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How to Tell If Someone Is Active on Instagram

Social media platforms all enjoy stressing out their users. Social media platforms like Snapchat could implement features enabling users to check their friends’ active status, but they chose not to, apparently for no reason.

However, Facebook-owned platforms don’t care so much about privacy, and that isn’t all bad. At least, you’ll know if your friends are active on Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Checking someone’s active status on Instagram isn’t complicated and requires no insane hacks like Snapchat or Signal. In this post, we’ll show you how to tell if someone is active on Instagram.

How to Tell If Someone Is Active on Instagram

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Almost all social media platforms implement some friendship-based features. If you’ve built a family over a specific social media, you’ll want to know when they’re actively using the platform.

With a site platform like Instagram, this is a piece of cake. You can always check if someone is active on Instagram if you are eligible to do so.

Before we jump into the eligibility criteria, let’s look at the steps required to tell if a user is active on Instagram.

  • Launch Instagram on your device, sign in to your account, and navigate to your DMs. The messages icon is at the top right corner of the interface.
  • Find the user that you’d like to check their active status. You should see a green dot beside their photo and next to their username if they are active at that moment.

If they are not active, you should see when they last used Instagram instead.

If you can’t find the user in your DMs, you’ve likely not exchanged messages with them on Instagram. Consider sending them a message to see their active status.

Note that they don’t have to reply to your message for this to work. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you should be able to see when they were last active. Now, what are these eligibility requirements?

Who can see your active status on Instagram?

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By now, you must have noticed that you can’t see if everyone is active on Instagram. This doesn’t only apply to people out of your DM; even some of those you sent messages still don’t have their active statuses visible.

Why is this happening?

While Instagram may not be the best social media platform in terms of privacy, it needs some basic privacy practices to keep its users safe. One of the privacy practices in action is the reason why you can’t see when some users were last active.

We won’t keep you in the dark. Here, we’ll show you some categories of people that you can’t see their active status, regardless of how hard you try.

  • People who don’t follow you

More than 90% of the time, this is the reason why you can’t see if someone is active on Instagram. Instagram wasn’t designed like Facebook, so the concept of friendship is nonexistent in the Instagram world.

To replace friendships, Instagram introduced followership. People can connect on Instagram by following themselves, as opposed to sending friend requests on Facebook.

However, the followership model has a glaring flaw: it is one-sided! It wouldn’t make sense for Instagram to think I’m friends with someone because they wanted to be my friend. However, it makes sense that I only follow people that I’d like to befriend.

Using this logic, you’ll understand why you can only view the active statuses of those who follow you on Instagram. In short, if Rihanna’s Instagram usage is what you’re trying to track, you’ll have to grow popular enough to get her to follow you.

  • People with private accounts

If you’ve used Instagram for a while, you should’ve noticed private accounts and how they work.

You can’t view pictures and videos from a private account if you don’t follow them, but that’s merely scratching the surface of the potential restrictions.

In addition to the inability to see their photos, you also can’t connect with them as you would with a normal account, as they can simply ignore your DM or block you from messaging them after the first attempt.

However, it’s not impossible to tell if someone with a private account is active on Instagram. To do so, you only have to follow them, get them to accept the following request, and have them follow you back; that sounds so much like Facebook, doesn’t it?

If you can strike a mutual follow, you can send them a private message to see the last time they opened Instagram on their device—not worth it, if you ask me.

  • You haven’t messaged them recently

Even if you should be able to see someone’s active status, you may be unable to see it, no thanks to an Instagram rule: you can only see the ‘last seen’ for the first 25 users in your DM.

While we can’t find any justification for this, the rule exists. If you haven’t messaged the user in question for quite some time, consider sending them a message to bring them to the top of the users in your DM list to reveal their active status.

  • The user has restricted you.

An Instagram restriction differs from a block because you can’t even see a user who blocked you on Instagram. On the other hand, when a user restricts an account, it appears like they’ve hidden their active status on Instagram, but only for that specific user.

Under a restriction, you can’t tell if the user is active on Instagram or when they were last active. Also, you may be unable to see their photos and videos.


Instagram has grown to be very popular in recent times. While its purpose isn’t messages and private discussions, messaging remains an essential feature in all social media platforms.

One convenience feature of messages is seeing when a person is active to know when to expect replies to your messages. But running through your Instagram DM, you’ll notice that you can’t see the active status for many people.

In this post, we explained why that may be the case, and how to tell if someone is active on Instagram without having to call and ask.

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