Home

 › 

How-to

 › 

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?

Woman holding a phone standing on a heart symbol

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?

Key Points

  • Instagram icons guide users toward features.
  • Understanding Instagram icons is essential to navigate the platform effectively.

Interpreting the meaning of Instagram icons isn’t always intuitive. How are you supposed to know that the paper airplane represents direct messaging or that the clock icon shows your activity history?

Whether you’re new to Instagram or you’ve been wondering about the meaning of Instagram symbols for a while, we’re here to provide you with a helpful explanation.

We’ve broken down the icons by page to help you navigate the app with confidence.

Home Page

Home

The house-shaped icon takes you to your Instagram feed where you can see content posted by the accounts you follow.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The home icon takes you to your feed.

Magnifying Glass

If you tap the magnifying glass icon, you be directed to the Explore page. The Explore page is designed to help you find interesting content, using an algorithm to predict your interests based on what you’ve already viewed and liked.

If you follow a lot of cooking accounts, for example, you may see some images and videos of food and recipes here.

At the top of the page, you will find the Search bar. This is where you can search for accounts, hashtags, and other content.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The magnifying glass takes you to the search function.

Plus

If you want to make a post, you’ll need to click the plus (+) icon. After clicking the plus icon, you’ll see a header titled New post.

If you’ve granted Instagram access to your camera and photos, you’ll see options to either capture a new photo/video using your camera or select an existing photo/video from your library. Once your chosen content is selected, you can share it with your followers.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The plus icon directs you to make a new post.

Reels

The Reels icon looks like a clapperboard used to mark scenes in film productions. If you click this icon, you will be directed to the Reels page where you can explore short-form video content. To see more reels, you can swipe up to explore.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The clapperboard icon will take you to Instagram Reels.

Profile

The Profile icon will be a circular, cropped image that you’ve uploaded to Instagram. Most accounts typically use a face shot here, but it can be anything that the account holder chooses.

Once you click the Profile icon, you will be directed to your profile where you can see your posts, the number of people following you, and the number of people you follow.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The profile icon is in the bottom right-hand corner.

Heart

When you’re on the Home page, you’ll notice a heart-shaped icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. After clicking on this icon, you’ll be directed to the Notifications page.

The Notifications page keeps you informed about the interactions happening around your content and profile. It could encompass a range of interactions, such as receiving follow requests (if your profile is private), being tagged in a post, or receiving comments on photos/videos that you’ve posted.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The heart icon brings you to your notifications.

Speech Bubble With Horizontal Lightning Bolt

You’ll find this icon to the right of the heart icon in the upper right-hand area of the screen. If you click on it, you will be able to find your direct messages.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The speech bubble in the upper right-hand corner takes you to your DMs.

New Post

Once you click the plus icon on the Home page, you’ll see the following icons.

Collage

The Collage icon looks like a square stacked over another square. If you click on this, you can select up to 10 photos/videos to post.

Notably, you should select them in the order you would like to appear. If you change your mind, you can always unselect your content and reselect it in your preferred order.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
This button lets you create a photo collage.

Camera

If you click the camera icon, it opens up your mobile device’s camera, allowing you to capture and share content immediately.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The camera icon opens your phone’s camera.

Flip Camera

The Flip Camera icon looks like two arrows forming a circle. It allows you to switch between the front and rear-facing cameras. This is especially helpful when you want to be able to see yourself on the screen while you take a selfie.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
This button lets you switch between your phone’s cameras.

Lightning Bolt

If you click this icon, you’ll be able to cycle through various camera settings, including options for flash, no-flash, or automatic flash.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The lightning bolt brings you to your camera settings.

Gear

By clicking on the Gear icon, you can adjust your post settings. This may include options to hide your story from followers of your choice or only share it with close friends. Notably, your list of close friends can be curated by you and changed at any time.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The gear icon allows you to adjust your post settings.

