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How to Unread Messages on Instagram

Published March 27, 2024

Navigating social media platforms such as Instagram can feel like a minefield. For instance, have you ever opened a message that you didn’t want to? The problem is that other users can see when you’ve read a message and it can be taken personally if you don’t respond to it right away.

There are different reasons you may not want someone to know you’ve read their message. In this article, we’re going to talk about whether you can mark a message as ‘unread’ on Instagram and other alternative methods for maintaining your privacy.

Can You Mark a Message as Unread on Instagram

First, it’s important to note that at this time Instagram doesn’t have an option to mark a message as ‘unread’ directly on the platform. Once you open the message, Instagram notifies the person and it will say ‘seen’ underneath it. While this is designed to foster quick and open communication, some users don’t like the feature.

One thing you can do is turn off read receipts in your settings, but once you’ve opened it you can’t take it back. Here are some workarounds.

Use the “Restrict” Feature

One thing you can do is use the “restrict” feature on Instagram. When you restrict someone, their messages won’t show up in your regular inbox. You’ll need to go to the message requests to find them. This is a useful feature if you want to pause communication with someone but don’t want to block them, or for them to find out you’ve removed them from your account.

Use Airplane Mode

Airplane mode is a handy trick that many users swear by to get around read receipts. If you want to read a message without the user knowing, turn on Airplane Mode before opening Instagram. Make sure the message has been sent so it will load. Airplane Mode cuts off the data connection to your device, which will allow you to open and read the message and it will still look unread. Keep in mind that when you turn off Airplane Mode the message will be marked as read.

Check Your Notifications

If you have message previews on, you should be able to read the first few sentences without actually opening the message. The problem is that if it’s long, you won’t be able to see much of it. Be careful because if you click on the message it will open it and they’ll see you’ve read it.

Turn off Read Receipts

Instagram has finally introduced the option to turn off read receipts! You can go into settings to turn this feature off. The good news is that you can turn it off and on again whenever you’d like. This is a very useful feature for users who don’t want others to know when they’ve opened a message.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that while Instagram doesn’t have a way to mark a message as unread after you open it, there are ways around it. Your best bet is to turn off read receipts so users won’t know when you’ve opened a message.

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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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