How To Delete Instagram Messages (From Both Sides) – The Ultimate 2022 Guide

default image

Wondering how to remove those embarrassing, improper or mistaken messages you sent on Instagram? Want to delete private conversations before deactivating your account?

This comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about deleting Instagram direct messages on both iOS and Android.

By the end, you‘ll be able to secretly remove messages and full conversations without leaving a trace. Let‘s dive in!

Can You Actually Delete Instagram Messages?

The short answer – yes, you can delete Instagram direct messages!

However, it doesn‘t work exactly the same as on other messaging platforms. Instagram uses the term "unsending" instead of deleting.

When you unsend an Instagram message, it disappears from the conversation as if it was never sent in the first place. Pretty neat right?

Now let‘s look at how to do this step-by-step.

Step-By-Step Guide To Deleting Instagram Messages

Deleting or "unsending" Instagram messages is a simple process:

  1. Open the Instagram app and tap the paper airplane icon in the top right corner to access your direct messages.

  2. Locate the conversation containing the message you want to delete.

  3. Tap and hold the message to select it. This will bring up a menu overlay.

  4. On the menu, tap "Unsend" to delete the message.

Unsend Instagram message

And that‘s it! The message will be removed from the conversation on both ends.

Pretty simple right? Now let‘s go over what exactly happens when you delete an Instagram DM.

What Happens When You Delete An Instagram Message?

When you hit "Unsend" on an Instagram message, here‘s what happens:

  • The message is permanently deleted from the conversation for both you and the recipient.

  • Neither you nor the recipient will be able to see the message anymore.

  • The message is deleted from Instagram‘s servers – there is no way to retrieve it.

  • Instagram does NOT notify the recipient that the message was deleted.

So in summary – the message vanishes without leaving a trace! It‘s like it was never sent at all.

This is great for removing messages that you regret or that contain sensitive information.

For example, many users delete messages before deactivating their Instagram account. This removes any private conversations from the platform entirely.

However, there are a couple caveats to be aware of when deleting Instagram messages:

  • You can only delete messages individually – there‘s no way to mass delete an entire conversation.

  • Recipients may see a notification briefly before you unsend, so be quick if you want to delete a mistaken message.

  • Once a message is deleted, it CANNOT be recovered. So only delete messages you‘re 100% sure about removing.

Overall though, unsending provides a quick and easy way to remove messages on Instagram without a trace. It‘s very useful for managing your conversations and privacy.

Next let‘s look at how long you have to delete a message after sending it.

How Long Can You Delete An Instagram Message After Sending?

There is no time limit for deleting Instagram messages. You can unsend a DM at any time after sending it.

Even if it‘s an old conversation from months or years ago, you can still delete individual messages from the chat.

So whether you want to delete a recent embarrassing message or an old conversation before deactivating your account, it‘s never too late to unsend DMs on Instagram.

The only exception is messages in group chats. For group conversations, you only have a limited time to unsend a message:

  • For groups with 5 or less participants: You can unsend for up to 10 minutes after sending.

  • For groups with 6-15 participants: Unsend limit is 5 minutes after sending.

  • Groups larger than 15: Can only unsend in the first minute after sending.

But for regular 1-on-1 conversations, you have as long as you want to remove messages. Just open up the chat and hit unsend whenever you please!

Next let‘s talk about how to delete entire conversations (not just individual messages).

How To Delete Entire Conversations on Instagram

While you can easily delete individual messages, Instagram doesn‘t provide an option to mass delete entire conversations.

To remove a full conversation on Instagram, you need to manually unsend each of your own messages one by one.

As you can imagine, this can be extremely tedious for long back-and-forth conversations spanning hundreds of messages.

Many users understandably get frustrated about this limitation. But unfortunately manually deleting each message is the only way to fully remove a conversation on both ends.

There are a couple of shortcuts, but these have significant limitations:

Delete Conversation From Your Inbox

You can remove a conversation from your main messages list by swiping left on it and tapping "Delete". However, this only deletes the conversation locally from your inbox.

All of the messages will still be present in the recipient‘s inbox. So it doesn‘t actually remove anything.

Block The Recipient

Blocking someone prevents future messages, but does not delete existing conversations. The blocked person can still view your previous messages.

So neither of these shortcuts allows you to mass delete a conversation. The only full proof method is manually unsending each message individually. I know, it‘s far from ideal.

Many users have requested Instagram add a "Delete Conversation" option. But so far the platform has not implemented this ability.

Until then, buckle down and start tapping Unsend if you really want a conversation gone for good!

