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What do the Symbols and Icons Mean on Instagram

by Mehvish
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The Instagram app keeps having different symbols and icons regularly. At times, it becomes difficult to know what each icon means especially if you are new to Instagram. Here I have compiled a list of Instagram symbols along with their meaning.

Note: The actual position of the symbol may vary on your device. That’s because Instagram keeps changing the position of icons. However, the meaning remains the same.

1. Instagram Home Screen Symbols Meaning

Icons at the top of the app

  1. Arrow icon next to Instagram logo: Tap this icon to switch between the two feed formats: Following and Favorites. The latter shows the posts only from the selected people.
  2. Heart icon: The Heart icon shows your Instagram notifications.
  3. Messenger icon: This Facebook Messenger look-alike icon takes you to your Instagram inbox where you can see your messages.

Icons at the bottom of the app

  1. Home Icon: The Home icon takes you to your Instagram feed if you are on some other screen. Also, tapping on it will take you to the top of the Instagram feed if you are on the feed page itself.
  2. Magnifying glass icon: This icon takes you to the Explore and Search feed where Instagram shows videos and photos based on your interests. The content shown will be different for every user. Tap on the search bar at the top to search for reels, posts, profiles, etc., on Instagram.
  3. + Icon: The add or plus icon lets you create a new post, story, live, or Reels video.
  4. Reel Video Icon: This icon represents Instagram Reels and will take you to the Reels feed. Swipe up to view new Reels.
  5. Profile Picture: Tap this icon to go to your profile. Alternatively, if you are using multiple Instagram accounts, long touch this icon to view and switch between accounts.

2. Meaning of Symbols on an Instagram Post

  1. Checkmark Icon: The blue checkmark icon next to the user’s name means that profile is verified.
  2. Three-Dot: The three-dot icon on the top-right side of the post shows a menu offering various options like Remix, QR code, Unfollow, Hide, etc.
  3. Person Icon: The person icon on a post means that someone is tagged in the post. Tap on the post to reveal the username of the tagged person.
  4. Loudspeaker Icon: This icon shows whether the post is muted or not. If you see a bar on the Loudspeaker, it means that you will not hear the sound of the video.

Icons Below the Post

  1. Heart symbol: The heart symbol is the usual Like button. Tapping it will make the heart red and add a like to the photo. You can also double-click on the photo to like it. Know how to view all your liked photos. Also, find out how to hide likes on your Instagram posts.
  2. Chat bubble: Tap on it to view the comments under a post or to post a new comment. Check out how to see all the comments you have made on Instagram.
  3. Paper Plane Icon: Tap this icon to share or download the post. You can even add it to your Instagram story.
  4. Bookmark: This icon lets you save the post to your collections. To view the saved posts, open your Instagram profile screen and tap on the three-bar icon at the top. Choose Saved from the menu. Saved posts are private and only you can view them.

3. Instagram Message Icons Meaning

Icons on Instagram Chat List Screen

  1. Red Dot: The red dot next to your name means that you have unread messages in your other accounts.
  2. Video Camera Icon: Tap this icon to start a new video call.
  3. Pencil Icon: Use this icon to start a new personal or group chat.
  4. Camera Icon next to message thread: Use this icon to send a regular or vanishing photo to the user directly from the chat list.
  5. Bell With a Slash: The chat is muted.
  6. Pin Icon: It means the chat is pinned to the top of the list.

Icons Inside an Instagram Chat

  1. Phone Icon: This icon will start an audio call with the person.
  2. Video Camera Icon: Use this to start a video call.
  3. Paper Plane Icon: Use this icon to forward the image or video to another Instagram user.
  4. Bookmark Icon: Tap this icon to save the photo or video to a collection, which is a folder for saving posts or reels that you like separately in each chat.
  5. Camera Icon: Use this icon to send a picture or video to the user.
  6. Microphone Icon: Tap the icon to start a voice note.
  7. Gallery Icon: Tap this icon to send a picture from the phone’s gallery.
  8. Sticker Icon: Use this to send an avatar, sticker, or GIF in a chat.

