What is the Heart Icon on Instagram?

Instagram is a social media platform with the most heart icons. Is it a place of love and caring, or is this heart trend a bit oversaturated? Instead of likes and thumbs up, Instagram lets you “heart” someone’s posts, send them “heart” messages, or “heart” their comments.

The heart symbol is not something Instagram invented and has been used on the web for many years, mainly by typing the less-than sign followed by the number three (<3). Nowadays everyone is surrounded by emojis and hearts are probably the most used.

Read on to find out all about heart icons on Instagram, what they represent and what you can achieve with them.

1. The Instagram Feed heart icon

The first heart icon you see on Instagram is the one in your feed. Whenever you launch the Instagram app, you will find a heart icon in the top right corner, next to your private messages. Tapping on the heart icon will take you to the ‘Activity’ page.

When you tap on it, you will see all the likes on your posts from your friends and followers, any comments or posts you’ve been tagged in, all replies to comments you’ve made, and who followed you?.

You will also see “follow” requests at the top when your profile is set to private.

All of the above notifications are viewed by tapping that activity “heart” icon at the top of the home page.

That particular heart icon on Instagram sticks out the most. It is a very transparent and useful feature that keeps all your social interactions on Instagram in one place.

So, what’s next Instagram Heart Icon? Keep reading.

2. Instagram Reaction Heart Icon

The second “heart” icon on Instagram appears next to each comment below each photo and video. Tap the heart to serve as “Like”. If you want to like your comment for whatever reason, you can do that too. The “heart” button will appear to the right of your comment and the number of likes received will appear below it.

Finally, you can like other people’s posts on Instagram by tapping the heart icon below the post or by double tapping the photo/video.

3. Instagram Direct Message Heart Icon

The heart icon on Instagram that gets a lot of hate (pun intended) is the one used in the Direct Message section of the app. Double-tap the individual message to like someone’s private message. People complain about inadvertently sending hearts to total strangers, their crushes, or worse, their exes, because there is no “Undo” button if you accidentally “heart” someone’s message!

To avoid confusion, Instagram initially had a heart icon in the lower-right corner of the Direct Message screen. Fortunately, Instagram has listened to the many complaints and changed this some time ago. Now you will see a sticker icon where there used to be a heart. You can still send a “heart” to someone this way, but you have to tap it twice instead of once.

ig stickers

The infamous heart is still the first on the sticker list, but this change made it much less annoying. People are spared from embarrassing themselves by accidentally tapping that heart icon. If this has happened to you before, you know how bad it was.


Finally, “heart” emojis and symbols were around the web long before Instagram adopted them, as mentioned earlier. Either way, they will continue to survive on the web even if Instagram doesn’t. They are an essential part of social interaction via the internet and people like to direct them.

As for Instagram, nobody likes sending something accidentally, and sending an unintentional heart is probably one of the most inconvenient things you can do on social media. At least now you don’t accidentally send a ‘heart’ and you can use them for more than one purpose: the feed, comments and direct messages.

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