How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen: Our Tips for Being Invisible

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Heidi Lang

Instagram 101 | Dec 05, 2022

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If you’re an avid Instagram user, chances are you communicate with others via Instagram direct messages. This feature offers a quick and easy way to chat with your friends and other users. But as you may know, the sender can see when the receiver views the messages. This is thanks to the read receipt that’s attached when the message is opened. 


Sometimes though, you might not want to let the other person know you’ve read their message. Maybe you’re thinking about blocking them. Or perhaps you don’t have the time to respond right away, but still want to see what the sender said. If so, you may be wondering how to read Instagram messages without being seen. Is it even possible? Yes – sort of. Currently, there is no in-app way to do this. However, there are a few workarounds. Eager to learn more? We’re here to break it all down.

Person peeking through curtains.

What Are Instagram Messages?

Before we get into how to read Instagram messages without being seen, let’s take some time to explain the basics. If you’re new to the social media platform, you might not know much about direct messages or, simply, Instagram dm’s.  Basically, this is an in-app way for users to communicate with each other. Through Instagram, you are able to send messages to one or more people with text, photos or videos. Instagram also allows you to send users’ posts and account profiles through direct messages.

Many people use this feature to quickly communicate with their friends, families and followers. You can also send direct messages to your favorite influencers and celebrities. It’s a great way for them to feel approachable and better connected with fans. However, when you send a message to someone who doesn’t follow you, it will appear as a request in their inbox.

Person holding smartphone, opened to Instagram log-in screen.

Can You Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen?

Now that you are an expert when it comes to the background of Instagram direct messages, let’s dig a little deeper. After all, we’re here to learn a specific topic. And that is, can you read Instagram messages without being seen? And if so, how? As we mentioned before the answer is sort of. Let’s clear that up a little more for you.

Currently, one of Instagram’s official features is to attach a read receipt to all direct messages. This is a small text icon that will automatically appear underneath a message once the receiver has opened and read it. There is no way to mark direct messages as unread through the app. Many people hope this may change in the future with major updates to the Instagram app. Be sure to keep up with the latest tech news to be notified of all new software releases and added features.

However, the receiver does have some options when it comes to how to read Instagram messages without being seen. But you’ll need to take a couple of steps outside of the app in order to explore and implement most of these. And you’ll always want to remember this. While there are ways to stay invisible while still viewing messages, they aren’t permanent options. By that, we mean that these are temporary fixes.

Eventually, the sender will be able to see that you’ve read a message. So, essentially, you are doing it for your own convenience. There are still many bonuses to learn how to do this. It can be extremely helpful if you want a reminder that you need to go back and answer certain messages. Or perhaps you just want to be nosy. By this, we mean looking to see what the message says – without the pressure of having to send an immediate response.

Person looking at smartphone, learning how to read Instagram messages without being seen.

How to Read Direct Messages on Instagram Without Being Seen

Congratulations, you now have the basic knowledge and understanding of how Instagram messages work. In fact, you’re ready to keep moving on with our tutorial. That’s right. It’s finally time to explore all the options available and learn how to read direct messages on Instagram without being seen. As we mentioned before, these are all workaround methods to use – both in and out of the app.

There is no way inside of Instagram to secretly read messages without the sender knowing. You’ll need to use a few other basic functions on your phone to achieve this. Below, we’ll outline a few of the most popular ways to learn how to read Instagram messages without being seen. While these work on both iPhones and Androids, we’ll cover a few more specific points later on below. Make sure you’ve got your device handy so you can give these all a try as we go.

Person holding smartphone, opened to Instagram app.

How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen: Using Airplane Mode

One easy way to learn how to read Instagram messages without being seen when using your personal Instagram account? Utilizing your phone’s airplane mode setting. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, placing your phone in airplane mode disconnects the internet connection as well as the cellular network. Therefore, you are unable to send or receive calls and texts or use most app functions, including Instagram.

So, if you access your Instagram direct messages while in airplane mode, you are able to read new messages without being seen. It’s a secretive, invisible way to go about it – but it’s fleeting. Wondering what we mean? The anonymity will only last until your internet or cellular connection is turned back on. Then, your device (and read receipts) will catch back up. Still interested in giving this method a try? Simply follow the below steps, as outlined for iPhone users.

  1. From your home screen, swipe down from the upper righthand corner. This will access your phone’s control center with a drop-down menu.
  2. Next, turn on airplane mode by tapping on the plane icon. Both your wifi and cellular data icons will disappear, indicating they are off.
  3. Open your Instagram app and access your direct messages. Now you can open any message and read the contents – all without the sender getting a read receipt.

Like we mentioned above, keep in mind that your invisibility will only last as long as your phone is in airplane mode. Once cellular data or wifi is back on, a read receipt will automatically attach to the message. This will show the sender that you have in fact seen and read the message.

Person using smartphone to learn how to read Instagram messages without being seen.

How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen: Using Restrict Mode

Are you looking for another alternative option to how to read Instagram messages without being seen? You can try placing the sender in restrict mode. By doing this, it will automatically turn their message into a message request. While this option is a bit more cumbersome, it does work.

