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Instagram Launches Video Chat Feature in Instagram Direct

Close on the tail of Instagram’s IGTV launch comes a brand new feature that could have you spending more time chatting IRL: Instagram Video Chat!

While we knew the launch of Video Chat was in the pipeline for Instagram (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the feature just a few months ago at the F8 Conference), according to a press release from Instagram, you can start using Video Chat as of today.

With Instagram quickly becoming a one-stop-shop for its 1 billion users’ social needs, it no surprise that direct and group Video Chat has been integrated into the app’s expanding features.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new feature:

How to Get Started with Instagram Video Chat

Ready to make your first call with Instagram Video Chat? It couldn’t be simpler! Just follow these steps and get chatting!

First, download the latest version of the Instagram app on iOS or Android.

Once updated, open the app and head to your Instagram Direct by either swiping left or tapping the arrow icon in the top-right corner of your profile. 

video chat

Open a message thread with someone you want to Video Chat with — or start a new thread by tapping the “+” icon in the top-right of your inbox and typing a username.

video chat instagram

Once in the message thread, tap the new camera icon on the top-right corner, and a Video Chat will request (and ring) will be sent to your friend’s phone.

instagram video chat

If there’s more than one person in the Instagram Direct thread, tapping the camera icon will call everyone in the thread.

And voilà! You’re well on your way to starting your first Instagram Video Chat. But before you go, here are some other important things to know about video chatting on Instagram:

You Can Have an Instagram Video Chat with up to Four Friends

Instagram’s new Video Chat feature has undoubtedly been designed with friendship groups in mind considering that you can have a video call with up to four people at the same time.

As more people join your call, the screen will expand and divide so you can see everyone that you’re chatting with — so you’ll never miss a reaction!

video chat instagram direct

If you’re part of a group thread on Instagram Direct and there’s an active Video Chat going on in your group, the camera icon in the top-right corner of your thread will turn blue. All you have to do is tap the camera icon to join in on the fun!

There’s also no time limit to your calls on Video Chat, so feel free to take as long as you like.

You Can Only Video Chat with People You’re Actively DMing on Instagram

Instagram Video Chat is only available with people you have an active Instagram Direct thread with.

So say you have a follower named Annie. If you’ve never chatted with Annie through Instagram Direct, Annie won’t be able to call you and you won’t be able to call her until you’ve started a message thread.

video chat

Also if you block someone on Instagram, regardless if you’ve messaged them in the past, they won’t be able to Video Chat with you.

You Can Browse the Instagram App While Using Video Chat

If you’re a fan of multi-tasking, you’re going to love this: you can still browse the Instagram app while on a Video Chat.  

All you have to do is tap the minimize button in the top-left corner while chatting. A small rectangle with your friends’ face will appear on your screen that you can drag around.

how to video chat on instagram

You can then continue to scroll, send messages and photos in your Direct Messages, post an Instagram tory, and more!

Keep in mind that when you minimize a Video Chat, only you will be able to see what’s on your screen! And unless your friends minimize their chat as well, they’ll see your face while you browse.

video chat instagram

Given the success of Instagram Live and the launch of IGTV, this new feature is an exciting step for Instagram in terms of bringing communities together in real-time. No doubt we’ll see brands and businesses using the Video Chat feature to their advantage too, so stay tuned!

Want to know what other exciting launches Instagram have in store, and learn how to use them for your business as soon as they’re live? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Written By

Nikki Canning

Nikki is Later’s Blog Editor. She’s worked in digital media in Dublin, London, and Sydney & loves nothing more than hitting “publish” on a new post. On a weekend, you’ll find her outdoors, patting a stranger’s dog or scrolling Instagram to plan her next adventure — follow along on @nikkitravelled.