A mute isn’t quite the same as an unfollow, Instagram explains. With a mute, you can still head to that person’s profile to see their posts, even with a non-public account (if you’ve already been approved as a friend). You’ll also still get notifications if that person tags you in a post or a comment. Muted users’ posts will not, however, show up in your feed.
Users won’t be aware of the mute, Instagram says, which allows you to get someone out of your feed without risking that person noticing that you no longer show up on the follower list. Users can also be unmuted at any time, so the tool can be used to temporarily clean up the feed, or maybe to stop that travel envy until that friend’s luxury vacation ends and it’s back to the real world.
Muting an Instagram user follows a similar process as reporting or blocking a user. On an individual post, tapping the “…” icon brings up a menu that will soon include the mute option. In the next pop-up, you can choose whether to mute posts or both posts and Stories from that user.
Users can also be muted from the profile page, which includes the option to only mute a Story and still see posts in the feed. Pressing and holding on a Story at the top of the feed also brings up mute options.
Instagram says the change continues the platform’s efforts to improve the Instagram browsing experience. The update follows enhancements to the algorithms that determine what you see in the feed by putting more emphasis on when the image was shared to help avoid spotting older posts. Instagram is also said to be testing a new notification that tells users when they’ve seen all the latest posts, while code points to the possibility that Instagram may soon tell you how much time you spend on the network.
Mute should be rolling out over the next few weeks.