Instagram is a great way to share photos with all of your followers and even occasionally extend reach beyond them, but that may not always suit every purpose. What if you wanted to share your own photos or perhaps another account’s photo with someone else in private?
It turns out, not only is this possible, but you can share photos and even regular messages with other Instagram users in private. You don’t even need to follow each other. Communicating and sharing photos through Instagram is great for people who might have exchanged Instagram accounts, but still aren’t connected on other forms of social media.
Here are the top three ways to connect with other Instagram users in private.
1. Instagram Share
The most obvious, yet also newest way to send private photos in Instagram is by using the new Share icon below every Instagram post. It looks like a simple arrow. When you tap it, a row of Instagram accounts appear and you can tap one or multiple people you’re following to send the photo to them. Optionally add a message, then tap Send when you’re ready.
Note: Though the Share icon will appear for every photo, not every photo is actually shareable. If you attempt to share a photo from a private Instagram account, only mutual followers will be able to see the photo. A message will appear in gray to inform you: “(Username) has a private account. Only their followers will be able to see this photo.”
2. Instagram Direct
Not many people know about this feature, but Instagram actually has a messenger built right into the app. It’s called Instagram Direct and it lives at the top-right corner of the app, in your Home tab. Tap the Direct icon while you’re on the main Instagram feed to open you’re inbox. Here you can view recent conversations or start a new one. When you tap the New icon at the top right, you can choose to either Send Photo or Video or Send Message.
This seems like a tedious first step to have to go through, but nonetheless pick your format as required. For whatever reason, you can’t send a photo or video you already posted to Instagram, nor can you send one that someone else has posted. (To do that, refer to the aforementioned Instagram Share section.) You’ll just have to browse your photo library and upload something instead.
If you want a more complete social networking experience for your Instagram friends and followers, a great third-party app called InstaMessage is basically a social network built solely around Instagram users. You can create your own separate InstaMessage profile complete with your own status updates and social awards.
Plus, since you log in with Instagram, you can message or invite users to join the conversation and browse through Instagram photos right from InstaMessage. The app will also show you who is online and nearby so you can strike up a conversation pretty quickly.
With InstaMessage, you can send private photos, messages or even voice recordings. The biggest downside is that for your Instagram friends to receive your messages, they have to have downloaded InstaMessage. But if you get people on board, it’s a useful tool for chatting and sharing photos without exchanging other social media links. The app is available free for iOS and Android.