Instagram Finally Launches Web App for Direct Messages

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated July 13, 2021

Instagram has been beta testing its web DM (direct messages) app since January 2020, and it's finally ready for the masses now. As they announced yesterday on Twitter, the new app is available to everyone in the world, so there will be no gradual roll-out or anything like that. It comes just at the right time, as people remain stuck at home due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, so having the comfort of using a larger screen to communicate with other Instagram users is nice.

From a functionality perspective, the web app brings more or less what is to be expected. One can send and receive direct messages, select users from a list on the left and start communicating, access conversations with full history no matter on which device they were started, and get desktop notifications for any new messages that arrive. So, it works pretty much in the same way that most chat apps work, and only requires users merely to dedicate a web browser tab for it.

It took Instagram almost ten years to offer a web app for direct messages, so most users were relieved to finally get this news. The only users who are still complaining are those who use iPads since Instagram's app for those remains an ugly-looking scaled-up version of the iPhone app. Facebook has been particularly slow in developing additional features for Instagram, and the fact that they already have Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to cover people's communication needs may have played a role in that. Also, they were probably stuck with the idea that Instagram should remain a pure image uploading, sharing, and viewing platform.

If you need a desktop version for Instagram's DMs, you won't find anything official. However, there are some unofficial implementations like the very popular "IG:dm," which is already used by five million people. It supports conversation histories, 2FA protection, viewing followers and unfollowers, message quoting, read receipt prevention, video and image saving, and it features a powerful user/account search engine. Other notable unofficial options that concern Instagram desktop viewing and image uploading apps include "Uplet," "Flume," and "Instazood".

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