Why my Instagram chat disappeared but not blocked in 2024

Instagram is not just about scrolling through what is shared but also communicating and making new friends.

You can do this by following accounts, liking and commenting on posts, and through the Instagram chat feature.

Your Instagram chats may disappear for many reasons like using the vanish mode, being deleted by the other user, bad internet connection, and other reasons explained in this article.

What is Instagram Chat?

Instagram chat, also known as direct messaging (DM), is a feature that allows users to confidently talk and share media such as photos, videos, and texts.

This may be a personally composed message or media uploaded directly from your device, but it could also be a re-shared post that you came across in your feed.

Since Instagram chats are private, they will not appear in your feed and can be between just two people or among a group of specifically chosen people.

Why do Instagram chats disappear

Instagram will not automatically delete your messages after a specific time frame, so as long as you do not delete them, you will keep all your message history.

The most commonly known reason for your Instagram messages disappearing is that the person you were talking to has blocked you.

However, there are other explanations as described below;

1. Bad Internet connection

Before you get riled up and start googling why the chat has disappeared, make sure you have refreshed the application first.

The chats may simply not be appearing because your connection is acting up, so check to make sure you have a data connection that is fast and working well enough.

2. You were using vanish mode

Instagram vanish mode is a chat feature that allows users to maintain as much privacy as possible by deleting all chat history. 

When you close the chat window, any messages or media shared in the chat will disappear, and re-opening the window will be like it is the first time to chat with the person.  

However, note that only messages that have been opened by both users in the chat will disappear when the chat window is closed.

Instagram Vanish Mode
Instagram Vanish Mode
Instagram Vanish Mode

Hint: Vanish mode is not the default chatting mode so it has to be activated first.

It can only be used with accounts that you have connected with that is to say exchanged messages with before. 

That means your very first message to any account whether you follow each other or not, cannot be sent in vanish mode.

The vanish mode feature does not work when using desktop or mobile browsers.

To activate or deactivate vanish mode, open the messaging window and swipe up until you are prompted to release to turn on or off the mode. 

You will be notified when vanish mode is activated or deactivated by either you or the other person.

When you receive or send a message in vanish mode, it will have a dotted circle beside it indicating that it is a disappearing message and will be removed when it is viewed.

Instagram Vanish Mode
Instagram Vanish Mode
Instagram Vanish Mode

3. It was a disappearing photo or video

If your chat contains any photos or videos that were sent using the disappearing feature, then these will be removed when you view them.

Furthermore, when you send photos or videos using this feature, they will not appear in your message history. They will only appear as a word photo or video next to an exploding icon.

Instagram disappearing feature

To send a disappearing photo or video, open a message window and tap the camera icon in the bottom left corner.

Tap on the box that previews your gallery, select the media you want to send, and click on the play icon to choose whether you want it to be a disappearing message or not.

Instagram disappearing feature
Instagram disappearing feature
Instagram disappearing feature

You should note that this feature is only available when using the mobile application and can only be used with accounts that follow you or that you have accepted message requests from.

4. You changed your privacy settings

You can either have a public account which can be seen by everyone on Instagram or a private account limited to only those who follow you.

Private Instagram Account
Private Instagram Account

When you switch to a private account, all your message history will be cleared when you close and reopen your application.

People you recently chatted with will appear as suggested accounts when you go to compose a message.

Private Instagram Account
Private Instagram Account

When you click on them, they will then appear on the list of messages and all your previously shared messages will be there in the chat window.

When you close the application they will disappear again even if you switch back your account to public. 

The only way to keep seeing them in your inbox is by sending another message to them after changing back your account to public.

Private Instagram Account

Note that you will have to message each user for them to appear on your message list, otherwise they will remain vanished.

5. The message was from a post or feed

As earlier mentioned, Instagram users may share a post they found in their feed as a message to another account.

If the owner of the account whose post was re-shared makes their account private, then any messages containing their post will disappear from the history of the people who do not follow them.

account private
account private
account private

However, should the person make their account public again within 24 hours, then the messages will re-appear otherwise the chats will disappear forever even if the account is re-made public later.

6. Messages deleted by the other user

Instagram affords its users the ability to un-send messages which is a handy feature if one sends messages by mistake or regrets sending them.

So if you are noticing that some chats are disappearing while you can still see yours in the message window, then it is because the other user deleted their messages.

User Deleted Their Messages
User Deleted Their Messages

To use this feature, long press on the message, and click on Unsend. The message will disappear from your and the other person’s chat window.

