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Instagram error while adding captions? Here's how you can try to fix it

It might not be a bug — you might be breaking the rules.
By
January 11, 2024

Captions are, needless to say, pretty vital to the Instagram experience. While you can upload photos and videos with no comment, that’s probably going to leave people confused, and of course it won’t help at all if you’re trying to be informative or hawk merchandise or a brand. With that in mind, here are a number of troubleshooting steps you can use to get Instagram captions working again.

How to fix Instagram errors when adding captions

Instagram stock image 15
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Unlike a lot of the topics we tackle here at Android Authority, some of the solutions for Instagram captions aren’t technical — they involve Meta’s guidelines, which you have to comply with no matter what. We’ll deal with those first. Glitches are possible, however, and there are a variety of ways of coping with them.

  • Make sure you’re not violating Instagram’s content guidelines. While you’re have to read up on the service’s official rules for details, the short version is that you’re not allowed to post spam, artificially spur engagement, or sell things like guns, drugs, or sexual services. You also can’t express any support for terrorism, gangs, hate groups, or self-harm, and you definitely can’t threaten people directly. Violating any of these rules will probably get a post removed, and risk a total ban in more serious circumstances, if not legal action.
  • Don’t use banned hashtags. Regardless of its core content, a post can still be taken down if it it uses a banned hashtag. It should almost go without saying, but don’t use a hashtag just because it seems popular and might drive traffic to your post — it could be popular for all the wrong reasons. You may have to do a little searching to learn which hashtags are no-gos, but your instincts will go a long way.
  • Don’t exceed character or hashtag limits. As of this writing at least, you’re allowed up to 2,400 characters (letters, numbers, etc.) and 30 hashtags per post. If you go beyond these numbers, it’s possible that your caption will disappear when you submit it, if the post goes up at all.
  • Don’t exceed mention limits. You can mention up to 20 other users per post (using the @ symbol). Any more than this will get you flagged for spam, and you’ll be lucky if the worst that happens is a caption getting removed.
  • Try adding a caption again. Sometimes it’s just a very temporary connection issue getting in the way. If you resubmit and aren’t violating any rules, your caption may go through. As a side note, it’s always wise to copy or pre-write captions in another app (like Google Docs) if they’re long and important enough that you wouldn’t want to rewrite them.
  • Doublecheck your internet connection. It could be that your connection became weak or flaked out entirely in the middle of creating a post. You’ll need a strong Wi-Fi or cellular signal, as well as unimpeded bandwidth. Try switching from one connection type to the other if both are available, or relocating somewhere with better reception. It could also be that your connection method is oversaturated by other devices, in which case you might just have to be patient if the devices aren’t your own.
  • Refresh your Instagram feed. If it seems like a caption just vanished into thin air, it may be that it did go through, but your feed hasn’t refreshed properly. When you’re back at the app’s Home tab, swipe down from the top of the screen to get it to reload.
  • Force-quit the Instagram app and reopen it. Various temporary glitches can sometimes affect the app’s caches and/or processes. Closing and relaunching forces the app to reload at least some components.
  • Check if Instagram servers are running normally. Since we’re going to get into more involved solutions in a moment, it’s worth checking a site like Downdetector to see if Instagram itself is having trouble. A spike in reported outages indicates trouble with Instagram’s servers or related network infrastructure. If that’s happening, there’s nothing you can do except be patient while technicians sort things out. The service could come back anytime between a few minutes and a few hours.
  • Clear out the app’s cache. Android users have the option of manually scrubbing Instagram’s cache, which can solve issues if the cause is bad cache data tricking the app. On most Android devices you can do this by going to Settings > Storage > Other apps > Instagram and tapping on Clear cache. Instructions may vary depending on your phone brand and/or version of Android.
  • Sign out of the app, then back in. It’s unlikely, but there could be temporary account-related errors interfering with posting. To sign out of Instagram, tap on your profile tab, then the triple-line menu in the top-right. Select Settings and privacy, then scroll to the bottom and tap Log out.
  • Scan for app updates. There could be a more deeply ingrained bug involved, and if you haven’t updated Instagram in a while, it might be already be fixed. Check for Android app updates using the Google Play Store, and iPhone updates using the App Store. We recommend turning on automatic updates if you regularly forget to check.
  • Restart your phone. If there are temporary glitches at the operating system level, this may sort them out.
  • Delete and reinstall Instagram. This is even less likely to help than signing out, but it’s worth a shot. Don’t worry — as long as you remember your login info, all your data should stay intact.
  • Report the problem to Meta. We’ve saved this option for last for the simple reason that Meta/Instagram probably won’t be able to help you right away, if at all. You can flag a problem by tapping your profile icon, opening the triple-line menu, and selecting Settings and privacy. Next, scroll down and tap Help, followed by Report a problem.