Instagram ThreadsSource: 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.