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What is Instagram Dotted Circle? How to Activate/deactivate It?

Have you seen a dotted circle on Instagram and wondered what it’s about?

It’s time you should learn about Instagram’s Vanish Mode feature, represented by this dotted circle. This feature can make your messages disappear after they’re read or when you close the chat.

In this article, I’ll explain the Instagram Dotted Circle and give you easy steps to turn it on and off.

Let’s get started –

What is the Instagram Dotted Circle?

The Instagram dotted circle holds different meanings depending on the context in which it is seen.

In Instagram Direct Messages (DMs), the dotted circle often represents the status of a message. Specifically, it indicates that the message has been sent but not delivered to the recipient yet. The message is essentially still in transit.

Another scenario where the dotted circle comes into play is when a user enables ‘Vanish Mode’ in the DM interface. A dotted circle appears when this mode is turned on, indicating that the vanish mode is active.

Additionally, in the Instagram ‘Stories‘ feature, a small dotted circle icon appears next to your profile picture, representing that you have a list of ‘Close friends.

Note – As Instagram continues to evolve, icons and their meanings can change or have different connotations in varying contexts.

Are Instagram Dotted Circle and Vanish Mode the Same?

The Instagram dotted circle and Vanish Mode are unrelated but different.

The dotted circle symbol in Instagram Direct Messages (DMs) has multiple implications. It most commonly signifies that a message has been sent but hasn’t yet been delivered to the recipient. In other words, it denotes that the message is still in transit.

On the other hand, the “Vanish Mode” in Instagram DMs is a feature that was added in 2020. Vanish Mode allows users to send disappearing messages like text, images, videos, or GIFs. When this mode is active, a dotted circle indicates the status.

Hence, the Instagram dotted circle can be a sign of Vanish Mode being enabled, but it doesn’t denote Vanish Mode exclusively. It’s also used to show the delivery status of a message.

So, while the dotted circle and Vanish Mode are interconnected, they are not the same feature within Instagram’s Direct Messaging platform.

How to Activate Vanish Mode on Instagram?

Here’s how you can activate Vanish Mode on Instagram:

  1. Open Instagram on your phone or tablet.
  2. Go to your private messages and choose the chat where you want to enable Vanish Mode.
  3. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen and release your finger to activate Vanish Mode.
  4. Once it is activated and you’re in light mode, Instagram will go into dark mode, and some shushing emojis will fall from the top of your screen to signal that you are in Vanish Mode.

Please be aware that messages sent in Vanish Mode disappear after they’re seen or when you close the chat.

How to DeActivate Vanish Mode on Instagram?

Here’s how you can deactivate Vanish Mode on Instagram –

  1. Open the Instagram application.
  2. Go to your private messages and choose the chat where Vanish Mode is active.
  3. Swipe up from the bottom of your chat screen. This should deactivate Vanish Mode.

Does Vanish Mode Pose a Threat to Your Security?

Vanish Mode is generally considered a valuable privacy and security feature rather than a threat. This feature, also known as disappearing messages, makes your messages disappear once a recipient reads them or after a certain period. It is seen as a useful tool for privacy protection and chat hygiene.

Instagram’s vanish mode protects your messages in case bad actors are trying to hack into your account, or someone snoops around on your phone. It allows you to erase the details of a private chat.

Considering the increase in online threats and cybercrimes, Vanish Mode is a useful security tool. However, its effectiveness heavily depends on the trust you place in the recipient of your messages. If the other person takes a screenshot or uses other means to capture the content before it disappears, the purpose of Vanish Mode can be subverted.

Therefore, while Vanish Mode doesn’t pose a security threat, users should be aware that its efficacy for privacy protection relies on the integrity of the individuals in the conversation.


Using the Instagram Dotted Circle in Vanish Mode can help you keep your chats private.

Now that you know how to use it, you can control how you want to talk to others on Instagram. Turn on Vanish Mode when you want your messages to disappear and off when you don’t.

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