How To React To Instagram Message

Instagram’s direct messaging (often shortened to DM) allows you to chat with other users privately, instead of needing to post…

Instagram’s direct messaging (often shortened to DM) allows you to chat with other users privately, instead of needing to post something on your feed, story, or reels. As such, DMs are great for personal and business accounts alike, according to LinkedIn, since they allow you to connect with your audience and peers, without needing to involve your entire following. 

Using DMs, you can communicate via text messages, photos, videos, stickers, GIFs, and audio clips. Another method of expressing yourself is the ‘react’ feature. It’s possible that you haven’t noticed it, though, since the feature does not advertise itself, or maybe you’re unsure of how to use it reliably. 

Let’s explore everything to know about reacting on Instagram:

What Are Reacts On Instagram?

Reacts are emojis that you can place on individual messages in your DMs. They’re intended as a way to quickly show your opinion or feelings about a message, without needing to put more time, effort, or thought into expressing your simple intent. They’re most helpful if you:

  • Are short on time, but still want to acknowledge a message
  • Don’t believe a full reply will add anything meaningful to the exchange
  • Want to show your opinion on another person’s message without a dedicated reply
  • Don’t want to send an emoji as its own message
  • Want to be specific about what your reaction applies to, especially if several messages have been sent to you in a row 

According to a study published in Frontiers, emojis are a leading method of quick communication, and the react feature on Instagram makes them even easier – and more precise – to use. 

How Many React Emojis Are There?

The standard reacts on Instagram are limited to six options. If you want more, you can click the plus (+) icon at the end of the lineup to scroll through more choices. However, you’re far more likely to see the six standard emojis used in practice.

That’s because Instagram deems these six as the most common responses the average person will have, without deciding that a full reply is necessary. They include: 

  • Heart (love or appreciation)
  • Laughter 
  • Shock
  • Sadness
  • Anger 
  • Thumbs-up (approval or acknowledgement)

This is designed to make all reactions straightforward and easy to understand. After all, emojis can be interpreted differently by different people. Knowing how to react with emojis on Instagram can help you communicate better, but only if you and the other person are clear on what each emoji represents. 

Because of this, the six quick reactions aim to make your intent clear in a glance. That’s the true strength of this feature: you can express yourself with less time and effort, while also being more specific – a valuable asset in fast-paced online interactions. 

So, how do you utilize reacts on Instagram?

How To React On Instagram Direct Message

Here’s how to react to DMs on Instagram through the app or a browser.

On The Mobile App

To react through the mobile app:

  1. Open the conversation you want to react to by clicking the DMs button (an airplane icon) on the top-right
  2. Tap and hold on the message you want to react to
  3. Choose the reaction you want

This will immediately place the emoji of your choosing underneath the message. This can be viewed by yourself, the sender, and anyone else in your DM.

On The Browser

Here’s how to react to an Instagram message on the browser:

  1. Sign in on
  2. Go to the message you want to react to by clicking the messenger icon on the top-right of the page
  3. Hover your mouse over the message you want to react to
  4. Choose the reaction you prefer

How To Like A Message On Instagram

While Facebook’s ‘likes’ are characterized by a thumbs-up, on Instagram, they appear as a heart emoji. You have the choice to select a thumbs-up emoji instead, but this has to be done manually, since a heart is the default that appears when you react quickly. 

To like a message on Instagram:

  1. Go to your conversation by clicking on the messenger icon
  2. Go to the message you want to like
  3. Double-tap the message

A heart will appear on the bottom border of the message.

How To Laugh At Instagram Message

If you wish to react with laughter to a message:

  • Long-pressed the message
  • View the list of emojis to choose from
  • Tap on the laugh one (a smile with tears in its eyes)

How To Change Reaction On Instagram

Want to change the emoji you reacted with? 

  • Tap and hold the message
  • The lineup of emojis will appear and you can pick a different one
  • Once tapped, that new reaction will replace the previous one

If you want to remove the react entirely, then click the original emoji again. 

Why Can’t I React To Messages On Instagram?

Reacts are available for all users. If you can’t use reactions, there is an error, which you can try to rectify with these fixes:

Update messaging

Messaging features sometimes need to be updated separately from the Instagram app. To do this:

  1. Visit your Instagram profile on the app
  2. Tap the hamburger menu on the top-right corner of the screen
  3. Tap on ‘Settings’ > ‘Update Messaging’ > ‘Update’

Download the Facebook Messenger app

Facebook Messenger and Instagram’s messaging systems are connected. Downloading the Messenger app on the same phone sometimes triggers the reaction feature to show up on Instagram.

Link your Facebook Account

For the same reason above, linking your Facebook account with Instagram can provide you with the reaction feature if it’s missing.


Why did my reaction on Instagram disappear?

Did you see a reaction to a message, but it’s not there anymore? The most likely explanation is that the person who reacted then removed their reaction. You can do this by long-pressing the message and tapping the same emoji as before; this will take it off.

Can I change the quick reactions on Instagram?

The six standard emojis are Instagram’s choices for quick reactions. If you want a different lineup, however, you can customize these by going to your ‘Profile Settings’ and then tapping ‘Reactions.’

How do you use ‘tap to react’ on Instagram stories?

Aside from messages, you can also react to stories. You can do this by going to the story you want to react to, swiping up, then choosing from the list of emojis that appear. 

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