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Instagram not working? Here are some things you can try!

We know you can't be without it for long!

Published onApril 1, 2024

Instagram stock image 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms globally. It can be a frustrating experience when it fails. The social network is generally reliable, but we compiled a list of ways to fix it for those unfortunate occurrences when Instagram isn’t working. Follow the troubleshooting guide below to fix any Instagram problems you might be experiencing.

Editor’s note: All instructions in this post were put together using a Google Pixel 7 running Android 14 and an Apple iPhone 12 Mini running iOS 17.3, both using the Instagram app version 318. With that in mind, some of the steps below may differ slightly depending on the device and your Instagram version.

Check if Instagram is down

You might not be the only one having issues with Instagram not working. One of the first things to check is if Instagram, overall, is down. You can double-check if Instagram is down by using Down Detector, a site that tracks all kinds of services and tells you whether they are down or not.

Just go to Down Detector’s Instagram page, and the site will tell you whether Instagram is having issues or not. They even have a Live Outage Map to check local problems.

Close and re-open Instagram

If Instagram has no general issues, the problem might emerge from a software discrepancy. Try closing the Instagram app and re-opening it again. Additionally, it’s worth trying to completely uninstall the app and install it fresh off the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. One of these actions might put all the gears back in place and get everything in order again.

How to force close Instagram on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Tap on See all apps.
  4. Find and select Instagram.
  5. Select Force stop.
  6. Confirm by hitting OK.

Uninstall Instagram on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Tap on See all apps.
  4. Find and select Instagram.
  5. Select Uninstall.
  6. Confirm by hitting OK.
  7. Go back to the Google Play Store and install Instagram.

How to force close Instagram on iPhone:

  1. Slide your finger up from the bottom of the screen and hold for a bit.
  2. You’ll enter the app switcher.
  3. Find Instagram and slide it all the way up.

Uninstall Instagram on iPhone:

  1. Find the Instagram app. Tap and hold onto it for a couple or few seconds.
  2. Tap on Remove App.
  3. Hit Delete App.
  4. Go back to the Apple App Store and re-download Instagram.

Check for updates

Running an older version of an app isn’t often an issue, but it can bring problems, especially when significant changes are implemented. Check if there are any updates for Instagram. Get the latest version and try again!

How to update Instagram from the Google Play Store:

  1. Open the Google Play Store.
  2. Tap on your Profile icon.
  3. Go into Manage apps & device.
  4. Tap on Updates available. This may also read as All apps up to date if you have no available updates.
  5. Find Instagram and hit Update next to it. Alternatively, you can hit the Update all button up top.

How to update Instagram from the Apple App Store:

  1. Launch the Apple App Store.
  2. Tap on your profile icon.
  3. Scroll down until you see your available updates. Check if Instagram has one, and hit Update next to it.
  4. You can also tap on Update All to take care of all updates in one sweep.

It might also help to update your phone. Newer Android versions often fix bugs and other software issues. You can also try updating the browser you’re using, if you’re trying to use Instagram from a computer.

How to check for Android updates:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into System.
  3. Tap on System update.
  4. Select Check for update.
  5. Follow the instructions to get your phone updated.

How to check for iOS updates:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into General.
  3. Tap on Software Update.
  4. The system will look for updates. If there are any, hit Download and Install.

Restart your phone!

It often seems like a silly suggestion, but for some reason, something as simple as restarting the phone can usually get everything back in working order. Give it a try! Just reboot the phone and try again.

How to restart an Android phone:

  1. Press the side and volume up buttons simultaneously.
  2. Tap on Restart.

How to restart an iPhone:

  1. Press and hold onto the side, and either the volume down or volume up buttons, simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Use the slide to power off slider.
  3. When the device is turned off, press and hold the side button for a few seconds until you see the Apple logo on the screen.

Apple doesn’t let users take screenshots of the power menu, so we can’t provide images of the process.

Check your internet

There’s a chance your internet connection is the culprit. A quick way to verify this is to test another app that uses the internet, or open the browser and launch any website. You could also try to use another device and see if the internet works with it. If nothing else is working, the problem is likely not Instagram, but your data.

If you’re using a cellular connection, try switching to Wi-Fi. Likewise, move to data if you’re using Wi-Fi. Try moving closer to the router, or you can try restarting it. You can do this by unplugging the modem or router, waiting for about 30-60 seconds, and then plugging it back in.

Also, make sure you turn off the VPN, if you happen to be using one.

If you’re using cellular data, you might want to see if your data connection is on.

How to turn on mobile data on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Network & internet.
  3. Select SIMs.
  4. Select your SIM.
  5. Toggle Mobile data on.
  6. If you’re outside your country or network coverage, also toggle Roaming on (this may incur extra charges).

How to turn on cellular data on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Go into Cellular.
  3. Make sure Cellular Data is toggled on.
  4. If you want to turn on roaming, Go into your main SIM under SIMs, then toggle on Data Roaming.

Turn on app permissions

Sometimes, apps malfunction because we haven’t permitted them to access certain phone functions. Look into the app’s permissions to see if this may be the case for Instagram on your device.

How to enable Instagram permissions on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Tap on See all apps.
  4. Find Instagram and tap on it.
  5. Select Permissions.
  6. Under Not allowed, go into each section and grant it access.

How to enable Instagram permissions on iPhone:

  1. Launch the Settings app.
  2. Find Instagram and tap on it.
  3. Under Allow InstagramTo Access, make sure everything is enabled.

Clear the cache

Cache is usually good, as it stores commonly used data on your phone and pulls it locally whenever needed, as opposed to downloading it each time. This makes your experience much faster, but the cache can also get corrupted and cause issues with Instagram not working. It’s good to give it a clean start now and then.

Clear cache on Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go into Apps.
  3. Find the Instagram app under See all apps.
  4. Tap on Storage & cache.
  5. Hit Clear Cache.
  6. You can also select Clear storage for a clean start.

You can’t clear the app cache on iOS. The only effective way to do this is to uninstall and reinstall the Instagram app.

Can’t follow any more people?

You may encounter many issues when using Instagram, but this one is especially common among heavy users. Are you suddenly not able to follow new people? You may have come across an error message that reads: “You can’t follow any more people.” This is not a problem with Instagram, but a limitation. It turns out we’re limited to following as many as 7,500 people. The only solution is to unfollow some Instagram accounts.

How to unfollow people on Instagram:

  1. Open the Instagram app.
  2. Tap on your profile image in the bottom-right corner.
  3. You’ll enter your profile, where you’ll see how many people you are following in the top-right corner. Tap where it says Following.
  4. Go through your contacts list and tap the Following button next to their profiles, and it will turn into Follow. This means you’re not following them anymore.

This process is identical on the iOS app.

If you still can’t get Instagram to work, we would advise you to look into their help center. You can also report a problem from within the app by going to Profile > three-line menu button > Settings and privacy > Help > Report a Problem. You can also go to Instagram’s Help Center to get more support.

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