoming increasingly difficult to monitor what kids do these days.
  • When has an ANY update to Instagram been well-received? Posted via Android Central App
  • I've never seen any of the people I follow complain about IG updates before this. Again, this is based on my own experience and small group of followers. Yours may be different. Posted via Android Central App
  • I was really hoping they would give the app a makeover but it seems as if Facebook and Instagram doesn't put much priority on Android Development. Posted via Android Central App
  • Clearly its more important to Instagram to have an identifiable and familiar interface across platforms than it is to follow tightly to Android design guidelines. And as long as the app works and is functional (it is), then I don't have much of an issue with that.
  • I wasn't referring that they followed tightly to the Android Design Language. I was referring to the fact that they updated the iOS version with a new look while Android is still using the version they ported from iOS with that textured look. Posted via Android Central App
  • Oh I figured this would include direct messages like Twitter. Actual words, not pics and videos. This is fine tho. Posted via Android Central App
  • Send an image directly to someone, and the comments below become your own little dm thread Sent using witchcraft.
  • Wouldn't you just sent it as a MMS or is MMS no hipster enough?
  • Yeah right? Posted via Android Central App
  • Right, because there was no explicit content on Instagram before.
  • Glide is still way better than this 15 second crap...
  • IG is the longer lasting snap chat I see that now Posted via Android Central App
  • This sounds like a great feature. I've definitely wanted to share a particular photo with family but not every single one of my followers. Posted via AC App on HTC One
  • I'm iffy about this...whats next? Instagram asks you what's on your mind?
  • Awesome, now i can add vintage effects to my nudes. :D
  • This is ridiculous. since they were aiming for it to be like kik you shouldn't have to post a picture or video to have a chat with friends. I personally hate it, I doubt I'll ever use kik again! Posted via Android Central App
  • Does anyone know how to erase a whole instagram direct conversation?