Instagram has every single feature that puts it into the list of best social media apps available till now. From posts to reels to stories and messages, Instagram is not lacking behind in providing you with the features to keep you in trend. The one and the only feature that holds back Instagram from being the perfect app is the unavailability of the search feature inside the direct messages.

Search messages on Instagram chats

If you have to look up for a particular conversation that took place a long time ago, you don’t have any choice except for scrolling through the huge piles of messages that took place after that. But technology has advanced to the point where you can pave your way to the solution without the feature available to search for a particular conversation. And that is all this article is about.

Today in this article, we will give you a walkthrough to search for a message in your Instagram chats using external methods. These methods include the use of Google Chrome and downloading Instagram data. This might sound a little confusing and hard to do, but believe us, it’s not. Let’s see how these tricks work.

Search Instagram direct messages using Chrome

As you may already know, Google Chrome has a search feature that allows you to find text in the web page. We will be using this feature to search messages on Instagram chats in this method. If you have an iPhone, you can also use the Safari browser for this task. So basically what you need to do is first login to your Instagram account, open the chat and load all the messages in which you want to run the search operation. After that, you can use the search feature on the browser to find the message you are looking for. Isn't that easy? This step-by-step guide will show you how to search a text on Instagram direct messages -

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser on your Android phone. iPhone users can open the Safari browser. Both these apps comes pre-installed on your smartphone.
  2. Visit the Instagram website and log in to your account. You can log in with your Facebook account or username and password.
  3. Go to the DM (Direct Messenger). For this, click the messenger icon at the top-right corner and it will take you to the Instagram DM where you will find all your recent chats.
  4. Open the chat where you want to search the message. Simply, click on the username and it will open the conversation page.
  5. Load the previous messages. By default, Instagram will only show you limited messages on a single page. If you use the search feature now, it will only find the text in those messages only. Keep scrolling up to load earlier messages until where you want to search operation.
  6. Tap the menu button (three dots) at the top-right corner of the Chrome browser. If you are using Safari, then click the share button (a small square with an arrow pointing in the upward direction). This is available at the bottom of the web page.
    Instagram conversation
  7. Click on the Find in Page option. The Safari browser also has a similar option named Find on Page which can be found by swiping up the share window.
    Find in page option
  8. Type the message you want to search. The browser will now highlight all the instances of the text you have searched in yellow colour. You can click on the up or down arrows on the search bar to switch to the next or previous matched result.
    Search for messages

This is one of the easiest ways to search Instagram direct messages as it doesn't require you to download any third-party app on your smartphone, however, the drawback of this method is that you have to load all earlier messages on the Instagram chat manually which is quite tedious and there are chances your browser may crash when it's searching the text.

Search Instagram direct messages by downloading data

Instagram allows you to download all your account data which includes chats and messages also. This data is in text form so it can be easily searched by using any text editor application. Apart from that, you can also use an online tool to convert this data into a human readable format. This might sound a little tricky but it's actually very simple. As to make this method easy, we have divided it into two parts. The first part will show you how to download your Instagram data and then we will discuss how you can search your Instagram direct messages.

1. Downloading your Instagram data

  1. Open the Instagram app and go to your profile (tap on the profile picture icon at the bottom-right corner).
  2. Now click the menu button (hamburger icon) in the upper right corner and then go to Settings > Security.
    Security option
  3. Under data and history, click on the Download data option.
    Download Instagram data
  4. Now you will be asked to provide the email address on which you want to receive the link to download your data. Make sure that it is the same email address which you have linked with your Instagram account. Tap on the Request Download button.
    Provide email ID
  5. In the next step, you have to enter your password for verification purposes. Click the Next option after that. Now Instagram will collect all your data and then provide you with a link to download it on your email address. This process may take up to 48 hours so you need to have some patience while Instagram prepares your data.
    Instagram password
  6. Check your inbox for a new email by Instagram. You will find a download link in that email. Click on it and then a ZIP file will be downloaded on your phone which contains all your account data such as photos, comments, chats, messages, profile information and more.

2. Search Instagram messages in downloaded data

First, you will need to extract all data from the ZIP file. This can be done by using the built-in file manager on your smartphone. Most of the file manager apps provide this feature to extract ZIP files. If you didn't find this feature, then you can use a third-party ZIP extractor for this task. Once the data is extracted, you will find various files in it which are in JSON format.

Find and open messages.json file in the text editor. This contains all your messages and chats. Now use the search feature in the text editor tool and find the conversation you are looking for. The data you see in the messages.json file can be extremely difficult to read and understand. To change it to a human readable form, you can also use the online JSON Formatter tool which will convert all your data in a well organized hierarchical format.

General FAQs

Does downloaded data contains deleted messages?

The answer is no. Instagram doesn't store deleted messages on your account data whether they are deleted by you or sender. When someone unsend a message on Instagram, it gets deleted permanently and there is no way you can recover it. However, there is a workaround through which you can store unsend messages from the notification before they are deleted. To know more about this, you can read our guide on how to read unsend messages on Instagram.

How to get to the top of a chat on Instagram?

There is no way you can get to the top of a chat on Instagram except scrolling the messages manually. With the methods we have shared in this tutorial, you can search the first message you have sent to someone and then check your conversation from there but for this you need to know the exact message that you have sent at the starting of the conversation.

How to see first message on Instagram without scrolling?

By downloading the Instagram data and checking your conversation in messages.json file, you can look for the first message you have sent to someone. This is more easier if you use the JSON Formatter tool to convert the data into a human readable form. The first method will not work in this case as you will need to scroll to the top of the chat in that method.

How do you search messages on Instagram by date?

Yes, it is possible to find messages on Instagram by date with the second method. Instagram store all information of your messages like when they are sent or received including the date and time. To find messages that took place on a particular date, search in YYYY-MM-DD format (for example, 2021-10-12). This will highlight all messages that you have sent or received on that date.

So that's pretty much everything you need to know about this tutorial. Until Instagram support this feature natively, these seems to be the only possible ways to search messages on Instagram chats. In case you know about some other way, do let us know in comments below. Find this guide helpful? Share it with your friends on social media.