Profile

Three Horizontal Lines

This Instagram icon is also known as the hamburger menu. By clicking this, you will receive a list of options such as general settings, your activity history, your saved collections, and your list of close friends.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The three horizontal lines represent the hamburger menu, which directs you to your settings, activity history, saved collections, and friends list.

Grid

The grid looks like a square containing nine smaller squares. It is located in the center of the Profile page on the left-hand side. If you click on it, you will see all your posts.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The grid icon shows you your posts.

Reels

The Reels icon is located in the center of the Profile page and looks identical to the Reels icon on the Home page. However, if you click the Reels icon on your Profile page, you will see only the reels you have posted.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Your profile’s Reels icon only shows the posts you have posted in Reels.

Tagged Posts

The icon looks like a silhouette of a person’s head and shoulders. It will be located near the center of the screen on the right-hand side. If you click it, you will see all the posts you have been tagged in.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
This icon shows you the posts you’ve been tagged in.

Posts

Heart

Under the left-hand side of any given post, you will see a heart. If you click on this or double-tap the post, the heart will turn red. This signifies that you liked the post and the account that created the content will receive a notification.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
When you click the heart and it turns red, you’ve liked a post.

Speech Bubble

To the right of the heart icon underneath a post, you will see a speech bubble. If you click on this, it will show you all the comments users have made on that post.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The speech bubble shows you comments others have made on this post.

Paper Plane

This Instagram icon allows you to share a post via direct message with another user. However, if the post comes from a private account, the recipient will also have to follow the account to be able to see the content.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The paper plane icon lets you send a DM to the creator.

Bookmark

You will see this icon underneath a post on the right-hand side. If you click this, you will be able to save the post to your collections.

To keep all your saved content organized, you can create titles for different categories of saved content. For example, you could save all food-related posts to a collection titled “Food,” or save photos of your family to a collection titled “Family.”

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Clicking the bookmark icon saves a post to your collection.

Navigation Menu

You can find the Navigation Menu by clicking on the three horizontal lines in the upper right-hand corner of your Profile page.

Here, you will see the following icons.

Gear

By clicking the gear on this menu, you will be able to see your Settings and Privacy page. This is where you can access your Accounts Center to change your password or personal details such as your birthdate and contact information.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The gear icon represents Settings and Privacy.

Threads

The Threads icon is relatively new. It looks a bit like an @ symbol. Threads is a new app built by Instagram. It offers a separate space for sharing text.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Threads is Instagram’s newest platform.

Clock with Four Dots

If you click this icon, you will be able to see all your activity on Instagram. This includes likes, comments, tags, sticker responses, reviews, recently deleted content, time spent on the app, account history, recent searches, and links you’ve visited.

You can request to download all of this information. However, you will need to know the account’s password to request a download.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The clock with four dots brings you to Your Activity.

Clock with Arrow

This icon represents your Archive. It will show you all past stories, posts, and live videos.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The clock with an arrow brings you to your Archive.

Creator Tools

While every type of account can see this icon, you’ll need to be logged into a Creator Account to access the features available here.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Creator Tools is for those with a Creator Account only.

QR Code

Once you click this icon, your account’s QR code will appear. Others can then scan it using their mobile device’s camera to quickly access your Profile page.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Use this QR code to share your account with others.

Bookmark

Clicking this icon will take you to your saved collections.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The bookmark brings you to your collection.

Supervision

The Supervision icon looks like a silhouette of a head and shoulders stacked on top of another identical silhouette. By clicking this icon, you can find the Family Center where you can adjust your parental settings.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Supervision is all about parental controls.

Shopping Cart

If you make a purchase through Instagram, your shopping history will show up here.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
This is where your shopping history on Instagram will show up.

Credit Card

This is where you might choose to save your credit card information to expedite your shopping experience on Instagram.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
This will bring you to your stored credit card information, if any.

Badge With Check Mark

This Instagram icon represents the Meta Verified feature. Not all accounts are eligible and the verification process takes time. You can find eligibility requirements here.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
The badge with the checkmark is for Meta verified users.

Close Friends

This icon looks like three solid stars next to three horizontal lines. If you would like to edit your list of close friends, you can do that here.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
This icon brings you to your close friends list.

