Instagram's ephemeral Notes feature launches across Europe

Instagram notes screenshot
(Image credit: Instagram)

Instagram has today announced the rollout of its Notes feature to new places, including the U.K. and other European countries.

The Notes feature lets Instagram users to post a short message of text and emojis — 60 characters or less — to the top of other people's inboxes. There, they'll then be able to reply to those notes with replies turning into direct messages.

They'll have to reply quickly, though. Notes automatically disappear after just 24 hours and once they're gone, they're gone.


Ephemeral messages are nothing new of course, but Instagram says that it thinks people will use Notes for things that are most suited to messages that don't hang around.

Instagram announced Notes last year, saying that "during testing, we learned that people liked having a lightweight, easy way to share what’s on their mind and start conversations." The social network says that some use cases include asking for recommendations or sharing whatever they are currently doing at any given moment.

Sure, that might sound like something many people already use Twitter or Facebook to do, but Instagram isn't deterred. "Notes give people a casual and spontaneous way to express themselves and connect with each other," the company says.

The short 60-character messages are of course limited in length, something that should also lend itself to posting simple questions and statements. But whether Notes will be a big feature for you will likely depend on just how you use Instagram already and, likely, whether you have another avenue for those kinds of things.

Owners of iPhones are of course not short of ways to communicate with their friends and loved ones, with iMessage being one of the biggest selling points of even the best iPhones. But with an App Store full of ways to chat, do people really need to do it in their photo-sharing app as well?

Instagram says its research says yes. Yes, they do.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.