Not all messages are meant to live forever, or at least that’s the idea behind Instagram’s Vanish Mode (introduced at the tail of 2020), which lets you send temporary, self-destructing messages. As per Meta (formerly Facebook), this feature allows users to create and join chat threads that are automatically deleted when the conversation is over.
Just like Snapchat’s self-erasing messages, Instagram’s Vanish Mode feature only takes effect when you manually turn it on; otherwise, your messages are as permanent as ever.
However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind about the feature:
- This feature works only when users enable it manually.
- The mode isn’t in group chats and only works in chats between two people. This is a safety precaution by the company so that you don’t have to deal with unsolicited messages from strangers on Instagram.
- This feature will work only among users who follow each other on the platform.
- If the person you’re chatting with in Vanish Mode takes a screenshot of the messages, you will be notified immediately.
- All seen/read text, pictures, memes, GIFs, and stickers will be permanently deleted once you end the chat.
You also don’t have to create a new chat to enable Vanish Mode; you can turn it on in any existing chat on Instagram. The instructions to turn on and off the Vanish Mode are the same for both iOS and Android users. How to go about this;
1: Open your Instagram app on your Android or iPhone and go to your Instagram messages by selecting the message bubble icon in the top right corner.
2: From the chat list (if you already have existing chats), select the conversation where you want to enable the Vanish Mode. If you don’t have existing chat with the person that you need to use the feature on, go to their profile, tap messages, and then send a start-up message like “Hi” so the Vanish Mode can be activated.
3. While inside the chat window, swipe up from the bottom of the screen (you’ll see “Swipe up to turn on Vanish Mode”) and release your finger to turn on the mode.
4. Once it’s activated, you should see the message “You turned on Vanish Mode” appear in the conversation. When you turn on Vanish Mode for the first time, Instagram will change the theme to Dark and a bunch of “Shush” emojis will fall from the top of the screen indicating you’re in Vanish Mode.
Note: The other user you’re chatting with will see a message that you turned on Vanish Mode with a link to Learn More. A dotted circle will appear next to their name in the chat list indicating you are in Vanish Mode.
To turn off the mode:
Drag up on the bottom of the chat screen and release, just the same way you turned it on. Both you and the recipient will exit Vanish mode and you’ll return to the normal chat. However, you’ll still be able to see the messages you sent in Vanish Mode until you close the window. After that, you won’t ever see them again.
Vanish Mode is a good privacy feature that you should give a try.