What Do Symbols Mean on Instagram Direct Messages

Instagram Direct Message Symbols Meaning

Instagram Direct Messages (DM) can get confusing at times, especially if you are new to it. You will find a bunch of icons in the Instagram chat that may feel a bit overwhelming. We can understand might be apprehensive about hitting a symbol without knowing its effect. Not to worry. We cover all the Instagram direct message symbols along with their meanings here.

We start with the icons that appear in the chat list and follow that with the symbols that show in an individual chat.

Writing or Pencil Icon

When you open Instagram Direct Messages, you will find the pencil icon at the top. Tapping on this icon will let you create a new message. For instance, if you don’t have an existing chat thread with someone and want to send them a message, tap on this icon, then select the person with whom you want to start a conversation.

Instagram New Message Icon

Video Chat Icon

Next to the new message icon you have the video chat symbol. This Instagram message symbol lets you start a video chat with the person that you can select on the next screen.

Instagram Video Chat Icon

You will find the same icon in an individual chat thread as well. Use it to video call that person or a group if it’s a group chat.

instagram Video Call Icon

Multiple Selection Icon

For Instagram business accounts, you may find the multiple selection icon instead of the video chat icon. Tap on it to select multiple chats and select an action to take, such as delete, mute, flag, etc.

Instagram Multi Select Icon

Red Dot

If you are using multiple Instagram accounts, you may notice a red dot next to your Instagram username in DMs. It means that some other Instagram account has unread notifications. If you tap on the username, you can easily switch between multiple accounts right from the chat list.

Instagram Red Dot Icon

Camera Icon

Right next to all the chats available in the chat list, you have the Disappearing messages icon. It’s a feature available in Instagram Direct messages, which as the name suggests, lets you send disappearing images and videos.

Tapping on it will open the camera. Capture a picture or choose one from your gallery. You can edit the image by adding filters, effects, text, and doodles. Once you capture a photo or select from the gallery, you get three options at the bottom: View once, Allow replay, and Keep in chat.

instagram Camera Disappearing Messages Icon

When the first option is selected, the recipient of the message can see the image or video only once. After he/she views the message, it will disappear automatically and cannot be opened by either party.

Allow replay lets the recipient view the message twice, after which it cannot be opened. Lastly, the message sent via the Keep in chat mode will stay in the chat forever until you delete or unsend it.

The same icon is present in the chat as well. You will find it on the left side of the typing area.

Instagram Camera Disappearing Messages Icon From Chat

When someone sends you a disappearing message, you will see the View Photo message in your chat.

Green Dot

When a person in your chat list is currently online, you will see a green dot on their profile picture in Instagram messages. The green dot appears due to the Activity status feature. You can enable or disable it for your account by going to “Instagram settings -> Privacy -> Activity status.”

Instagram Green Dot Icon


When you mute someone’s Instagram messages, you will see the mute icon (speaker with a bar) next to their name in the chat list. To unmute a person, open the chat thread and tap on the person’s name. Turn off the toggle next to Mute messages.

instagram Mute Icon

Phone Icon

Open an Instagram chat thread, and you have the phone or calling symbol at the top. Use it to call the user or make a group call. As mentioned above, you also get the video call icon in a chat.

instagram Call Icon


At the bottom of the chat are many messaging icons. Use the microphone symbol next to the typing area to send an audio message. Press and hold the microphone button to start recording a message.

Instagram Microphone Icon


Tap on the gallery symbol to view the photos and videos available on your phone. Select an item to send to the user.

Instagram Gallery Icon


You will also find the sticker icon in Instagram chats. Tap on it to select a sticker or GIF. Use them in your chats to make them interesting.

Instagram Sticker Icon

Interestingly, when you start writing, the Camera symbol turns to a search icon. Tap on it and Instagram will show you appropriate GIFs and stickers based on the text message present in the box.

Heart Symbol

If you like an Instagram message, you can react to it with emojis. The default emoji is the red heart icon. It will appear below the message. To choose a different emoji, touch and hold the message.

instagram Heart Icon

Quick Chat

If you own a business account, you will see the Quick chat icon in your chats. Use it to send saved replies to your clients.

15 Instagram Quick Chat Icon

Vanish Mode

If vanish mode is enabled for a chat, you will see its symbol next to the chat in the chat list. Vanish mode is a quirky messaging feature. When enabled, the messages sent and received will automatically disappear from the chat thread when you close the chat.

16 Instagram Vanish Mode Icon

Instagram is loaded with features. While some are hidden, others are quite apparent to the eyes. For instance, did you know you can prevent others from adding you to Instagram chat groups? If you are interested, check out similar useful tips to manage your Instagram profile.

Mehvish Mushtaq
Mehvish Mushtaq

Mehvish is a tech lover from Kashmir. With a degree in computer engineering, she's always been happy to help anyone who finds technology challenging. She's been writing about technology for over six years, and her favorite topics include how-to guides, explainers, tips and tricks for Android, iOS/iPadOS, Windows, social media, and web apps.

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