Back in January, select Instagram users were given access to Direct Messaging on their desktop as a test. As of today, the photo-sharing app has given all users desktop DM capabilities.
Direct Messaging has become an increasingly popular feature of the phone-based app, allowing users to send and receive instant messages, whether they are sharing Instagram posts with one another or just saying hello. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, represents one of three major instant messaging options offered by the parent company: Instagram Direct Message, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
Instagram had been reluctant over the years to make too many of its features accessible from a desktop computer. Designed for smartphones, the social media giant only allowed users to view and like photos from a desktop computer, reserving its other features, like editing and posting images and sending DMs, exclusively for its mobile app.
But as the world’s collective social life has gone digital as a result of shelter-in-place orders connected to the coronavirus crisis, Instagram is expanding the ways in which users can access its most popular features. Direct Messaging first appeared on Instagram in December 2013, three years after the app first launched, and has since become an incredibly popular and easy means of communication.
Sending and receiving Instagram DMs via web browser works exactly the same as on the mobile app: when you log in, you’ll see the Direct Message icon in the top righthand corner. Once you click on it, you’re able to scroll through all of your existing conversations on the left. You can also DM someone directly through their profile. Instagram also allows its users to set up a desktop notifications for DMs, so you can be informed the minute someone sends you a message.
Instagram tweeted the news on Friday morning, writing, “Now you can get and send Instagram Direct messages on desktop, no matter where you are in the world.” And though the planet is facing unprecedented separation induced by the pandemic, Instagram has just made the world feel a little bit closer.