Instagram Test Lets You Watch Shared Reels Without Opening DMs

Unseen Reel preview in Instagram chat window
In Short
  • Instagram is testing a new reel previews feature in the chat (DM) section of the app.
  • It lets you watch all the shared Reels without opening the chat in a continuous scroll.
  • This change also adds the ability to share Reels directly with the person whose Reels you viewed without opening the DMs.

Sharing Reels among your friends has become one of the go-to activities on Instagram. It seems like the platform is out to test another feature to help you watch Reels shared by your friends more easily. The feature shows a preview of Reels that your friend shared in the Instagram DM.

The screenshot below shows a Reel preview that replaces the camera icon, usually found next to a chat. This preview will show the oldest Reel since you last opened the DM with this user. And tapping on it will start playing it on your screen. If your friend has shared numerous Reels, you can simply open the preview and scroll down to watch them all.

Shared Reel Previews

Once you have seen all the shared Reels, Instagram will start showing you recommended Reels. When that happens, you should see a Send to chat option right below the current Reel. Tapping on it will share it directly inside the relevant chat where you previewed Reels. This negates the need to open the share sheet and select someone from it, although you can still do it if you wish to share the Reel with others.

Send to chat option available within shared Reels feed
“Send to chat” option at the bottom (Left) | “Sent” label appears when you use Send to chat (Right)

If you just open chats without watching Reels then you will continue to see the previews for Reels in the Instagram DM. That means you can just view Reels shared by someone without opening up their chat. This conveniently lets you secretly view their Reels without marking their messages as “Read”. After you have gone through all the Reels, the preview thumbnail will switch to the camera icon.

Reel preview present in the chat window
Reel previews appear for unwatched Reels (Left) | Previews replaced by Camera icon when no Reels left to watch (Right)

The feature was spotted by our Editor, Anmol Sachdeva in the latest beta of Instagram version 327. on Android. It seems to be a limited rollout as I was on the same version but did not get this feature. So suffice it to say that it will take some time before it’s available for everyone on Instagram.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I have mixed reactions to this feature. On one hand, it fixes the most egregious issue I had with the app; where I had to go back to the chat every time I wanted to watch a shared Reel as scrolling down would start showing recommended videos instead of the shared ones. On the other hand, it gives people a way to preview Reels that someone has sent to them on Instagram without acknowledging it.

What are your thoughts about this upcoming feature, let us know in the comments down below.

comment Comments 0
Leave a Reply