Instagram's weird Threads direct messaging app is going away next month

Instagram Threads
Instagram Threads (Image credit: Instagram)

What you need to know

  • Instagram's Threads app is shutting down next month.
  • Threads is an app that lets people use Instagram direct messages without using the Instagram app.

Instagram will shut Threads down next month, according to a new report. Threads, for those unfamiliar, is Instagram's app that gives people access to their direct messages without opening the Instagram app.

Threads first debuted a couple of years ago and while some people likely forgot it existed, Instagram didn't — and TechCrunch reports that it will stop being supported by the end of the year.

Threads was first introduced in 2019 as a companion app to Instagram shortly after the company shut down its other standalone messaging app, Direct. Instead of focusing solely on the inbox experience, Threads was built as a "camera-first" mobile messager designed to be used for posting status updates and staying in touch with those you designated as your "Close Friends" on Instagram. The app didn't gain mainstream adoption, however.

It seems unlikely that the loss of Threads will cause too many problems for most people and you have to imagine that Instagram's stats show that relatively few people use the app. It wouldn't be killed if it was popular, after all.

While Instagram is perhaps the best iPhone app for sharing photos and videos, its direct messaging component is surprisingly robust. But with so many apps and services offering the same kind of thing, breaking Instagram direct messages out into their own app seemed doomed to fail. As of the end of December 2021, it will have done exactly that.

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.