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How to React to Messages on Instagram: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Published January 30, 2024

Since 2020, Instagram users have been able to use emojis as a way to react and respond to messages without writing anything. It’s a great way to show someone you want to engage with their content, but don’t necessarily have anything to say or want to say anything. 

Keep reading if you want to learn how to react to messages on Instagram like a pro.

Reacting to Messages on a Smartphone

The most common way to use Instagram is on a smartphone. This method works virtually the same for both iPhone and Android phones.

  1. Open Instagram’s app and go to your DMs in the top-right of your feed
  2. Identify and open the conversation that has messages you want to react to
  3. Tap and hold on a message until emojis are displayed
  4. Tap on the emoji you want to react with

Protip: Tap on the + sign to see more emojis to select from.

Reacting to Messages on a Computer

Most users are going into Instagram through their phones. However, some people use Instagram on their computers. This is especially true if you are an influencer or run a business and are operating a business IG account. 

Here is how to react to messages on Instagram using a desktop:

  1. Go to Instagram’s website and log into your account
  2. Head over to your inbox to find and open the conversation you want to react to
  3. Hover over the specific message you want to react to with an emoji. You will see a smiley emoji. Click on it to view all of the emojis you can react with.
  4. Click on the emoji you want to react with and then you will see your reaction displayed just under the message.

Changing an Emoji Reaction

Did you react with a laughing emoji when you meant to react with a crying one? We all make mistakes, but thankfully you can change the emojis you react with if you slip up.

Changing an emoji reaction on Instagram is simple. 

  • Navigate to the message you want to change the emoji reaction for
  • Tap and hold the message
  • Select the new emoji you want to react with and tap on it

This method works the same on both smartphones and computers, and will remove and replace your previous emoji reaction with the updated one. 

And don’t worry, the recipient will not receive an official notification that you have changed the emoji reaction.

Removing a Reaction on Messages

You may want to remove an emoji reaction completely from a message. Maybe you accidentally reacted to a message. If so, here is what you need to do:

  1. Find the emoji reaction you made and tap on it
  2. Tap on the option to Tap to Remove when a popup message displays

That’s all there is to it! This method will work on any device.

Can’t React to Instagram Messages? Here’s What to Do

It’s unlikely, but you may find that you are unable to react to a message on Instagram. If this is the case, there are a few possible culprits. 

Your Instagram App Need to Be Updated

Most often, the issue with being unable to react to IG messages stems from having an outdated Instagram app. 

To resolve this issue, simply update the app to its latest version via the Play Store or App Store. If you see an Update button on the app’s page, it means you need to update it. 

Your Internet Connection Is Slow

Is your Instagram app updated yet you still are unable to react to messages? You could have a slow internet connection.

Check the internet speed with a tool like Speed Test, or simply head to YouTube and try watching a video. If you have trouble loading a video or the speed test shows the upload and download speeds are slow, you have likely found the issue.

If you can, try to use another internet connection in the meantime, or wait until your internet connection improves.

Instagram Is Buggy

All software has bugs, and Instagram is no different. There will occasionally be a glitch that prevents you from being able to react to messages. 

There is nothing you can do if this is the case. You will just need to wait it out until Instagram becomes aware of, and fixes, the bug. Generally speaking, Instagram resolves these issues within a few hours.
Now that you know how to react to messages on Instagram, you can enjoy a more engaging experience with your friends!

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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