Does Instagram Notify the Other Person If You Take a Screenshot of a DM?
New technology has totally changed social norms, expectations, and even the way people communicate. Before the rise of telephones, mobile phones, and the internet, talking to someone actually meant meeting with them face-to-face. But that has since changed.
Today, someone who just appears on your doorstep would be considered rude – one must text first unless it is an absolute emergency (and, even if it is an emergency a phone call will suffice).
Nowadays, online communications via apps and social media platforms are evolving at an even faster pace than other forms of communication tech, a process that is driven by changing technology and changing social acceptance of how things are done.
When Internet-based communication was first developed, one of the underlying principles was that what you put up on the Internet would stay there, or somewhere, forever. E-mails get stored in databases, your posts on a site like Reddit or Facebook stay there forever, and even when there are tools to delete our old content, a plethora of Internet archives and backup sites make accessing what we said “back in the day” easy.
So, does Instagram notify you if someone screenshots a DM? The answer is simple: Only if they screenshot an image you’ve sent.
There is a lot of murky waters here, so let us explain further.
Are Instagram Conversations Private?
- Are Instagram Conversations Private?
- Screenshots and Direct Messaging on Instagram
- Understanding Screenshot Notifications on Instagram
- Instagram Does Not Send Notifications If Someone Screenshots Your Story
- Frequently Asked Questions
- A Final Word
Instagram, the world’s leading photo and video sharing platform, has also implemented a form of this mechanism. On Instagram, you can send direct messages to other users that include live photos or videos, and you can specify that those photographs and videos can be played only once or twice before they self-destruct.
However, the nature of smartphones and computers, both of which can be used to access Instagram, is such that taking a screenshot of your phone or computer display is a trivially simple task. Just a click of the power button + the volume down button on Android, the side button + the volume up button on iOS, or CTRL+ALT+PRNT screen in Windows, and that quick snap is eternal. This can completely undermine the whole idea of a self-destructing picture.
This article will answer this question.
Screenshots and Direct Messaging on Instagram
Instagram users can send each other text messages, photos, or videos using the direct message (DM) function of the app. The DM menu is accessed via the little paper-airplane in the upper-right corner of the screen. A direct message in Instagram can have one of many different message types: plain text (like a standard SMS text message), text with a graphical background, recorded sound, a photo or video from the gallery, a GIF file or sticker from the built-in library, a quick reply (pre-entered text to make handling large quantities of standardized messages easy), and hearts (a simple graphic of a red heart), or a live (freshly-taken) photo or video.
Most types of DMs sent via Instagram are permanent DMs. They stay in the recipient’s inbox forever, until the recipient deletes them or Instagram’s servers disintegrate in the far far future.
However, messages sent containing a live photo or video can be designated as “disappearing” messages. This means that the photograph or video can be viewed once before it becomes inaccessible or can be viewed twice before it becomes inaccessible, or they can be permanent.
You Don’t Get Notified If Someone Screenshots Most Instagram Content
For normal DMs of any sort, as well as snapshots and video posts and stories, the recipient or the sender can take screenshots of the message or the image or a frame of the video, and Instagram does not take notice that anything was done.
This permanent content can be archived freely by any participant in the conversation, and Instagram doesn’t inform you if that happened. Text messages can also be copied to the clipboard without any notification.
Does It Notify When You Unsend A Message On Instagram?
On Instagram, you do have the option to Unsend a DM at any point, even after the recipient has read it. If your recipient has already made a screenshot, though, the damage is done. Even though you decide to delete a message, if the recipient has already read it or taken a screenshot of it, it’s likely too late.
To Unsend a message, tap and hold on it, then select the Unsend option when it appears. It’s important to note, however, that retracting a message will briefly notify the other person that they had a message when they next check Instagram.
It won’t show which message you unsent or notify them outside of the app (only when they check the app) but they will know that it was you who unsent the message.
It’s still the best way to get rid of a message you no longer want to have sent to the other person, just beware; they’ll know you deleted something.