Can Someone Else Delete Messages You Sent Them?

Nope! On Instagram, you can only delete messages that you yourself have sent from your own account.

For one-on-one conversations, only the sender can unsend their messages. The recipient cannot delete messages you‘ve sent them.

Similarly in group chats, each member can only remove their own messages. No one can delete DMs sent by another user.

So you don‘t have to worry about someone else removing messages you sent them. You have full control and only you can delete your own sent messages.

Next let‘s talk about whether blocking deletes messages.

Does Blocking On Instagram Delete Messages?

If you block someone on Instagram, it does NOT delete any messages from previous conversations you‘ve had.

All of your existing direct message history will still be visible to the blocked person. They can simply open your chat in their messages and see the full conversation.

Blocking only prevents new messages moving forward. It does not retroactively erase chat history.

So if you want to delete a conversation when blocking someone, you need to manually unsend all messages first before hitting the block button.

Otherwise your private chats will remain visible even if blocked.

Do Deleted Instagram Accounts Remove Messages?

If someone you were messaging deletes their Instagram account, it does NOT remove their messages from your conversations.

Their messages will still be present in your inbox, under the username "Facebook User" or their linked phone number.

You can manually unsend their messages using the steps above. But deleting their account does not automatically wipe your chat history.

The same applies if you delete your own Instagram account. Your messages will remain visible in recipients‘ inboxes and are not deleted or anonymized.

The only way to fully remove your message history is to unsend all conversations before deactivating your account. Otherwise your DMs live on after you‘re gone!

Recovering Deleted Instagram Messages

Is it possible to retrieve an Instagram message after accidentally deleting it? Unfortunately, no – unsending a message permanently erases it with no way to recover.

Once you hit unsend, the message is deleted from Instagram‘s servers and can‘t be retrieved by anyone – even Instagram itself has no access.

If you immediately regret deleting a meaningful message, there is unfortunately no way to get it back. That‘s why it‘s crucial to be 100% certain before removing any important conversations.

Some third party apps claim they can recover deleted Instagram messages. However, I don‘t recommend risking these services for a few key reasons:

  • They violate Instagram‘s terms of service and could get your account banned.

  • You compromise account security by giving them access.

  • Most are scams that don‘t actually work as promised.

  • Deleted messages are erased from Instagram‘s servers, so they can‘t really be "undeleted".

For your own privacy and account safety, it‘s best to assume deleted messages are gone forever when hitting unsend.

Third Party Instagram Delete Message Apps

Speaking of third party apps, you may come across services that claim to let you mass delete Instagram conversations.

However, I advise staying away from these delete message apps for several reasons:

  • They violate Instagram‘s terms of service – automated deletion using third party apps can earn you a ban.

  • Security risks – granting off-platform access introduces vulnerabilities and compromises your data/privacy.

  • Unreliable – most don‘t actually work as advertised and are just trying to make a quick buck.

  • Message recovery – claims of recovering deleted messages are bogus (as we learned above).

While the idea of being able to mass delete conversations sounds great, these delete apps cause more potential harm than good.

For your own safety and privacy, stick to manually deleting messages through Instagram‘s official interface. It‘s more work, but far less risky.

Instagram Delete Message FAQs

Let‘s round things off by answering some frequently asked questions around deleting Instagram direct messages:

How do you delete individual messages on Instagram?

Use the unsend feature – long press a message and tap "Unsend". You can only delete messages one at a time.

Can someone see if you delete their Instagram message?

No, Instagram does not notify users when you unsend their message. But they may notice it disappear suddenly.

Can you mass delete Instagram conversations?

Unfortunately, no. You have to manually unsend each message individually. There‘s no "delete conversation" feature.

Do deleted Instagram messages stay on the server?

No, unsent messages are permanently erased and can‘t be retrieved by anyone, including Instagram.

What if you unsend a message right after sending?

The recipient might briefly see a notification before it vanishes. So be quick if it‘s an accidental message.

Can a deleted Instagram conversation be recovered?

No, there is no way to retrieve deleted messages or conversations on Instagram after unsending.

Do messages disappear when you delete your account?

No, your messages stay visible in other users‘ inboxes. You must delete conversations before deactivating.

Can someone else delete the messages you sent them?

No, only the sender can unsend their own Instagram messages. Recipients can‘t delete messages you sent.

Does blocking on Instagram remove existing messages?

No, blocking only stops new messages – previous message history remains visible.

I hope this guide gave you clarity on how deleting messages works on Instagram. While the platform doesn‘t make it easy to mass delete conversations, you can still remove messages with some strategic unsending.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.