How to Turn Off Instagram Read Receipts: Two Ways to Enhance Your Privacy

Instagram now lets you turn off the read receipts that tell other users that you've seen their message. Here's how to do it.

After months of speculation about the feature being released, Meta-owned social media platform Instagram will now officially let its users turn off read receipts.

Unlike WhatsApp, Instagram hasn’t historically allowed its users to do this – but now, they’ll be able to turn them off for individual chats, or all of their messages en masse.

In this short guide, we’ll explain the two different ways you can turn off your read receipts on your Instagram direct messages in detail.

How to Turn Off Instagram Read Receipts (Individual Chats)

You can now turn off read receipts on individual Instagram direct message threads you have with other users, which will mean you can read their messages whenever you like and they won’t be notified that you’ve seen them.

Simply tap on the name of the user you’re messaging, then tap “privacy and safety” and then toggle off the read receipts option.

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How to Turn off Instagram Read Receipts (All Chats)

Don’t worry – it’s possible to avoid the arduous process of turning off read receipts on every direct message you have opened by changing and turning your read receipts off in the settings.

All you have to do is head over to your settings and navigate to the “Messages and Story Replies” area. After that, you should see a “show read receipts” option. Click on that and then toggle off your read receipt.

You can also either choose to show or hide your activity status in this same area of the settings, which will ensure none of your followers or people you messaging will be able to see whether you’re online or not.

Should I Turn Off My Read Receipts?

It’s entirely up to you. While it’s technically a privacy setting, and we advise all social media users to take advantage of privacy settings provided by social media apps, this one largely depends on the relationship you have with your friends and family.

Some people turn off read receipts because they’re worried it will seem rude if they “see” a message but don’t have time to reply to it, and don’t want to “leave their friends on read”. However, not all friendship groups or social circles function like this.

All in all, it’s good that platforms like Instagram provide this feature, as it gives users a bit more freedom to read messages at their leisure and reveals a little less information about their activity. Of course, it works best if used in combination with a hidden activity status.

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Written by:
Aaron Drapkin is's Content Manager. He has been researching and writing about technology, politics, and society in print and online publications since graduating with a Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol six years ago. Aaron's focus areas include VPNs, cybersecurity, AI and project management software. He has been quoted in the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Daily Mail, Computer Weekly, Cybernews, Lifewire, HR News and the Silicon Republic speaking on various privacy and cybersecurity issues, and has articles published in Wired, Vice, Metro, ProPrivacy, The Week, and covering a wide range of topics.
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