Snapchat might be the reigning photo- and video-messaging app among the youngest millennials, but it’s not the world’s most intuitive platform.
Instagram, however, is much more straightforward and intuitive — and many don’t realise that it also allows users to directly message each other, in a much simpler way than Snapchat does.
Direct messaging has been available on Instagram since 2013, but if you’re not an Instagram obsessive, you might not know how to use it.
You can use Instagram Direct to send photos and videos to up to 15 friends at a time. Unlike standard Instagrams, which can be viewed by the general public or by all of your followers (depending on your privacy settings), Instagram Direct is totally private.
And unlike Snapchat, Instagram won’t delete your message after 24 hours. So if you’re hoping to remember your communications for a while, Instagram might be the photo-messaging app for you.
Here’s how to send a message using Instagram Direct.
Open the Instagram app like you would to post a regular Instagram picture. Tap the blue camera button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo for your message.
Next, snap a picture or video. You’ll have the option to edit, so feel free to add a filter or crop accordingly. When you’re done perfecting your shot, tap the word “Next” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
Tap the word “DIRECT” at the top of your screen.This will send the picture as a private message, instead of sharing it with all of your followers.
If you’d like to add a caption to your picture, type it in the box at the top of your screen.
Choose up to 15 recipients by tapping the circles next to each friend’s name on the right side of the screen. Friends will be listed alphabetically, with your top friends listed first. You’ll see green check marks confirming each friend you’ve selected.
Now it’s time to send your message. Tap the green send bar at bottom of your screen.
Your message will appear at the top of your direct messages feed.
Tap on the message to see if your friends have viewed it yet. If your friend’s picture has a green check mark on it, they have seen your message.
Friends can reply with comments and like your message by pressing the heart icon. You can see those interactions underneath the picture or video and can add your own comments too.
Access your direct messages at anytime by tapping the drawer icon on the top right corner of your home Instagram feed.
And unlike on Snapchat, all of the photos you’ve sent to others will stay there forever.