How to Reply to a Message on Instagram – The Ultimate 2022 Guide

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Hey there! Do you ever see those notification dots on Instagram and wonder how to properly respond? Replying to messages might seem tricky at first, but it‘s super easy once you get the hang of it.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about replying to Instagram messages. Whether you want to respond to an existing chat or start a brand new conversation, you‘ll be an Instagram messaging pro after reading this.

Let‘s dive in!

Accessing Your Instagram Direct Messages

The first step is getting to your messages so you can see who sent you something and reply. Here‘s how to access Instagram DM no matter where you are:

On Mobile

  • Open up the Instagram app on your phone.
  • Tap the paper airplane icon in the top right of your feed. This will open your messages.

Instagram paper airplane icon

Pro Tip: You can also swipe right from your feed to quickly open your messages inbox!

On Desktop

  • Go to and log into your account.
  • Click the paper airplane icon next to the notifications bell in the top right.

Once you‘ve accessed your messages, you‘ll see a list of your conversations on the left side and the selected conversation‘s messages on the right. Now let‘s get to replying!

Replying to an Existing Message

When a friend or follower sends you an Instagram DM, you‘ll get a notification on your phone and a red dot on the paper airplane icon. Here‘s how to open it up and respond:

On Mobile

  • Open the conversation with the message you want to reply to.
  • Tap the text field at the bottom of the screen to bring up the keyboard.
  • Type out your response. Feel free to add emoji, photos, videos, or anything else you want!
  • When you‘re ready, tap the blue arrow on the right side to send your message.

Replying to Instagram message on mobile

Pro Tip: You can swipe right on a message to quickly reply to it!

On Desktop

  • Open the conversation with the message you want to respond to.
  • Click in the text box at the bottom of the window to start typing.
  • Craft your reply, adding any emoji, images, or other content you want.
  • Press enter or click the send button (blue paper airplane) to send your message.

Replying is lightning fast whether you‘re on mobile or desktop! The user will now see your response in their messages.

Replying in Group Chats

Did your friend add you to a group conversation? Replying works the same way:

  • Open the group chat you want to respond in.
  • Locate the specific message you want to reply to.
  • Tap/click the text box and type out your reply.
  • Hit send to post your response in the group chat.

All members of the group conversation will be able to see your reply. Before responding, double check that you have the right chat open so you don‘t mistakenly reply to the wrong thread!

Replying to a Specific Message

Want to directly reply to a particular message further up in your chat history? Quote replying adds context so everyone knows what you‘re responding to.

On Mobile

  • Open the conversation and find the message you want to directly reply to.
  • Long press the message to pull up the menu.
  • Tap "Reply" from the menu options.
  • The message will be quoted in the text field. Type your response above the quoted message.
  • Once you‘ve typed your reply, tap send to post it.

Replying to specific Instagram message on mobile

On Desktop

  • Open your conversation and hover over the message you want to directly reply to.
  • Click the reply arrow icon (curving to the left) that pops up.
  • The message will be quoted in the text field. Write your reply above it.
  • Press enter or click the send button when ready.

Quote replying makes it super clear what you‘re responding to, even if the original message was sent a long time ago.

Starting a Brand New Chat

Want to message someone who hasn‘t DM‘ed you first? Starting a new convo is simple:

On Mobile

  • Tap the paper airplane icon to open your messages.
  • Tap the pencil icon in the top right corner.
  • Search for whoever you want to message by name or username.
  • Tap their name when it pops up.
  • Type out your message in the text box at the bottom.
  • Hit the send arrow to start the conversation!

Starting new Instagram chat on mobile

On Desktop

  • Click the paper airplane to open messages.
  • Click "New Message" in the top right corner.
  • Search for the user‘s name or username.
  • Select their name when it appears.
  • Type out your first message and hit enter or click send.

It‘s that simple to start a brand new DM chat on Instagram! The user will get a notification that you messaged them.

Handy Messaging Tips & Tricks

Here are some super useful tips to level up your Instagram messaging game:

  • React to messages with emoji: Just double tap a message to pull up the emoji picker.
  • Forward messages: Long press any message, tap "Forward", and pick a conversation to share it in.
  • Save space: Delete old conversations by long pressing the thread and tapping "Delete".
  • Unsend messages: Long press a sent message and tap "Unsend" to delete it from the conversation (you only have a few seconds to unsend after sending!).
  • See when messages are seen: Turn on read receipts in your settings.
  • Customize notifications: You can turn notifications on or off for specific conversations.
  • Share posts/profiles: Tap the paper airplane from anywhere in the app to share stuff via DM.

Trouble Replying to Messages? Here‘s Why:

If you‘re suddenly unable to reply to messages, here are some common reasons why:

  • No internet connection – Make sure your WiFi or mobile data is connected. Instagram messaging requires an internet connection.
  • You‘re blocked – You won‘t be able to message someone who has blocked you on Instagram. Their messages will disappear from your inbox.
  • Restricted account – Violating Instagram‘s guidelines can result in temporary restrictions that disable messaging. These usually go away after a short time.
  • Outdated app – Make sure to update to the latest version of the Instagram app, as older versions can be buggy.
  • App glitches – Force close and relaunch the app if you‘re experiencing weird glitches.

If issues continue to persist, contacting Instagram support can help get your account back in tip-top messaging shape.

The Bottom Line

Phew, we covered a lot of ground here! Here are the key points:

  • Access Instagram Direct by tapping the paper airplane icon or swiping right from your feed.
  • Reply to existing messages by opening the conversation and typing in the text box at the bottom.
  • Respond to group chats by finding the conversation and replying normally.
  • Quote reply to a specific message by long pressing it and selecting "Reply".
  • Start new conversations from your messages inbox or by tapping the paper airplane icon.
  • Use handy messaging tips like reacting, forwarding, unsending, and more.
  • Troubleshoot reply issues by checking your connection, app version, account restrictions, etc.

Wahoo – now you‘re a pro at replying to messages on Instagram! Thanks for reading this guide – now you can respond to all those DM notifications like a boss. Happy messaging!


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.