User Deleted Their Messages

7. Message request

To increase privacy, you can now restrict which accounts can message you on Instagram regardless of whether they follow you or not.

When you restrict an account, their message will seemingly disappear from your message history and will be moved to your request inbox.

Instagram Message Request feature
Instagram Message Request feature
Instagram Message Request feature

Similarly, when someone whom you do not follow and has never chatted with you before sends you a direct message on Instagram, it appears as a message request.

Instagram Message Request feature 4
Instagram Message Request feature 5

You can choose to accept the invitation to chat and reply in which case the message will disappear from your requests folder to either the general or primary folder.

Therefore be sure to check all your message folders, before you declare that your chats have vanished.

8. The chat was reported

Just like un-sending their messages, the other user may choose to report your messages.

In this case, Instagram may choose to remove your chats after considering your previous interactions.

Instagram Chat Reported

The messages will therefore disappear from the chat window.

9. The other person deleted or deactivated their account

If the other person temporarily deactivates or deletes their account, then any chats that re-shared their posts will disappear regardless of whether the accounts follow each other or not. 

The chats will reappear when the user activates their account again otherwise they will remain vanished if it was a deleted account.

However, any messages that are not referencing their posts will remain intact in the chat window.

The difference with blocking is that if you try searching for the username of a deleted account, you will not be able to find it.

10. Instagram glitch or bug

The other reason could be that your application or the Instagram platform as a whole is having some technical problems and that is why this is happening.

To ascertain that this is not the cause of your chats disappearing, you can do one or more of the following actions;

  • Check your Play Store for any app updates
  • Close and reopen your Instagram application
  • Restart your device
  • Clear cache in application settings
  • Try waiting and checking back later, sometimes these things resolve themselves on their own.

If nothing changes after 24 hours, then you may contact Instagram support for further help.


Can you chat with anyone on Instagram?

The chat feature is open to every Instagram user regardless of how many followers you have or how many people you are following.

You may send a direct message to anyone, whether you follow them or not or whether they follow you or not.

However, some restrictions may apply depending on who you are messaging or what kind of chat you are starting.

When you send a message to someone who does not follow you, your message will be directed to their requests inbox and they may choose to accept the invitation or not.

If you send a message to someone who doesn’t follow you but has added you to their close friends group, then your messages will go directly to their inbox.

You should also note that with the recent update, you can only send one text message to a person who doesn’t follow you.

How does Instagram chat work?

To send someone a direct message on Instagram, tap on the message icon which may be a paper airplane or messenger icon.

Instagram Chat
Instagram Chat

Tap on the editing icon in the top right corner of the page, and choose who you wish to send a message to. Under this option, you can also start a group chat instead.

Instagram Chat
Instagram Chat

Alternatively, tap on a username, and click on the message icon or tab on their profile page to create a direct message.

How can I retrieve deleted Instagram messages?

Deleted Instagram messages cannot be recovered. Once you delete your Instagram chat, it will be cleared from your message history.

You may get back these messages if you ask the other people to forward your chat history and only if the messages were not deleted using the Unsend or Vanish mode option.

However, you can restore deleted stories, posts, videos, and comments by going to the menu and selecting Your Activity.

Your Instagram Activity
Your Instagram Activity

Choose Recently deleted to pick what you wish to restore. Note that deleted un-archived stories can only be retrieved within 24 hours.

How do you get a full chat history on Instagram?

To get your full chat history and any previous data, go to your profile page and click on the main menu.

Go to Your Activity, scroll to the bottom, and choose Download Your Information. Choose to Request information and decide if you want to download all information or a few files.

Your Instagram Activity
Your Instagram Activity

Under specific information, you may then go ahead to select messages, comments, threads, or anything else you wish to back up.

Continue to select the email where the file will be sent including the time range of the data you want as well as the format of the file. 

Can you tell if someone turned on vanish mode?

Yes. When someone activates vanish mode, both users in the chat will be notified and the chat window will turn black.

Both sides are notified of whatever is done when using the vanish mode including any screenshots taken and media saved.

However, any member of the conversation can turn off the vanish mode by swiping up in the chat window.

Does vanish mode delete old messages on both sides?

Messages sent while using vanish mode will be deleted from both sides once they are seen by both persons and the chat window has been closed.

However, any old messages sent outside of the vanish mode will not be erased from either side.


Just because your chats disappeared doesn’t automatically mean that you have been blocked, compare with the reasons explained in this article to make sure.

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Esther is an enthusiastic writer at GoTechUG, she creates practical content that helps people navigate the complex online environment. She is passionate about travelling, meeting with friends, and watching movies in her spare time.

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