The Facebook Messenger and Instagram logos.

Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012, but the platforms remained mostly separate. This changed in 2020, though—you can now send messages to anyone on Facebook from the Instagram app. We’ll show you how to use the Cross-App Messaging feature.

Cross-App Messaging works in both directions: Facebook Messenger to Instagram, or Instagram to Facebook Messenger. However, it’s more prominent on Instagram as the Direct Message icon has been replaced with a Messenger icon.

There are a couple of limitations, however. You can only message people on Facebook from Instagram, not groups or pages. In Facebook Messenger, you can message any Instagram account, but not Direct Message groups.

It’s important to note that the two platforms haven’t “merged.” Your Messenger conversations will not suddenly appear in Instragam, or vice versa. You have to actually seek out people on the other platform.

To get started, open the Instagram app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. Tap the Messenger icon at the top right.

Next, type the person’s name in the Search box at the top.

Type a name in the Search box.

As you’re typing, results will appear below in different sections. Other people on Instagram will appear at the top, followed by “Facebook Friends.” Tap the person you’re looking for if they appear or tap “See All” to see more Facebook results.

Tap the person you want to message.

You’ll see a prompt that says “You’re Messaging a Facebook Account.” You can now send a message and your friend will see a similar prompt.

The "You're Messaging a Facebook Account" pop-up.

If you aren’t friends with the person on Facebook, he’ll be asked to “Accept” the message.

The "You're Messaging an Instagram Account" pop-up in Facebook Messenger.
This is what your friend will see in Facebook Messenger.

Again, this works the same way if you message someone on Instagram from Facebook Messenger. You simply have to search for the Instagram account and both people will see prompts similar to those above.

A pop-up on Instagram that you've received a message from Facebook.
A pop-up also appears when you receive a message on Instagram from a Facebook account.

Cross-App Messaging is particularly handy if you have occasional conversations in Facebook Messenger, but you don’t want to keep the app installed—you can just use it on Instagram.

A little integration can make a huge difference!

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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