It was back in 2016 when Yo Gotti first popularized the phrase, “It goes down in the DMs.” While some tech fads come and go, direct messages have continued to be one of the most happening areas of almost every social media app. Some slide their way to the almighty DMs in hopes of successfully hitting on the person they’ve been admiring from across the grid. Some hit the DMs to reunite with old flames. And, of course, others head to the DMs to harass their fave celeb’s exes.
With so much going on inside one tiny chat bar, navigating your Instagram DMs might have you wanting to tread lightly. (Who hasn’t panicked wondering if the person you’re DMing can see that you’ve screenshotted the chat?) Since, unlike a text, Instagram automatically notifies the sender when you’ve read their message, opening a DM can often feel pretty daunting. (See: If you’re trying to play hard to get with your romantic DM-slider.)
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to prevent other users from seeing when you’ve opened their Instagram DM. So, you can move about your messages freely without an obligation to respond in a timely manner — or respond at all. Here’s a few tips on how to read DMs on Instagram without being seen.
How To Read DMs On Instagram Without Being Seen
If you’ve just received a DM and it’s still in your notifications, one of the easiest ways to read a DM without it being marked as “Seen” is to just read it through the notification blurb. If it’s a fairly short DM, you can likely read the entire message through the notification. However, if it’s longer and you’re using an iPhone, you can expand it by dragging down on the notification when it arrives at the top of your screen, or long pressing on the notification in your notifications bar. If you’re using an Android, you can expand the message by clicking the down arrow next to the notification. Click carefully, though. If you tap on the notification by accident, it will open Instagram, and the message will be marked as read.
One of the other most reliable ways to read a DM without being seen is to restrict the user messaging you. The feature is basically a way to limit someone’s ability to engage with you on Instagram without needing to block or unfollow them. Restricting someone on Instagram moves any messages they send you into your message requests, and does not notify them when you’ve read their messages until you accept the DM (at which point, you’ll be prompted to unrestrict them). When you restrict a user, they will not be notified, so you can get some space from your nosy aunt without stirring the pot at your next family reunion.
To restrict someone, head to their profile and click the three dots in the top right corner of your screen. The first option on the pop-up menu will say “Restrict.” Click this button, then confirm this decision. Once you’ve restricted them, you can open their message in your message request without them knowing you’ve done so. And just like that, you’ve out-witted even the savviest DM slider.