Facebook promised that it would make messaging easier across all of its apps (Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp) last year, and we've already seen evidence that the company was working on integrating Facebook Messenger with Instagram. Today, the company has made that move official, introducing what it's calling a new Messenger experience on Instagram.
We already reported on the integration when it was part of a limited test, and not too much has changed: Once the new chat experience has rolled out to you, you'll notice that the flyer icon in the top right corner of the Instagram app has been switched out for the Facebook Messenger symbol. Tap it, and you'll be greeted by a prompt asking you if you'd like to upgrade your messaging experience. It's possible to postpone the switch in the beginning, but at some point, you'll be forced to use the new Instagram messenger with its redesigned chats and new features. Specifically, the new UI will introduce ephemeral messages, Watch Together for IGTV, selfie stickers, and more:
- Communicate Across Apps: Seamlessly connect with friends and family across Instagram and Messenger by using either app to send messages and join video calls.
- Watch Together: Enjoy watching videos on Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels (coming soon!), TV shows, movies, and more with friends and family during a video call.
- Vanish Mode: Choose a mode where seen messages disappear after they’re seen or when you close the chat.
- Selfie Stickers: Create a series of boomerang stickers with your selfie to use in conversation.
- Chat Colors: Personalize your chats with fun color gradients.
- Custom Emoji Reactions: Create a shortcut of your favorite emojis to react quickly to messages from friends.
- Forwarding: Easily share great content with up to five friends or groups.
- Replies: Respond directly to a specific message in your chat and keep the conversation flowing.
- Animated Message Effects: Add visual flair to your message with animated send effects.
- Message Controls: Decide who can message you directly, and who can’t message you at all.
- Enhanced Reporting and Blocking Updates: Now you can report full conversations in addition to single messages on Instagram, and receive proactive blocking suggestions across Instagram and Messenger when you add your accounts in the new Accounts Center.
To be clear, the update won't force you to download the Messenger, and it also doesn't put a 1:1 Messenger clone into Instagram. Instagram DMs are still separate, but they've inherited a lot of features and looks from Messenger. Facebook writes: "The main change is that people using the Messenger app can now reach you on Instagram without you needing to download a new app, and vice versa."
Facebook has also revamped the privacy controls in Instagram and Messenger to accommodate the new cross-platform compatibility. You'll be able to choose who can contact you on which platform, and ask Facebook to block certain requests automatically, such as from strangers or friends of friends. Facebook has additionally specified that you don't need a Facebook account to talk to Messenger users on Instagram and vice versa.
The new messaging experience in Instagram is currently rolling out as part of a server-side switch, so it might take some time until the integration hits your account. It still makes sense to stay up to date with Instagram and Facebook Messenger as that might help you get the update faster — check the Play Store for updates, or get the latest release from APK Mirror (Instagram, Facebook Messenger).