This is because Instagram message requests are always marked as unread – even if you’ve read them. And it’s a bit more permanent than using the airplane method option. Message requests will stay permanently marked as unread until you accept the message. To accomplish this workaround, we’ve outlined the steps for you below.

  1. First, open your Instagram account and go to the profile of the message sender in question.
  2. Next, tap the three dots icon from the upper righthand corner and select the restrict option. This will be just opposite their profile picture.
  3. You’ll need to confirm your desire to resist this Instagram user with an additional button tap.

Now, this user will be placed on your restricted list. This will make all their messages show up as message requests, letting you view them before accepting them. This way, the sender will not know you have read the message when, in fact, you have. You’ll want to be sure to remember that you’ve placed this user in restrict mode. It can affect other functions available between the two of you in the app. This mode will also hide comments and likes from them.

Women excited to learn how to read Instagram messages without being seen.

How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen: Using Third-Party Apps

These days, it seems like there are third-party services and apps for everything related to Instagram. And we mean everything – from seeing who views your Instagram to learning how to add music to your Instagram content. And, yes, that even includes figuring out how to read Instagram messages without being seen. If this idea is something that interests you, take to the internet or your phone’s app store for a quick search on the topic. You’ll be able to find a variety of options to choose from, some that are free and some that cost money. Keep in mind that these costs can be both upfront and through in-app purchases after download. Some popular third-party apps offer even more alternatives to opening Instagram messages. These include receiving your direct messages straight to your email address, meaning you never even open the message in the app.

If this is a route you wish to take, it does come with a few warnings. We strongly recommend taking the time to do thorough research and read user reviews as well as privacy policies. These third-party apps may require you to log into Instagram through their app, which can give them access to your account.

By knowing all the detailed facts beforehand, you will get the best possible experience without jeopardizing your content or privacy. You’ll also want to make sure you follow the outlined directions and instructions. This will ensure you are properly learning how to mark Instagram messages as unread with the help of a third-party app.

Person showing friends how to read Instagram messages without being seen.

How to Read Group Messages on Instagram Without Being Seen

Another official feature of Instagram direct messages? The ability to send group messages through the app, to more than one person. It offers an efficient way to send news, posts or social updates to a group of people. This can be a small collection of friends or family that you frequently interact with on the app. You can even use the group message feature to send out business advertisements to many followers or customers at once.

But what if you are the receiver? Group messages tend to lead to a large influx of messages at once, given that there are so many people chiming in. And perhaps you simply can’t keep up with the chat. Or maybe you prefer to simply know what’s going on without actively participating in the conversation. Have you been wondering how to read group messages on Instagram without being seen? If so, you’re in luck.

As it turns out, the same steps we’ve outlined above will also work for group messages. That’s right. Simply choose your favorite method you learned and apply it to any group messages you are part of. However, keep in mind that the restrict method of how to read Instagram messages without being seen may be trickier.

If there are a good amount of people included in the group chat, we recommend using the airplane mode method. This will be the easiest and quickest way to check your group messages. But remember – your read receipt notification will attach to the messages once you take your phone off airplane mode.

Women using her smartphone to figure out how to read Instagram messages without being seen.

How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen Depending on Your Device

Now we’ve outlined a few key ways to figure out how to read Instagram messages without being seen. In fact, you’re probably ready to get started and try a few out with your own phone. As you can imagine, everyone has their own personal preference of a device to access Instagram. Some people prefer Apple electronics while others are devoted to their Android devices. There are also people who typically access Instagram through a computer or laptop, using a web browser.

Since there are often different operating systems depending on your device, it’s common that apps have a different way of working. You may be wondering if these techniques will work on any type of device. You’ll be relieved to know that the answer is yes. The methods we outlined above will work on both iPhones and Androids. In fact, let’s review them again below.

How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen on iPhone

As you know by now, you’ll need to use a workaround method when it comes to how to read Instagram messages without being seen on iPhone. Hopefully, in the future, this feature will be built into Instagram with an app update. For now, we suggest using the airplane mode method on your iPhone. Keep in mind that this will only work while your phone is in airplane mode. Once your wifi or cellular network is restored, you’ll no longer be invisible. Ready to review the easy steps one more time?

  1. From your home screen, swipe down from the upper righthand corner. This will access your phone’s control center with a drop-down menu.
  2. Next, turn on airplane mode by tapping on the plane icon. Both your wifi and cellular data icons will disappear, indicating they are off.
  3. Open your Instagram app and access your direct messages. Now you can open any message and read the contents – all without the sender getting a read receipt.

Smartphone opened to social media folder.

How to Read Instagram Messages Without Being Seen on Android

Android users, you’re up. Wondering how to read Instagram messages without being seen on an Android? The methods you’ll use will be the same as on an iPhone. However, you’ll need to tailor the steps to fit your specific device. For example, the process of how to turn your phone on airplane mode. The best way to move forward is to understand how your own device operates. This will ensure you are properly putting these methods to use. Let’s revisit the airplane mode method, but for an Android phone.

  1. Grab your phone and open the settings app.
  2. Tap on network and internet.
  3. Find airplane mode and tap to turn on and off.

Pro tip: You can also quickly turn airplane mode on and off by swiping down from the top of your screen.

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