Do you want to make your Instagram DMs invisible to any prying eyes? By the end of this article you will have a better understanding of the necessary steps to hide Instagram chats – whether you use an iPhone or an Android device.
Hello friends! Frankie Caruso here – your own personal messaging app expert and hacking enthusiast.
Have you recently become afraid someone might be trying to read your Instagram DMs? Do you think you might be getting spied on when you are using the service?
If this applies to you, you have come to the right place. Today I am going to guide you through the process of hiding Instagram chats using iOS and Android with just a few easy steps.
As is the case with all other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, people want to know what you are saying in private conversations.
Many of these more popular messaging apps already offer a feature to allow you to archive your messages.
This is a handy feature to use if you do not want an active chat you are using to appear directly on the main chat list screen but have no desire to permanently delete it from the service either.
In many cases, people use this feature when they intend to hide WhatsApp chats.
As I am writing this, however, there is no such means of archiving messages and conversations on Instagram. This is a decision made by the development team, which means it’s possible it could change in the years to come.
There is a general workaround, though. We will discuss sort of an archive system that is possible a little later on.
Not to worry about any of it though, there are still more methods of allowing you to hide your conversations effectively. Let’s take a closer look at all of these so you can choose for yourself.
5 Ways to Make Your Instagram Chats Invisible
Now that a little more light has been shed on what it means to hide Instagram conversations, perhaps now is the time to delve a little more deeply into actually doing it.
The following paragraphs detail multiple methods for hiding your Instagram Direct chats.
Once you read through this, you can find credible ways to make your conversations disappear without actually deleting them forever.
1. Block a User Temporarily
One of the first steps that you can take to hide Direct conversations happening on Instagram is to temporarily block a user.
Does it seem drastic? Kind of. But the good thing about it is that it is reversible at any time.
Beyond the fact that this user can no longer contact you, the blocking option is also handy because it makes the entire chat history between you and that individual vanish automatically.
If someone is going to be checking your phone or using it for an extended period, you can enable this block to avoid raising any suspicions.
Block a user on Instagram by tapping the three dots at the top right and selecting to Block them. Once you have done this, you should remember that you will not be able to access their information.
To unblock someone, you just press the unblock button and confirm in the popup window that will appear on the screen.
If you need more information about this approach, you can check out a guide I wrong about how to block someone on Instagram.
While it might seem dramatic, temporarily blocking a use can also be effective for the hiding purposes. You can easily unblock the individual in a matter of taps.
2. Delete Direct Chat History
Another way for you to hide Instagram messages is to delete the chat history.
In this case you would take screenshots of the messages you wish to save and keep them as media content on your phone.
If you want to do this a little faster and have a convenient file for the whole conversation, you can capture a short video clip of scrolling through the conversation using the screen capture feature. Once the messages have been saved by the method of your choosing, you can then safely delete them permanently from Instagram.
I would say, though, that there is a weak link to this possible process.
If anyone were to use your phone, it would not be hard for them to find your Instagram messages and media stored in the gallery. I would suggest moving these images to the cloud or to place them in a vault that is not accessible from third parties.
I would also suggest blocking the Instagram user you are chatting with as well. Otherwise, someone is going to be using your smartphone while this other person is looking to continue the conversation and then you are exposed immediately.
Deleting conversations and keeping screenshots of what is important can be a solid solution to keeping prying eyes from your messages. Only use this though if you are sure that no one can get into your phone when you are not around – but it might even still be possible for someone to get a peek into your gallery.
3. Secure Your Chats with a Password
In a different guide I spoke about how to set a password for WhatsApp. Sadly, this feature in this capacity is not available yet for Instagram. There are alternate solutions, however, to set a password for access to your Direct Messages.
First and foremost, make sure that the unlock code used for your phone is secure enough. This is your first ‘barrier’ against intrusion and priers into your private life. By properly managing the unlock code, you can prevent a great number of potential issues with your phone and accounts.
If you really just want to set a password to protect the Instagram chats, you will have to use one of several third-party applications to help.
While these work, they are not impenetrable. Someone can just delete/uninstall the application providing the Instagram block and resume reading things normally. You can find several of these types of programs by getting in the app stores and typing in ‘app locker.’
I would say that locking up your app with a password is one of the more effective methods of keeping prying eyes away from your conversations. I would suggest, though, that if you are hiding apps away from your partner, you come up with a good reason that you protected these conversations with a password to avoid suspicions.
4. Mark Messages and Change List
There is a highly advanced method of making Directs invisible on your Instagram, which involves using the Markup filter. You can find this in with the Directs menu.
First things first: find about ten chats that are on your main page of active conversations and you have no intentions of hiding. Next, long press these items and choose the Mark option.
Initially, it will seem like nothing happened. Once you tap the Direct options – a menu button appearing by Search – you find the option to filter by Marked Conversations.
If you do this as described, marked conversations will appear on the chats screen. Any of the unmarked (conversations you wish to hide) will no longer be on this screen.
This is a fair trick to make your secret chats vanish, but only if those peeping your profile do not know about how it works. If they know about the markup, they will be able to find your private conversations quickly.
5. Archive Your Instagram Chats
I did say at the beginning of this article that archiving conversations as you know it would not be possible. Unlike WhatsApp and Messenger, these features do not directly exist for Instagram users.
