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In Digital Marketing and Privacy Last updated: August 25, 2023
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Instagram is known for experimenting with different features.

While some features are their innovation, some have been fashioned after other social media platforms. One of their inspirations has been the Vanish mode, which was taken from Snapchat’s self-erasing messages. If you’ve used Snapchat, you’d know that the messages exchanged on the app get deleted after 24 hours.

The impermanence of the messages is what makes Snapchat unique. Instagram quickly identified its allure and included Snapchat’s USP in its framework. Smart move, if you ask me, because the feature was welcomed by users with open arms.

In this post, I cover everything you need to know about Instagram’s secret messaging feature where nothing is permanent – giving you a safe space to express your mind. 

Why Instagram Reigns Supreme in Social Media

Instagram was launched in 2010, and in the last 13 years, it has grown to be one of the biggest social media platforms in the world. It has over 1.22 billion global active users and is a prime hub for many personal and professional users to share their lives. 


It’s the 8th most visited website globally, with about 4.25 billion monthly visits. Moreover, Instagram continues to be the most downloaded app on the planet. These stats speak volumes about the sheer popularity of Instagram and its sway over the audience on the internet.

The popularity of Instagram lies in its hyper-visual nature, where pictures indeed speak louder than words. The content here is much more engaging and eye-catching than any other platform focusing on written content rather than visuals.

Features like Instagram stories, posts, and reels, drive engagement like crazy, and you can easily gain more followers. While it has sneakily taken inspiration from various features from other social media apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, and even Twitter (yes, we’re looking at you, Threads), Instagram has made them completely their own now because users just love😍 them.

One of their inspired features is the Vanish mode, which was taken from Snapchat. Read on to learn what the Vanish mode is, how to activate it, and things to remember while using the feature.

What is Vanish Mode on Instagram?

Vanish mode allows you to exchange messages, videos, photos, memes, GIFs, reels, and other content, all of which disappear when the chat is over or if the Vanish mode is disabled. This makes the conversation secret and temporary. It also prevents other parties from snooping on your chat since it vanishes when you turn off the feature.


The best part is that anything you talk about while the Vanish mode is enabled cannot be shared, copied, or saved. Once the feature is disabled, all the messages die🪦 with the chat. While taking a screenshot in Vanish mode is possible, you’ll be notified, just like on Snapchat.

This gives you greater safety and freedom to express yourself without worrying about “being watched.” 

Features of Vanish Mode 

Vanish mode is a nifty way to keep your messages secret and protected. Here are some benefits you can enjoy the moment you enable the feature:

#1. Disappearing Messages ✉️

The main feature of the Vanish mode is that all the messages shared while the feature is enabled disappear when either party leaves the chat or if it’s manually disabled. No message, photos, video, reel, or GIF is permanent if this mode is enabled.

If you don’t want anyone to snoop on your messages, or you want to have a one-time secret convo, this feature is perfect. It gives you an increased sense of freedom and privacy.

Also read: How to Delete Instagram Account Permanently


#2. Screenshot Notifications 🔔

While you can’t save, copy, or forward messages shared in the Vanish mode, you can easily take screenshots. But here’s the catch. The moment you take the screenshot, the other party will be notified of it. This is done to add another layer of privacy while the feature is enabled.

On normal Instagram chat, no notification is sent when a screenshot is captured. So, you’d know when your friend has captured a screenshot of your conversation and hold them accountable for it!

#3. Only Available on Private Chats 🔒

The Vanish mode can only be enabled on private chats, not group chats. Moreover, the two parties engaging in a conversation with Vanish mode enabled must be connected, meaning both must follow each other on the platform.

Instagram has added this condition to ensure nobody receives any unsolicited messages or photos from random people, enhancing the privacy of all users. You’ll have a complete choice on whether or not you want to accept chatting with Vanish mode. Feel free to decline the request too.

#4. Dark Mode 🌙

Switching to Vanish mode turns your chat into dark mode, with some shushing emojis falling from the top to the bottom of the screen. That’s the prime indication that you have enabled disappearing messages.

If you have already turned on dark mode on Instagram, you’ll be notified with a “you turned on vanish mode” message. 

Overall, Vanish mode is an excellent way to ward off snoopers and have a private and temporary conversation with your friends. Enabling it is pretty simple too! 

How to Activate Vanish Mode

Here’s how to activate and deactivate Vanish mode on Instagram in just 5 simple steps:

Step 1: Launch the Instagram app on your phone, and tap the top right button (the DM section.)


Step 2: From your DM list, choose the user you want to have a private conversation with and open your chat with them.

Step 3: Within the chat, put your finger anywhere on your screen and swipe upwards. If you’re doing it right, you should see the message at the bottom Swipe up to turn on Vanish mode followed by Release to turn on Vanish mode.


Step 4: If done correctly, your screen will turn dark, and at the top of the chat, you’ll see Vanish mode. All your other messages will disappear, and you’ll get a new chat. Anything you send or receive from here on out will automatically disappear after the user sees it.


Step 5: If you want to turn off the Vanish mode, swipe upwards again just like you did to enable it. Your screen will return to light mode, and all the secret chats you had will disappear. 

It’s so easy to have private conversations with your friends on Instagram. While Snapchat works on the same premise, Instagram’s vanishing feature might be better because the disappearing messages are a choice rather than a rule.

You can choose when or when not to have secret conversations, giving you immense control over your chats with others. 

Things to Keep in Mind While Using the Vanish Mode

Before you spill any secrets to your friend using the Vanish mode, there are certain things you need to be mindful of. Here are some conditions or limitations attached to using the feature: 

#1. Photos Can Be Taken Using External Devices 📱

While it’s impossible for the other party to take screenshots of your conversations without notifying you, they can capture photos of the chats using external devices. Instagram won’t notify you if they take photos using another smartphone because the platform itself wouldn’t know of it.

So it’s best to engage in conversations with people you actually trust to maintain privacy and secrecy.

#2. Temporary Messages ✉️

To clarify, once you turn off the Vanish mode, all the messages you’ve exchanged will disappear forever. These messages cannot be saved, copied, or forwarded in any form. The messages will remain on the system until you’re in the Vanish mode. 

#3. Only Available on Instagram❗️

The Vanish mode can only be used in one-on-one chats on Instagram. You cannot use it in group chats or on platforms other than Instagram, including Messenger and Facebook. Moreover, you must follow each other to enable the Vanish mode.

#4. Unavailable in Some Professional Accounts 🚫

The feature is not available for certain professional accounts. You may fall into that category if you cannot activate it by following the abovementioned steps. However, people with personal accounts will have no problem accessing it.

Closing Thoughts

Instagram is always on top of all the new features that any social media platform introduces. If they like the feature, they usually incorporate it into their platform. This might seem like “copying” on the surface, but it’s simply amazing for “us” users, as we enjoy the best of all platforms in just one.

The Vanish mode was fashioned after Snapchat’s disappearing messages, which makes it easier to have secret conversations on one of the world’s most popular social media apps, rather than relying on good old Snapchat – especially if you’ve left behind the habit of snapping.

Now that you know how to activate the Vanish mode and its limitations, you can feel a sense of privacy and freedom while discussing confidential stuff with your friends on Instagram.

Next, learn how to mute someone on Instagram and have a clean and customized feed.

  • Adnan Rehan
    Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more
  • Joy R Bhamre

    Joy R Bhamre is a multifaceted professional, holding the title of Editor at Geekflare. She is a Google-certified Digital Marketing Specialist, a seasoned Editor and writer, and a Cambridge-certified English Language Trainer, boasting… read more

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