How To Search For Messages On Instagram? [All About It!]

Someone posted a post on Instagram that has 22 likes.
Instagram profile

There are five ways you can find messages from past conversations. You can scroll through the chat manually, use the search bar directly, or opt for the “Search in Conversation” feature available for each chat.

If you’re using Instagram on a web browser, you can load the chats and use the Ctrl+F function to search for messages. Alternatively, you can download your data and then use the Ctrl+F function within the downloaded zip file.

Instagram stands out as a well-liked social media platform that captivates users with its appealing features and visually appealing content. Instagram consistently enhances its features to maintain a user-friendly platform. This ensures that users have maximum convenience and ease.

Is It Possible To Search Through Your Instagram Messages?

A graffiti saying "Yes!!"

Instagram is always working hard to make things easier and more enjoyable for its users. They’re constantly updating the platform to provide more options and control over your account. Thus, making your experience smoother.

After every update, you’ll notice new features designed to enhance convenience and comfort. The people behind Instagram really care about their users and are dedicated to making the platform user-friendly.

Now, think about this: Imagine being able to search through a conversation to find a specific message or thread. Just the thought of it is pretty amazing, right?

That’s because there are times when you might need to refer back to certain messages. It could be to prove a point, revisit a suggestion, or recall advice given to you. In all these situations, having the ability to look back at previous messages feels like a hidden blessing.

Let’s take Snapchat’s messaging feature as an example. While the disappearing messages might seem appealing initially, there often comes a time when we wish we could revisit older messages.

So, here’s the great news. Yes, you can indeed search through past conversations on Instagram. This makes Instagram a win-win situation. If you want to have conversations that you don’t plan to look back at, you can use the vanish mode.

On the other hand, in regular chats, all your messages are there. They serve as a record that you can easily review whenever you need to.

What’s The Method To Find Past Conversations On Instagram?

Now that you know that Instagram lets you view your past chats, you might be curious about how to actually do it. Let’s dive into the details!

Scroll All The Way Up

Hands holding phone and using it.
Illustration of scrolling

The initial approach involves scrolling all the way to the top of the chat to locate the conversation you’re interested in. It’s also worth noting that this was the primary method used by early Instagram users.

I understand this might seem a bit impractical as it requires manual effort and consumes a lot of time. Additionally, it’s mostly effective if you remember the exact date of the conversation.

Otherwise, it could lead to sifting through endless chats, making it quite challenging to find what you’re looking for.

This method can work better for chats where you don’t communicate daily and have fewer interactions.

Anyways, as Instagram evolved with updates, there’s now a more convenient solution available. A separate tool has been introduced that allows you to search through previous conversations quickly.

This eliminates the need for the time-consuming manual scrolling method.

Search In Conversation

The chat settings show the search in conversation icon along with others.

The tool I mentioned earlier is none other than the “Search in Conversation” feature. Yes, you guessed it right! The name itself suggests that it’s designed for searching through your past conversations.

The best part is, you don’t even need to load all the previous messages before using this tool to search for a specific keyword.

Here’s how you can access this useful feature:

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Click on the DM icon located at the top right corner. This will show you all the people you’ve interacted with in your Direct Messages.
  3. Choose the chat you’re interested in.
  4. Then click on the username at the top. This will take you to the chat settings.
  5. There, you’ll find the “Search in Conversation” option. Click on it, and you’ll notice a search bar appearing at the top.
  6. Now, simply type in the phrase or keyword you’re looking for.
  7. Then either click on the search icon or hit the “Enter” button on your keyboard.
  8. The page will load, and you’ll be presented with all the messages that match your search, along with their precise dates.

It’s a quick and efficient way to find what you’re looking for in your previous conversations.

Use The Search Bar

The Instagram account of "hannahbarker580" and the search bar in the dms section.
Search bar

You can also directly use the search bar for this purpose. I know you might be thinking that the search bar only looks for people to chat with and not the messages themselves.

However, let me tell you, it does search through messages too, and it works surprisingly well.

This feature is especially handy when you vaguely remember having a conversation that you want to revisit but don’t recall exactly who you talked to. It comes in handy for those situations.

The best part is that you don’t need to go an extra mile to search for messages like you do when using the “Search in Conversation” option.

Here’s how you can use this feature:

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Click on the DM icon at the top right. This will take you to your DM list.
  3. Click on the search bar located at the top.
  4. Type in any keyword or phrase related to the conversation you’re looking for.
  5. Tap the “Enter” key or the search icon on your keyboard.
  6. All the chats containing that keyword or phrase will show up, along with the exact date.

