Instagram’s Direct Messages are migrating to desktop. On Tuesday, January 14, Instagram confirmed that the longstanding mobile messaging option is now being tested on desktop for a small number of users. The test follows a continued slow build-up of Instagram’s notoriously limited web platform.
Instagram says that the experience is similar to the mobile messages, though not identical. As with a mobile device, users can see the number of unread messages at the top of the screen, on that familiar paper airplane icon. The desktop messaging also houses all the Direct Messages in one spot and allows for sending replies. A double tap on mobile likes a message, while a double click does the same on desktop.
Photos can also be sent in a private message on desktop, though desktop won’t have the ability to take a photo with a webcam in-app as users can with a smartphone camera. Instagram says, however, that images can be copied and pasted into a message on desktop.
“Our hope is that this will give people, creators, and businesses easier access to your messages so that they can stay in touch with the friends and followers that matter to them,” an Instagram representative told Digital Trends.
The option to send a message from a user’s profile page and to share a post from the newsfeed in a private message will also be part of the desktop feature.
The expansion of direct messaging into the desktop platform follows a similar move for several other features on the traditionally mobile-first Instagram. Stories have already made the jump to desktop. With the option to send messages on desktop, users will also gain the option to reply to Stories, similar to the existing option in the mobile app.
Instagram began testing Direct Messaging on desktop internally last year. While the app allows users to access messages anywhere, desktop access may be more convenient for typing out a large number of messages, such as influencers responding to fans, or for sharing images saved on the desktop computer.
The test is launching globally beginning today — but only with a small percentage of users. Instagram will share how to use the expanded feature in the app for users who are a part of the test.