Instagram is updating its messaging features to provide a single inbox for all conversations, with Instagram Direct now combining both ephemeral and permanent messages.

Cloning Snapchat Stories proved to be a hit for Instagram and it's now time to spice things up in the private messaging segment of the app with a reimagined Instagram Direct inbox.

So far, Instagram would display ephemeral and disappearing messages in two separate areas within Instagram Direct. The ephemeral messages would appear at the top of the screen, while the permanent ones would be at the bottom.

Instagram Direct Combines Disappearing And Permanent Messages

With the latest update, ephemeral and permanent messages are no longer displayed separately, but instead appear intertwined within permanent chat threads. The ephemeral photos and videos will still disappear once they've been viewed, but the chat thread will now retain a permanent record in the form of a note that mentions that something has been shared.

The goal of combining permanent and disappearing messages is to make it easier for Instagram users to maintain an ongoing conversation even if it includes many disappearing messages.

"Today, we're launching the new Direct to make it fast and easy to turn any conversation into a visual conversation with photos and videos," says Instagram. "Texts and reshares will now appear in the same thread with disappearing photos and videos so you can seamlessly go back and forth with your friends."

Instagram Direct Combined Inbox: How It Works

To send an ephemeral photo or video via Instagram Direct, just swipe left into Direct and tap the blue camera icon that now appears inside all existing threads. Swiping right from the feed, meanwhile, takes users straight to the camera. To share the disappearing photo or video, simply tap the arrow to send it to a friend or a group. Notifications within the message thread will make it easy to see who has seen the message.

Disappearing messages will appear in the Instagram Inbox with blue highlights. Users can tap such messages to replay them once, but the sender will receive a notification when the message is replayed or screenshotted. Uploads, texts, and reshares don't get any changes with this update.

Instagram Direct On The Rise

Instagram boasts that the number of Direct monthly users has significantly grown since the last update back in November 2016, soaring from 300 million to 375 million users. As a reminder, that November update added ephemeral messages among other things, aiming to promote more visual and fun conversations.

Instagram pledges to keep improving the experience and this new Direct inbox is a notable step in the right direction, especially since it means getting rid of that separate Stories bar.

The Instagram Direct inbox does indeed look more streamlined now and it's easier to keep track of chats and have ongoing conversations. The updated Direct is available for both Android and iOS with the latest Instagram version 10.16.

Have you tried it out yet? Drop by our comments section below and tell us what you think of it.

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