How to Turn Off Read Receipts on Instagram

When you’re chatting with somebody chill on Insta and you want to look chill too, what can you do? Simple! Act blasé by purposefully not checking your messages very often. You’ll look cool, too busy with other things to be overly concerned with what’s happening in your DMs.


Unless you aren’t truly all that chill. Let’s face it - just about everybody obsesses over some drama, romance, or silliness going on in their inbox from time to time. Luckily, there’s a fast and easy way to turn off read receipts on Instagram that can make you look chilled out and nonplussed even when you’re not.


Just kidding. There’s actually no way to turn off read receipts on Instagram. Although it would make a lot of sense to follow in the steps of other messaging platforms like WhatsApp and simply allow users to turn off read receipts in the settings tab, Insta hasn’t.


But you can trick Instagram into not recognizing that you’ve read your messages by disconnecting from your network and wifi first. Read on to find out exactly how to complete this process to make it look like you haven’t read Instagram messages even though you very sneakily have.


What Are Read Receipts?


In the very likely scenario that some gram newbies have found their way to this guide, let’s explain what we’re talking about here.

Direct messege in Instagram on smartphone screen close up view with yellow background

When you open a DM or group chat on Instagram, you can see when other users have ‘seen’ your last message because there will be text underneath it that says so. If you’re mutuals (or mufos) meaning you follow one another, then you’ll both see “Seen” underneath messages when the other person has seen them.


Granted, one party could have just left the chat open so all your messages get registered as “seen,” but that’s not a frequent enough scenario to really worry about. And if someone tells you that’s why they didn’t respond, it probably isn’t.


Dodging Read Receipts on Instagram


Sometimes you’re busy or you just don’t have a very good answer for the person or people messaging you. Maybe it’s your crush and you need some extra time to think up something funny and clever. On the other hand, maybe it’s someone you don’t really want to talk to at all but you still want to see what on earth they’re talking about without obligating yourself to respond.


The world of direct messaging is filled with bizarre circumstances like this. Stay on Insta long enough and you’re bound to find yourself in this kind of situation.


Whatever the reason, keep in mind that staying truly invisible on Instagram (and most social media) is pretty difficult. Even if you follow our instructions to turn off your read receipts on Instagram, other users can still see your active status and all the stuff you post and react to.


So don’t be thinking you’re home free and not expected to ever answer just because it doesn’t look like you looked at your messages yet even though you did. If they’re persistent enough and a bit inept socially, they could still have clear evidence that you’re online and avoiding them. But you can buy yourself some time with this trick to read Instagram messages without read receipts.


How to Read Instagram Messages Without Read Receipts


What you’re basically trying to do here is disconnect from the internet, navigate through to see the message, then get back on the internet without changing the read receipts.


Be careful about connecting back after you read your message. You have to log out before you connect to the internet again or else your read receipts will update.


Here’s what you need to do to:


Step 1: When you get a message on Instagram, don’t click on it. Make sure they’re not sending you a bunch of messages. When they’ve sent what they’re gonna send, go into airplane mode.

You can go into airplane mode on both Apple and Android phones by swiping down and selecting airplane mode from the menu. Laptop users can just disconnect from the wifi.


Step 2: Make sure your phone doesn't connect to wifi. It shouldn’t have but double-check. Now you can open up Instagram and read that message. Hope it’s a juicy one.


Step 3: Get out of your inbox and back on the Instagram home screen.


Step 4: Log out of Instagram using the menu in the top right. It looks like three vertical lines next to each other.


Step 5: Turn off airplane mode and connect to wifi or let your mobile data reconnect itself.


Step 6: Log back into Instagram and you should see exactly what you saw before you went into airplane mode back in Step 1.


Now you’re free to pretend you didn’t see that message and spend two hours composing the perfect response. Or you can ignore the message forever along with that red notification.


Plausible deniability is the name of the game sometimes. You can get a grace period with this trick, but it gets old if you’re using it multiple times in the same chat.


There are also plenty of opportunities to slip up. You could forget to go into airplane mode (rookie mistake) or you could forget to log out before you turn airplane mode off. Take your time when you’re running through these steps so you don’t make a mistake somewhere.


Great Power, Great Responsibility


Congratulations on your new superpower. Don’t overuse it. Not to be cliché, but sometimes you can just respond off the top of your head and it’ll all work out. If you’re dodging somebody you don’t want to talk to, then this is a great trick. But for those nervously navigating new romance on Insta, this trick is probably not as necessary as you think.


Hopefully, Instagram will get with the program and give us a way to just turn off our read receipts soon. Until then, use the trick in this guide to read your Instagram messages without the sender knowing.

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