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Until late 2017 there were no notifications and you could only tell that somebody messaged you when you went into the app and the little red button was showing in the top right corner.
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Of course you can set up your contact buttons – as explained here– on your business Instagram account and hope that people will email you instead but people still send direct messages to inquire about partnerships, business opportunities and other things worth catching.
And I’ve actually missed messages before because of the missing notification option. So I was excited to see the following prompt in late 2017 when I hopped onto my Instagram account:
Instagram is now allowing me to turn on notifications to be a alerted when new messages come in. I could only see this on my profile page so be sure to go there to see if you get that option.
Click the blue button that says turn on notifications and you should be set to go. What if you accidentally closed out of it? Just refresh your profile page and you should get the notification again. I even got it again and again after turning on the notifications.
As far as I can tell there’s no way in the settings to turn notifications on as of this writing. But I did see an option to turn on direct message requests from different sets of Instagram users. So maybe those options, pictured below, do the trick if you missed the notification:
Of course, remember to go to your phone’s notification settings to allow notifications from Instagram if that’s not already turned on. For me I have them turned on and the test notification from my wife looked like this on the locked screen:
So this is a great improvement to the app and it certainly should make it easier for us to catch messages send to us from our community members.