It’s a straightforward way to quickly find conversations based on specific keywords or phrases, even when you’re not exactly sure who you talked to.

How to search messages on Instagram

Use Ctrl+F

A very helpful keyboard function "Ctrl+F"

This Ctrl + F function is available only when you’re using Instagram on a computer or laptop. There’s a small drawback to this feature, though. Before you can make use of it, you’ll need to load all your chats.

It works best if you remember the approximate date of the messages you’re searching for, so you can scroll to that point more easily. You can scroll either using the mouse, which might take a bit longer or by using the “PgUp” key on your keyboard’s touchpad to speed things up.

Here’s how you can use this feature:

  1. Open Instagram in your browser.
  2. Go to the messages section from the menu on the left side of the screen.
  3. Make sure all your messages are loaded.
  4. Now, press the Ctrl key on your keyboard and simultaneously press the F key as well.
  5. This will bring up a search bar at the top of the page.
  6. Type in a keyword or phrase you’re looking for, and it’ll show up in all the chats where you used that word.

Keep in mind, though, that if you’re certain you used a keyword or phrase in your previous chats and it doesn’t appear in the search results, it means your chats might not be loaded up to the point where that word or phrase is used.

Download Message Data

Under the "Your activity" section. you'll find this option. Tap on it and complete the on-screen prompts to get a copy of your information
Download your information

Lastly, here’s a method that might seem a bit more complex compared to the ones I’ve mentioned earlier. However, it allows you to use the Ctrl + F function without needing to manually scroll through the entire chat.

What’s great is that you can not only download messages, but also pictures, videos, search history, and more.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Instagram in your browser.
  2. Click on the horizontal three-lined icon.
  3. Go to “Your Activity.”
  4. Then, click on “Download Your Information.”
  5. Provide your email and choose the file type, preferably JSON.
  6. Instagram will ask you to confirm your identity by entering your password.
  7. Once confirmed, you’ll receive a notification that you’ll get your downloaded file within 14 days via email.
  8. When you receive the email, download the zip file. When you access it, you’ll see that it might be named something like “messages.json.”
  9. Open the file; at first, it might look a bit confusing but don’t worry.
  10. If you’re using Windows, press Ctrl + F. If you’re using a Mac, press Cmd + F.
  11. Start by searching for the keyword you’re interested in. With a bit of practice, you’ll get the hang of navigating the file.
  12. If you find this method challenging to understand, you can use a JSON-formatter tool that will help make the data more comprehensible.

This approach gives you more control over your data and allows you to search through your chats effectively, even though it might take a bit more effort to set up initially.

Can You Search Instagram Conversations Using the Date, Time, Or Voice Messages?

"Can you" written in an irregular manner.
Can you?

Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t currently offer the option to search conversations based on dates, times, or even voice messages. This functionality only works when you input a specific phrase or keyword.

Instagram doesn’t provide any alternatives if you want to use methods beyond searching with plain text.

The approach of searching by keyword is designed to be simple and efficient. If you consider it, trying to search by date and time could be quite overwhelming. You’d have to sift through numerous conversations that happened during that specific period.

On the other hand, searching using keywords is a much more straightforward and convenient way to find what you’re looking for.

Why Do Individuals Find Themselves Needing To Look Back At Past Conversations?

There are several reasons why users might want to revisit past chats and utilize Instagram’s methods for searching through previous conversations. Here are some of the reasons listed in the table below:

Recalling SomethingWhen you need to remember something that you or someone else said, like a suggestion or advice, the option to search within your conversations becomes really useful.
Proving A PointIn the middle of arguments or discussions, there might be times when you need to go back to a certain chat to show evidence that supports your viewpoint.
Verifying InformationIf you require confirmation about something you’ve discussed before, regardless of the topic, you have the option to refer back and easily search for that information.
Plans And PasswordsAt times, you might have talked about plans, passwords, or appointments with someone in your conversations. It’s handy to be able to search back and find these specific details when you need them.
Group ProjectsEspecially when working on group projects, there are multiple people involved, which can sometimes lead to confusion. In the midst of all the conversations, important details can easily get lost. This is where this feature becomes really useful.
Reasons why people might want to revisit past chats

To Conclude

  • Instagram is a popular social media platform known for visual content.
  • Users can indeed search through their Instagram messages using various methods.
  • Methods include scrolling through chats, using the search bar, utilizing the “Search in Conversation” feature, and using browser-specific options.
  • Instagram’s search functionality allows users to find messages based on keywords and phrases only.
  • It doesn’t support searching by specific dates, times, or voice messages.
  • People often feel the need to revisit past conversations to recall information, verify statements, retrieve plans, reference advice, etc.

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