I’ve noticed that I’ve been wasting a lot of time watching Instagram Reels lately. This would not be a problem if I actually enjoyed the time spent doing it. However, this was not the case. I’m not only angry at myself after the fact, but I also usually feel miserable while mindlessly scrolling. It’s just that sometimes I lack the discipline to avoid it altogether.

Ideally, I’d completely delete it from my phone, but I still need it for texting. It’s borderline impossible to convince some of my friends to switch to a different platform. Also, some of Instagram’s messaging features are just nice to have.

Learning from experience, the second-best option in this type of situation is to add friction to the process. Having Reels one click away each time I open the app is way too tempting. Since I’m only ever using it to text people, it would be nice to have it open directly on the Messages screen.

How do I get a complete list of deep links the Instagram iOS app supports?

My initial plan was to jailbreak an iPhone, export the Instagram app, and then use a disassembler like Hopper to inspect the binary. On paper, the binary should contain all the supported deep links. It was only a matter of finding them. And learning how to jailbreak devices. And learning how to work with a disassembler. Seems like a lot of work for a simple shortcut, doesn’t it?

“Why don’t you use /.well-known/apple-app-site-association?” a friend of mine suggested after I shared what I was working on. Even though I was well aware of it, this didn’t come to my mind when looking for solutions.

The /.well-known/apple-app-site-association is a file used in iOS app development to configure Universal Links. Universal Links allow iOS apps to link directly to content within the app using standard HTTPS URLs, providing a seamless user experience by opening the app directly instead of a web page when the app is installed.

This was the perfect tool for the job. After inspecting the file, finding the right deep link was trivial. Long story short, here’s the final shortcut:

Instagram DMs | iCloud Shortcuts

Lesson learned: When something seems like over-engineering, it probably is.

I hope this helps some of you to reduce the number of times you start mindlessly scrolling because you couldn’t resist watching just a few reels before checking your messages!