How to Delete Instagram Messages Permanently

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How to Delete Instagram Messages Permanently

Key Points

  • You can choose to delete all Instagram messages, entire conversations, or just a single message.
  • When you use the delete conversation feature, it only deletes the conversation thread from showing up in your inbox and does NOT delete the conversation, including messages from other parties within the conversation.
  • If you need to delete messages often, another option is to use Vanish Mode. This turns message recording off.

Although people use Instagram to share photos, some use its messaging functionality to interact with friends and new people. All you need is a smartphone and the Internet. Knowing how to use Instagram and especially deleting messages can ensure you make the most of your account. We’ve created this handy guide to show you how to delete Instagram messages permanently.

How to delete your Instagram messages: a step-by-step guide:

Before we start, it’s important to know that you can delete individual messages or an entire conversation from Instagram. We’ll cover both below.

How to delete an entire conversation

1. Open the Instagram app and head into your messages

The home page of the Instagram app.
Select your messages in the upper right corner.

Opening the Instagram app is super easy. Simply press on the Instagram icon and then head over to your messages. To access messages, click on the tab at the top right side of your screen. You will be able to see all your conversations.

2. Tap and hold (Android) or swipe right (iPhone) on the conversation you want to delete

The menu options for a conversation in the Instagram app.
Hold down a conversation and press delete.

Once your messages are open, you will see a list of open conversations in front of you. When tapped, these conversations will open up into the current messages within each thread. To delete the entire thread, tap and hold on to the conversation while on the main conversation menu. This will open up a secondary menu with the option to delete the entire thread.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This feature only deletes the conversation thread from showing up in your inbox and does NOT delete the conversation, including messages from other parties within the conversation.

How to delete a specific message in a conversation (permanent and on all devices)

While deleting a conversation thread can be useful, it won’t remove the message from any other device. If you want to delete a message from all Instagram devices, you need to “unsend” the message. Here’s how to do that.

1. Tap on the conversation where the message was sent.

A conversation in the Instagram app.
Open up a specific conversation in Instagram messenger.

Open up the conversation where the message was sent by tapping any conversation threads from the main messages menu. After tapping, you should now be in a conversation on the messenger with a layout of the recent messages sent in that thread.

2. Tap and hold on the message that you want to unsend

A conversation in the Instagram app with a message selected.
Tap and hold on the message you want to unsend.

Once you hold the message, two menus will appear. The first menu allows you to add an emoji reaction to the message, and the second one is just above your keyboard, which has three options. This is the one we want. In the middle of the menu is the word “unsend.”

Simply tap that button and watch as your message unsends! What this does is remove the message from other users’ devices. It’s a more permanent method of deleting a message than simply deleting the entire conversation!

Instagram allows you to easily delete messages and conversations. In the video below from LoFi Alpaca, you will learn how to delete single messages one at a time in conversations.

How to use the “Vanish Mode” on Instagram, so you don’t need to delete messages

If you regularly need to delete messages, a great option use the “Vanish Mode”. This feature allows you to flip a switch and turn the message recording off for anyone in the conversation.

1. Enter a conversation and swipe up in the messaging area

Vanish Mode Instagram screen shot.
Swipe up in the messaging area to turn on vanishing mode.

While in a conversation, simply swipe up until the circle animation completes and the phone gives a small vibration. You will get a notification that you are in Vanish Mode. Messages and photos sent while in this mode are not saved or recorded to the device of anyone using Vanish Mode.

2. Swipe up again to exit and delete the messages in Vanish Mode

An Instagram message with vanishing mode turning off.
Swipe up to turn off vanishing mode.

When you are done messaging in Vanish Mode, simply swipe up until you see the animation complete. The messages you have just sent will be deleted, and you will know if they have been screenshotted. Enjoy!


Frequently Asked Questions

What two ways can you use to delete Instagram messages?

You can either delete an entire conversation (which only affects your device), or you can unsend a message (removes the message from all devices).

Does Instagram store your messages?

Instagram claims to only hold device data on their servers for 90 days after it is deleted locally, but that number could be inaccurate.

What is Vanish Mode?

Vanish Mode allows you to send and receive messages that are then deleted when the mode is exited.

Does Vanish Mode let you screenshot?

Yes, Vanish Mode does let you screenshot, but it notifies all users who are also in the chat when someone screenshots.

Does deleting Instagram remove messages?

No, deleting your Instagram does not delete messages on other devices that have received the messages.

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