Some time ago, you used Instagram Direct messages to exchange photos with an acquaintance and now you can't remember whether or not you downloaded them to your phone's memory. As a result, you immediately opened the app looking for the conversation containing the images in question but, alas, could not find it. So, without hesitation, you immediately opened Google in search of a guide that could show you how to retrieve Instagram chat and, for this reason, you happened to be here, on my website.
If the situation you're in is exactly as I described it, know that you're in the right place, at the right time! In the course of this tutorial, in fact, I'll give you some "tips" useful to retrieve the Instagram chat elements by directly intervening on your phone's memory.
Before doing anything, however, I invite you to read carefully the chapter on preliminary information, in which I explained in detail the terms under which you can complete the recovery, also providing valuable advice to protect your privacy. Please make sure you understand everything before proceeding!
Before we even get to the heart of this guide and show you the applicable techniques to recover some Instagram chat elements, it is good to be aware of the limitations of similar procedures.
To begin with, Direct (i.e. Instagram's chat area) is not a real messaging app: for this reason, the messages received are not downloaded to the memory of the device in use but are only available on Instagram servers.
This means that once you request the deletion of a message via the app, it will be deleted from the social network server at the same time. Therefore, since there is no local copy (i.e. saved in the memory of the device) of the message in question, it cannot be recovered in any way, unless, of course, you explicitly request a copy from its recipient!
Also be aware of the online services that promise to complete this operation: in almost all cases, you will be asked to enter your Instagram account credentials to continue. Using such tools, as well as being useless, could also be particularly damaging to your privacy: the access data released could end up in the hands of anyone, even cyber criminals, who could do almost anything.
The issue is, instead, different as far as images, videos and files downloaded from Direct chats are concerned (this can be done by tapping on their respective previews and tapping the Save item located in the menu that appears): they, in fact, remain available in the device memory even after deleting the chat message.
Moreover, it is possible to recover files downloaded from Direct and then deleted from the device memory by using a series of apps and programs dedicated to the purpose. Everything is explained in detail in the following chapters of this guide.
How to retrieve Instagram chat on Android
Given the necessary premises of the case, it is time for you to take action and explain how to recover multimedia items from Instagram chats on Android.
Don't worry, it's much easier than you think: photos and videos downloaded from the Direct section of Instagram are automatically saved in the Instagram folder of your device, where they remain even after you delete them.
To retrieve them, start the Photo app (or the app you use to manage the Android gallery), tap on the ☰ icon located in the top left corner and tap on the Device Folders item from the menu you are offered. Finally, locate the folder called Instagram and tap on it: the photos and videos you were looking for are there, ready to be viewed.
If the Instagram folder is not visible in the Android photo gallery management app, you can still access it using a file management app, such as Google Files.
Once you've started the app in question, tap on the Browse tab at the bottom and navigate to the Internal Memory > Pictures > Instagram path: here you'll find all the files downloaded via the app, including those from Direct.
If the files in question are no longer in the above folder because, for example, you deleted them manually, you can try to recover them using software designed specifically for recovering pictures, videos, and generally deleted files from Android memory. I have told you about it in detail in my guides on how to recover deleted photos on Android and how to recover deleted videos from Android.
How to recover Instagram chat on iOS
The talk to retrieve Instagram chats on iOS is very similar to the one already dealt with for Android: again, the multimedia elements downloaded from Direct chats are stored in the iOS roll.
So to retrieve them, all you have to do is launch the Photos app and tap the All Photos icon, located at the bottom left: the images and videos you downloaded previously are there, ready to be viewed.
I'm sorry? Are you well aware of this possibility but, alas, have you manually deleted the files downloaded from the Direct chat? As I explained in my guide to recovering deleted photos from your iPhone without a PC, this is a special area reserved for the iPhone and iPad Photo app (as well as the iCloud Photo Library service) where you can temporarily transfer deleted photos and videos from your device.
The multimedia items thus deleted remain in the Recently Deleted folder for a variable period, up to a maximum of 40 days, after which they are permanently deleted both from the device and from iCloud (if the iCloud Photo Library is active).
So if you've deleted the file you're interested in quite recently, you can try restoring it by following these steps: launch the iOS Photos app, tap the Albums tab (located below) and scroll to the next screen, until you find the Recently Deleted item.
When you have found it, tap on it to access the album of the same name and, after finding the item you have deleted, tap on its preview and then on the Retrieve button twice in a row, in order to move it back to the iOS roll.
If you can't even recover items downloaded from Direct in this way, you can try it all by relying on a special program aimed at recovering deleted files, such as EaseUS MobiSaver, which I told you about in my guide on how to recover deleted photos from iPhone (also valid for iPad).
How to recover Instagram chat on PC
If you have got this far, it means that you have perfectly understood the techniques for recovering files deleted from Direct chats, but you haven't found a solution to your problem, which is quite different in nature: what you are looking for, in fact, is a method to recover Instagram conversations on your computer, since Direct is not available in the Web version of the service.
If that's the case, I think I have a couple of solutions for you: if you use Windows 10, for example, you can access Direct using the official Instagram application, available on the Microsoft Store.
To get it, connect to the web page I provided earlier, click on the Get and Open Microsoft Store buttons and, to start the software installation, press the Install button.
After that, start the Instagram application by calling it from the Start menu (the flag icon located in the lower left corner of the screen) or by pressing the Start button, which appears in the Microsoft Store. Then log in using your credentials and, when login is complete, click on the airplane icon (top right corner) to access the Direct section.
If, on the other hand, you have an operating system other than Windows 10, you can use an Android emulator to download the Instagram app directly to your computer, and run it from there: I explained in detail how this type of software works in my guide to the best Android emulators.