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Confidential Conversations: How to Use Instagram’s Vanish Mode

by Hemant Saxena on February 05, 2024

At times, we all have conversations we'd prefer to keep private. Maybe it's an argument with a friend or you're starting a new relationship and not sure if it's going to last. You don't want the messages or photos you shared to surface later. Whatever your reason, Instagram’s Vanish Mode has got you covered.

iPhone showing a screenshot of Instagram Vanish mode when it's activated.

Vanish Mode allows for temporary messaging in one-to-one chats with your connections. While in this mode and the chat screen is active, you can view all shared messages, photos, and videos. If you exit Instagram but leave the chat open, your content remains accessible when you return. However, leaving the chat by exiting to the chat list or closing the app triggers Instagram to automatically delete everything from the conversation.

There are a few other aspects of Vanish Mode you should be aware of before you use the feature:

  • Messages sent in Vanish Mode cannot be copied, saved, or forwarded.
  • Instagram doesn't prevent screenshots or screen recording, but the other person will be notified if it happens.
  • If you exit a chat (or close Instagram), the other person will continue to see all content in your chat until they exit.
  • Sending a message in Vanish Mode and then exiting Vanish Mode before the other person reads it doesn't delete your message. They will still see it and can reply in Vanish Mode.
  • People you're chatting with in Vanish Mode appear with a dotted circle icon next to their name in your Messages list.

How to activate Vanish Mode

  1. Tap the Home button in the Instagram app.
  2. Select the Message icon on the top right to open the conversations window.
  3. Pick a contact from the list and open the chat.
  4. Swipe up until you reach the end of the chat and see the message Release to turn on Vanish Mode. Then let go. You’ll see the screen turns black, and you’ll see the message You turned on Vanish Mode

If one of your contacts initiates Vanish Mode, you'll receive a notification that someone has enabled Vanish Mode and sends a message. You can tap on the notification to enter a chat with them in Vanish Mode.

To return to a standard chat view, simply swipe up from the bottom of your chat screen and release or tap the 'Turn off Vanish Mode' button.

Looking for more ways to optimize your Instagram experience? Read more:

Instagram 101: Understanding the Basics

How to Add Highlights to Your Instagram Profile

How to use Notes on Instagram for Private Group Messaging

[Image credit: Screenshot via Techlicious, phone mockup via Canva]

As a lifelong tech enthusiast, Hemant Saxena is always looking for the latest gadgets that intersect with his hobbies. For more than a decade, he has been writing about consumer gadgets, popular apps, and social media tips for publications, including Windows Club and Techmate Tricks.


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