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

We know you can't be without it for long!
October 27, 2022
Instagram stock image 5
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms globally, but it can be a frustrating experience when it’s not working. The servers are generally reliable, but we put together 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 Pixel 4a 5G running Android 13 and the Instagram Android app version With that in mind, some of the steps below may be slightly different depending on the device and the version of Instagram you’re using.

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

Instagram Logo

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

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 put in place. Go into the Google Play Store and see 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. Search for “Instagram.”
  3. Tap into the Instagram page.
  4. If there is an available update, you’ll see an Update button. Otherwise, it will say Open.
  5. Tap Update if it’s available.

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 instructions to get your phone updated.

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 and hold onto the Power button.
  2. Tap on Restart.

Check your internet

Ethernet vs Wi Fi stock photo 2
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

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. 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. 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:

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

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:

  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.

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 cache can also get corrupted and cause problems. 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.

Can’t follow any more people?

Instagram stock image 8
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

You may encounter plenty of 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 list of contacts and tap the Following button next to their profiles, and it will turn into Follow. This means you’re not following them anymore.

Next: How to up your Instagram game to get more followers

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 > Help > Report a Problem.