You Do Get Notified If Someone Screenshots Your DM Photo
In our most recent tests (late December 2020), Instagram will alert you if you screenshot an image that is sent via the DM feature. This worked on both Android and iOS where the Instagram application was updated to the newest available version.
As we’ve discussed, you won’t get the notification if you screenshot text, but if someone opens an image or video that you’ve sent, you will receive a notification regardless of whether it’s a Disappearing DM or a standard image that allows Replay.
Here’s what it looks like:
In the screenshot, label 1 represents a disappearing DM as indicated with a bomb symbol. Label 2 represents a standard image with Replay capabilities.
As with the iOS version of the Instagram app, the Android application also shows a Starburst icon next to the captured image.
Another screenshot notification we noticed in December of 2020 is that your DM will show ‘Screenshot’ rather than photo or a preview of a message.
Note: This functionality, although much better than before, still missed one notification on a screenshot. Out of the several that were tested, there was one that didn’t trigger the notification so still be careful when sending any images.
Understanding Screenshot Notifications on Instagram
If one party in a conversation screenshots a disappearing DM using the system method for taking a screenshot (pressing the side button and volume up buttons on iOS, or simultaneously holding down the power and volume down keys on Android) then the other party will receive a notification. Look for a circular “starburst” icon next to the DM you sent, and a popup notification on the DM screen of the recipient that lasts for about two seconds before fading out.
But what do you learn about screenshots with the notification, other than that your image has been saved somewhere? Take a look at how the notification process has been designed to work. In this image, the recipient viewed both disappearing DMs, but only took a screenshot of the second one:
If you tap on the notification icon, you can Unsend your DM. But you can also view its Details.
If you select Details, you’ll find out when the screenshot was taken. You’ll also see who took it, which is useful in knowing how your disappearing photos are actually being used!
Instagram Does Not Send Notifications If Someone Screenshots Your Story
Like the disappearing DMs, Instagram stories are designed to be temporary. When the story function first appeared, anyone was free to screenshot your stories without you knowing about it.
In early 2018, Instagram debuted a lockdown feature that prevented other users from taking screenshots of Stories; however, several months later, the feature was pulled and has not appeared since. This means that people can screenshot, save, and repost pictures from your Story.
Frequently Asked Questions
Instagram and other social media sites have so many functions and policies it’s nearly impossible to cover them all in one article. But here are some more answers to your questions about screenshot notifications and Instagram.
Are Screenshot Notifications Useful?
What are the pros and cons of sending out notifications when someone takes a screenshot of your conversation? Since taking screenshots is a stock function that comes with every smartphone, Instagram can’t block it altogether. However, notifications (and knowing that notifications are sent) tend to discourage the taking of screenshots of temporary messages.
I see the starburst icon, but my friend said they didn’t take a screenshot. What’s happening?
While our test showed that not every screenshot triggered the notification, it isn’t likely that you would receive the notification if a screenshot wasn’t captured. Your friend may have accidentally taken a screenshot of your messages without knowing it (this is easy to do on a Samsung because you only need to swipe across the screen to capture content).
Of course, glitches are always possible too. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to know for sure.
Will I get a screenshot notification if I upload a photo?
Unlike the live photos or videos you can send in Instagram’s DM service, an uploaded photo or video will not be subject to a screenshot notification. This means that if you tap on the photo icon and choose something from your camera roll, the other user can screenshot your content undetected.
So, beware that sending an image from your camera roll does not trigger the screenshot notification.
A Final Word
The Internet is not the safest place for communication, even ‘private’ conversations. The general rule is that you should never share anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t say out loud in a court of law, or in front of your grandmother, for good reason. Others prefer to trust the discretion of the person they’re messaging. This usually works out, but unpleasant surprises are still too common.
Having your personal messages made public is always a harrowing experience. But it’s even worse when the messages you sent were in the form of an image or video. Even if you avoid sending anything particularly sensitive, it’s very unpleasant to see someone using your recordings without your permission. That’s why it is imperative to be mindful of what we do and say online. Even if you fully trust someone today, that doesn’t mean you can trust them tomorrow.