Instead, you can download a file that contains all of the data of your account – including these chats. This archive allows you to read the contents of these messages at any time.
Next, I am going to explain how to perform this operation through the app for Android/iOS and from your computer. You would access the web version of Instagram to do this on your computer.
From a Smartphone or Tablet
To archive Instagram chats using portable devices, you need to access the Instagram app from your phone or tablet.
Here is what you need to do:
- Launch the app and login to your account if you have not already done so
- Tap on the pawn icon (or the thumbnail of your profile if you have multiple accounts) and navigate to your profile section
- Next, click on the hamburger menu icon (☰) in the upper right corner and choose Settings.
- Choose Security and then Download Data. You are going to need to fill out some information in the available fields that pop up to verify your account details and credentials.
- Tap the Request Download button and confirm operation by entering your Instagram password.
- All that is left to do is choose Next, and then Done.
Once you complete this, you will be able to receive an email from Instagram containing a link for you to download this large file with your account information and content. This file includes your as much of your chat history as you have available including conversations recently deleted.
To download this file, you just click the button saying Download Data, login to your account, and verify the want to save it.
To see the archived chats contained in this file, you will need to extract the zip folder and find the file named messages.json.
In order to view chats downloaded from Instagram, refer to the chapter available in this guide written about retrieving deleting Instagram messages.
From Your Computer
You can download Instagram chats from your PC by following these steps:
- Start at the official Instagram website and sign in
- Click the pawn icon in the upper right corner
- Click the gear, then Privacy and Security from the menu that appears
- Next click Request Download under the Download Data section here
- You will have to enter your email address where you wish to receive the file and choose Next
- Type your account password to authenticate the request, and then again choose the Request Download command.
Once you do this, you can expect an email within the next 48 hours containing a link to download the archive of your profile information like the chats.
To download this file, you need to click on the Download Data button, and then you will be prompted to login to your Instagram account. Once you do, click to Download Data again and receive the zip file with your information.
Once you extract your archive, look for a file within the folder titled Messages.JSON. For more information about how to read these files, you are going to want to read on in the next paragraph.
How to Read Archived Instagram Chats
Now you might be wondering how to read archived Instagram chats. Obviously you have experienced some issues in opening the file that is contained in the archive that you received.
You should be aware that files with this extension can be accessed with computers using very simple editor programs such as Notepad++ For Windows or Atom for macOS. For smartphones or tablets, you will instead need to use a program like JSON Viewer for Android or Jayson for iOS.
In addition, since the mentioned tools above can allow you to access these files yet only see their structure, you can also use an online tool to view individual files in a more sensible way.
You will need to copy the data contained in the JSON file and paste it to text fields in one of the many online tools that can convert JSON to CSV, such as Konklone.
This is the method that I prefer and would consider the most effective and reliable. The unfortunate aspect is that it requires some tweaking to really work the way it should. It is not always the easiest to perform.
Hiding Instagram Message Notifications
You might wish to prevent getting a notification when you get messages on Instagram.
You should know that, not that long ago a feature was introduced to precisely allow you to mute direct chat notifications.
Activating this option is simple, all you need to do is hold your finger over the conversation in question and then select Disable Messages.
If you don’t wish to do this through Instagram and want to use the smart phone settings on your device to eliminate Instagram notifications instead, I will take the next few paragraphs to describe how to do this.
The Direct Message Preview
As you have already noticed, each time that you receive an Instagram message on either eager Android or iOS device, a preview pops up that reveals the content of your chat and the sender to anyone who can view your screen.
Luckily, it is easy to fix this issue. Allow me to explain.
If you choose and a later point to get these preview notifications again, reversing this choice is simple as well.
Yes, you will be able to activate Instagram notification previews again to view on your smartphone screen without issues should you determine you don’t mind them that much.
If you are using an Android smartphone, the first thing you should do is navigate to your settings menu for the operating system. Here you will find a tab labeled Notification Management, and you can use this to find the Instagram app.
Once you find it you look for entries related to Direct and move the toggle on Allow Notifcations to the left to disable it.
If you want the smartphone to play a sound but not display a preview of the conversation components, you can turn off the Display on Status Bar option listed as well.
Similarly, if you have an iPhone, you can choose to disable previews for Instagram posts easily.
To accomplish this, open your settings menu on your apple smartphone and press the Notifications tab. From here, scroll until you find Notification Preview.
You can choose to uncheck all apps or to just uncheck Instagram at this point.
Alternatively, you can also determine what sort of display or lack thereof you prefer directly in the notification options within the Instagram app as well.
Before concluding the guide fully, I would like to offer one more piece of advice to allow you to hide Instagram posts in the most effective way: do not use Instagram to chat secretly.
Instagram is anything but the safest option when it comes to secret chat solutions.
The service is simply not designed with the features to make this possible and has a list of flaws that could leave your conversation and personal information exposed. Instead, I would recommend that you check out some of the other options that might suit fully private conversations better.
There are many options that fit this description, many of which I have already discussed at great length. You can find a lot of great information about the best secret chat apps by checking out that guide. When you have a couple minutes, ready through it and see what encrypted system might suit you best.
NOTE: Instead of hiding your messages, you might just consider deleting them altogether. I have written a guide all about deleting individual messages or entire chats on Instagram. Take a minute and check it out.