Favorites

The Favorites icon looks like an outline of a star. Your Favorites list is a list of all your favorite accounts. This is likely to include accounts you interact with frequently.

The Symbols and Icons on Instagram: What Are They?
Favorites is where all of your favorited accounts are stored.

About Instagram

Instagram can help you feel more connected to your community. It allows you to share special moments, express your creativity, or even promote your business.

However, while Instagram can be used for good, it’s important to be aware that it can also be misused and pose certain risks.

Safety Recommendations

  • Use a strong password, change it regularly, and do not share it with anyone.
  • For an additional layer of security, turn on two-factor authentication.
  • Before you download a third-party social media management app, do your research to ensure it is reputable.
  • Be careful not to share sensitive personal information like your address.
  • Be aware that there are many fake accounts impersonating individuals.

Instagram Etiquette

Instagram takes its Community Guidelines very seriously. If you violate these guidelines, you risk account suspension or even legal consequences.

In addition to following Instagram’s guidelines, we recommend the following:

  • Get permission before posting a photo of someone else.
  • Never use social media to bully or harass anyone.
  • Know that employers often research potential employees on social media, so don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to see.

Up Next:

Summary Table

IconLocationDescription
HomeHome PageTakes you to your feed where you can see content posted by the accounts you follow.
Magnifying GlassHome PageDirects you to the Explore page to find interesting content.
PlusHome PageAllows you to make a post.
ReelsHome PageDirects you to the Reels page to explore short-form video content.
ProfileHome PageDirects you to your profile page.
HeartHome PageDirects you to the Notifications page.
Speech Bubble With Horizontal Lightning BoltHome PageOpens your direct messages.
CollageNew PostAllows you to select up to 10 photos/videos to post.
CameraNew PostOpens up your camera to capture and share content immediately.
Flip CameraNew PostSwitches between the front and rear-facing cameras.
Lightning BoltNew PostCycles through various flash options.
GearNew PostAdjusts your story settings.
Three Horizontal LinesProfileOpens a list of options such as settings, archive, and insights.
GridProfileDisplays all your posts.
ReelsProfileDisplays your Reels.
Tagged PostsProfileDisplays posts you’ve been tagged in.
HeartPostsLikes a post.
Speech BubblePostsDisplays comments on a post.
Paper PlanePostsShares a post with another user.
BookmarkPostsSaves a post.
GearNavigation MenuOpens your settings and privacy page.
ThreadsNavigation MenuOpens Threads, a new app built by Instagram.
Clock with Four DotsNavigation MenuDisplays your activity history.
Clock with ArrowNavigation MenuDisplays your story archive.
Creator ToolsNavigation MenuOpens Creator Tools (only for Creator Accounts).
QR CodeNavigation MenuDisplays your QR code.
BookmarkNavigation MenuDisplays your saved posts.
SupervisionNavigation MenuOpens the Supervision page to adjust parental settings.
Shopping CartNavigation MenuDisplays your shopping orders.
Credit CardNavigation MenuAdds a payment method.
Badge With Check MarkNavigation MenuRepresents the verification process.
Close FriendsNavigation MenuAdds people to your Close Friends list.
FavoritesNavigation MenuDisplays your Favorites list.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I create an Instagram account?

Once you download the Instagram app, you can create an account by using an email address, phone number, or by linking your Facebook account.

What are Instagram Stories?

Stories are similar to posts, but they remain visible for only 24 hours. After that time, users can choose to highlight them on their profile.

Can I see who unfollowed me on Instagram?

While the Instagram app does not provide this feature, there are other third-party apps that do.

Can I use a computer to post on Instagram?

Instagram is designed for mobile devices but it is possible to create a post from a computer. However, note that this functionality is more limited.

How do I delete my Instagram account?

To permanently delete your account, you can go to the Settings page and select Delete Account.

How do I block someone on Instagram?

Begin by going to the person’s profile. Tap the three dots and select Block.

To top