Following in the footsteps of parent company Facebook, Instagram is beginning a test in six countries today that will see the launch of a new standalone app called "Direct," which will be solely focused on direct messaging friends and family members. As reported by The Verge, this could be the "first step" toward potentially removing messaging features from the main Instagram app.

Chile, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Turkey, and Uruguay will get Direct on iOS and Android today, and if you download the app there and link it to your Instagram account, then your inbox in the core Instagram app "disappears" and can then only be accessed in Direct. Instagram currently has "no timeline" for a global launch outside of these countries, but said that its reason for segmenting off Direct in a test is to create a "best-in-class" experience for private messaging, which could not be possible inside a social-sharing application.

instagram direct new app

“We want Instagram to be a place for all of your moments, and private sharing with close friends is an important part of that,” Hemal Shah, an Instagram product manager, told me. “Direct has grown within Instagram over the past four years, but we can make it even better if it stands on its own. We can push the boundaries to create the fastest and most creative space for private sharing when Direct is a camera-first, standalone app.”

Direct is said to open to a camera like Snapchat, encouraging you to send photo messages to friends, and then you can swipe to go left to see your profile and settings, or right to navigate to your list of recent contacts. Direct also includes all of the usual filters, doodle tools, and photo effects Instagram has launched in stories and picture editing over the past year, as well as four new exclusive filters. "That's the whole app," according to The Verge, which also reported on a new way to easily jump between Direct and Instagram.

Still, there are some nice touches. Designers built what might be the niftiest app transition I’ve ever seen: If you start swiping to the right of the Direct inbox, an Instagram logo pops begins to peak out from the side of the app. Swipe all the way to the right and Direct will open Instagram. Similarly, you can swipe right in Instagram to reveal the Direct logo — a modified version of the paper-plane logo Instagram has long used for messages — and completing your swipe will take you back to Direct.

Since Facebook broke off Messenger into its own app in 2014, the company has added in chat bots, games, location sharing, ephemeral stories, online friend statuses, group video chat, and more. It's expected that Direct will also expand in a similar way if Instagram goes through with a global launch of the new app, which is starting off barebones in its test, leaving room for the company to "make it even better," according to Instagram product manager Hemal Shah.

Top Rated Comments

SamGabbay Avatar
63 months ago
No.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iModFrenzy Avatar
63 months ago
Just like Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct will end up buried in my app folders. Shame too because I actually use the direct messaging feature on Instagram to send posts to friends or just chat. I don't need a separate app for that.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dan9700 Avatar
63 months ago
Social media has become a joke and so cluttered
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DanielDD Avatar
63 months ago
Instagram was the "perfect" social media platform a couple of years ago. No sharing button encouraged original content. Lack of read and typing indicators made Direct my go to service to chat with my friends.

Facebook is destroying the app with their attempt to make Instagram as a catch all social media service.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saturnine Avatar
63 months ago
Given the tight integration between Instagram and Facebook, why not just merge the direct messaging systems?

I’m sure it was considered but, whatever their reasons, you can be sure it’s not for the benefit of their users.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GrumpyMom Avatar
63 months ago
I’m wasnt thrilled with how FB ripped Messenger out and made it a stand alone app. Then I decided I could see the benefits after all, and used it with my friends for awhile. But very quickly they cluttered it up with data mining crap and intrusive features. I thought I was just old and grumpy in my negative reaction and quick dumping of FB and their messaging app.

But my millennial nieces and nephews said they were irritated by it all, too.

I do perceive among my friends and family a “connectedness overload” and think social media overplayed their hand by adding on too many features that allowed people to become too intrusive on each other’s personal space.

It becomes harder to politely decline allowing oneself to have their online status or physical location tracked, or the pressure to acknowledge all of your friends’ posts becomes too demanding when you just want to sit back and relax. So it can become more attractive for some of us to opt out of social media at all.

Sometimes we just need our time and our schedules and our thoughts to ourselves and it’s very unpleasant to be tethered to a service that is doing its damnedest to pry those things out of us and distribute it all to the world.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
magsafe charger orange

Apple Releases New MagSafe Charger Firmware

Tuesday October 4, 2022 12:09 pm PDT by
Apple today released updated firmware for the MagSafe Charger that is designed to work with the iPhone 12 and later and the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 10M1821, up from the prior 10M229 firmware. Note that in the Settings app, you'll see a different version number than the firmware number, with the update displayed as version 255.0.0.0 (the prior firmware was 247.0.0.0). The...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
General YouTube Feature 1

You May Soon Need to Be a YouTube Premium Subscriber to Watch 4K Videos

Monday October 3, 2022 4:29 am PDT by
YouTube may make watching videos in 4K quality on the platform exclusive to only YouTube Premium subscribers, according to screenshots posted by users on Twitter and Reddit. On Reddit (1,2) and Twitter, some users have started to recently notice that on iOS, and presumably across other platforms also, YouTube is now saying that in order to watch videos in 4K, the user must be a paying...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...