How to Use Instagram Direct to Send Disappearing Photos and Videos

Disappearing Instagram direct photos and videos make the social media app even more like its rival, Snapchat.

Snapchat is the original platform for sending quirky, spur of the moment photos that are only meant to be viewed once before they disappear forever. But just as we saw with the rollout of Instagram stories, the competing social media photo apps are becoming more and more alike. Case in point: Instagram lets you send disappearing photos to one or more of your contacts without sending them to your feed. In this way, Instagram Direct is pretty much the same thing as Snapchat. We’ll show you how it works.

How to Send Direct Messages to Select Followers Using Instagram

Direct messages first rolled out in late 2013, but it got an overhaul this year that combined disappearing photos and videos with the text-based inbox. When you use it, it feels very much the same as the iOS messages app or a Snapchat conversation.

The feature lets you send photos, videos, and text to just one or more Instagram users (instead of all your followers). To begin, tap the mail icon in the upper right-hand corner, tap New Message, search, or choose from the list of followers.

This will take you to a traditional messaging interface where you can capture a photo using the blue camera button to take a photo. You can also choose a photo from your library or write a message, then tap the send button.

After snapping a photo, you can choose VIEW ONCE or ALLOW REPLAY along the bottom before hitting send.

When you send a photo or video, it’ll appear in the conversation as “Delivered.”

Once your contact views it, it’ll show up as “Opened.” If you chose “VIEW ONCE,” they’ll only be able to play it once.

If you’ve chosen “ALLOW REPLAY,” you’ll be able to see if they go back and replay it.

Facebook, Instagram’s parent company has also opened up the app to other services, too. So, if you have a friend who is not on Instagram, but you would like to share a picture with them, you can. Tap the more actions menu in the top right corner. Tap Share to Messenger, type a message then choose to send to a group or select friends.

Note that when you send direct Instagram photos to contacts outside of Instagram, you cannot send disappearing photos or videos. You won’t get the option to VIEW ONCE or ALLOW REPLAYS.

There you have it: a few ways to share pictures, videos, and text messages on Instagram. Remember to check out our What’s New? Instagram Features, Tips, Tricks, and Updates to get up to speed with many of the new features and functions.

Are you a Snapchat user? How does Instagram Direct compare? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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