4. Instagram Profile Page Icons Meaning

Icons on Your Own Profile Page

  1. Arrow Icon Next to the Username: Tap on it to see and switch between multiple accounts, if any. If you see a red dot, it means one of the other accounts has unread notifications.
  2. @ Icon: This icon represents Threads, a new app from Meta, and takes you there or asks you to install it.
  3. + in a box: Tap this button to create a Reel, Post, Story, Highlight, or Live.
  4. Three-bar Icon: Tap this icon to open Instagram Settings.
  5. Person with + Icon: Tap on this icon to discover new people to follow.

Icons below the Edit Profile Button:

  1. 9-grid icon: Shows all your Instagram posts.
  2. Reel icon: Shows all of your published Reels.
  3. Person Icon: Shows your tagged posts. Tap on an icon to switch to it.

Icons on Someone Else’s Profile

  1. Bell Icon: Tap on it to receive notifications from the person when they post a story, Reel, IGTV video, etc. The bell icon will show a checkmark when any notification type is enabled.
  2. Three-dot icon: Tap this icon to view various options for the profile like Block, restrict, hide story, copy URL, etc.
  3. Arrow Icon next to the Following Button: The small arrow next to the Following button lets you mute, restrict, unfollow, or add the person to the Close Friends list.
  4. Down Arrow Icon: This icon shows additional ways to contact the user and shows suggested accounts.

5. Instagram Story Symbols Meaning

Icons That Show Up While Viewing Stories

  1. Send a message box: If you want to reply to the creator of the story, tap on the Send message button. You will see quick reaction smileys. Tap on it to send a smiley as a reply or tap on the GIF icon to send a GIF. You can also type your reply in the Send message box.
  2. Heart Icon: Tap the icon to like the story. The like will not be sent in the DM.
  3. Paper Plane: This icon lets you send or share the story with others via the Instagram app or outside of it.

Icons That Show Up While Creating Stories

  1. Two Arrow Icon: This icon will move the story tools to the right or left side of the screen.
  2. Lightning Icon: This icon represents a flashlight. Tap the icon to switch between On, Auto, and Off modes.
  3. Settings Icon: Tap this icon to customize camera settings for story, reels, or live.
  4. Two Curved Arrows at the bottom: Tap this to switch between the front and back cameras.

Icons That Show Up While Editing Stories

  1. Two Arrow Icon: Zoom the photo
  2. Aa Icon: Add Text
  3. Smiley Icon: Add Stickers
  4. Three Stars: Add Effects
  5. Music: Add Music
  6. Three-dot: Open menu
  7. Arrow Icon (At the bottom): Tap this to publish the story, add it to close friends list, or send in a message.

Icons That Appear In the Text Tool

  1. Four Lines Icon: Use this to align the text right, left, or center.
  2. Color Palette Icon: Tap it to select a color for the text.
  3. A with two stars: Use it to add background color to the text.
  4. A with two lines: Use it to animate the text.

6. Instagram Reels Symbols Meaning

On Instagram Reels, you will find similar icons with the same meaning as present on a post.

  1. Camera Icon: Use it to create your own Reel.
  2. Heart Icon: It is used to like the Reel.
  3. Chat Bubble: Tap this to comment on the Reel.
  4. Paper Plane icon: Tap this to share the Reel.
  5. Three-Dot Icon: Use this to open the Menu to share the reel, manage content preferences, remix, etc.
  6. Sound Icon: Tap this icon to go to the audio page of the sound used in the video.

7. Instagram Live Video Icons

  1. Number at the top: The number shows how many people are watching the live video.
  2. + Plus Icon: Tap this icon to reveal a menu that shows another + icon but inside a video camera. Tap that to send a request to join the live video.
  3. ? Question mark in a chat bubble:
  4. Paper plane icon: Tap this icon to share the live video with others.
  5. Heart Icon: Use this icon to like the video.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post. Check out these helpful lists that explain the meanings of different icons in other popular apps:

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