What do symbols and icons mean on Instagram?

The Instagram user interface has different symbols and icons. Sometimes it becomes difficult to know what each icon means, especially if you are new to Instagram. Do not worry. We are here to help you. Here you will find a list of Instagram symbols along with their meaning. Please note that the actual position of the symbol may vary on your device. That’s because Instagram keeps changing the position of the icons. However, the meaning remains the same. Let us begin.

List of Instagram symbols and icons

Let’s see what the various symbols and icons mean in an Instagram post, stories, reels, and bio.

1. Meaning of the symbols of Instagram posts

Heart symbol

The heart symbol is the usual like button. Tapping on it will turn the heart red and add a like to the photo. You can also double click the photo to like it. Learn how to see all the photos you like. Also, find out how to hide the likes on your Instagram posts.

Meaning of the Instagram heart symbol

Chat bubble

This icon refers to comments. Touch to view comments below a post or to post a new comment. See how to see all the comments you have made on Instagram.

Instagram chat bubble symbol meaning

Paper plane icon

Think of this as a submit button. You can use it to send the post to your Instagram friends via Instagram messages or add the post to your story.

Instagram Post Paper Plane Icon Meaning


This icon allows you to save or bookmark the publication in your collections. To view your saved posts, open your Instagram profile screen and tap the three-bar icon at the top. Choose Saved from the menu. Saved posts are private and can only be viewed by you.

Meaning of the Instagram marker

Person icon

The person icon on a post means someone is tagged on the post. Tap the post to reveal the username of the tagged person.

Instagram post person icon meaning

Three points

The three-dot icon on posts offers several other options, such as sharing outside of Instagram, turning on post notifications, and more.

Instagram post with three points of meaning

2. Meaning of the symbols on the Instagram home screen

Add (+)

The add or more icon allows you to create a new post, story, live video, or reels.

Instagram home screen Add icon Meaning

Delivery courier

An icon similar to Facebook Messenger appears at the top. This takes you to your Instagram inbox, which is now connected to Facebook Messenger, however there is a way to remove FB Messenger from Instagram if you want to.

Meaning of direct messaging from Instagram home screen

Search icon

The search icon takes you to the Explore feed. Here you will discover new content automatically. And if you are looking for something, tap on the search bar at the top and enter your query.

Instagram home screen search meaning


This icon will take you to the reel feed. Swipe up to see new reels.

Meaning of the reels on the Instagram home screen


Tapping it will show your Instagram notifications.

Meaning of the heart of the Instagram home screen

Profile picture

Tap this icon to go to your profile. Alternatively, if you are using multiple Instagram accounts, long tap on this icon to view and switch between accounts.

Meaning of Instagram Home Screen Profile Picture

3. Meaning of the icons on the Instagram profile page

Profile tabs

On the profile or bio screen, you will find several tabs. These include posts, reels, IGTV, and tagged posts. Touch the one you want to change it.

Meaning of Instagram profile symbols

Arrow icon next to username

If you are viewing your own bio screen, you will see a small down arrow next to your username at the top. Touch to switch between multiple profiles, if any. If you see a red dot, it means that one of the other accounts has unread notifications.

Instagram profile symbol arrow meaning

Bell icon

When you review someone else’s profile, you will see a bell icon. Tap it to enable notifications for that person when you post a story, reel, IGTV video, etc.

Meaning of the bell of the Instagram profile symbol

Arrow icon next to Next

The small arrow next to the Following button allows you to mute, restrict, unfollow, or add the person to your Close Friends list.

Instagram profile symbol arrow next to the following meaning

4. Meaning of the symbols of the Instagram story

Paper plane

While looking at stories, you will find the paper airplane icon. By tapping it, you can send or share the story with other people.

Instagram Story Paper Plane Symbols Meaning

Send a message

If you want to reply to the creator of the story, tap the Send message button. You will see quick reaction emoticons. Tap it to send an emoticon as a reply or tap the GIF icon to send a GIF. You can also write your reply in the Send message box.

Instagram story Send message Symbols Meaning

5. Meaning of the symbols on the Instagram reels

On Instagram Reels, you will find icons similar to those present in a post. That’s the heart button, the chat bubble, and the paper plane icon. They all have the same meaning as that of the post. Other than that, you will have the Sound icon. Tapping it will take you to the audio page of the sound used in the video. You will also see a camera icon at the top that allows you to create a new reel.

Meaning of Instagram reel icons

The best of Instagram

In addition to the above symbols on Instagram, you will find a ton of icons on Instagram posts. Now that you are familiar with IG icons, you can make the most of them. Find out how to add multiple photos to Instagram story, use disappearing mode to send disappearing messages, and create your own selfie stickers.

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