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Why TikTok says "network unstable," and how you can fix it

It could be that you're just using your phone in the wrong spot.
By

Published onSeptember 25, 2023

For whatever reason, app developers are prone to writing cryptic error messages, and the creators of TikTok are no exception. One specific example is “unstable internet connection.” So what triggers an “unstable” error in TikTok, and what can you do to get around the problem if it repeats?

QUICK ANSWER

TikTok's "unstable internet connection" error usually means a poor internet or network connection. Try to improve signal if you can, or use sites like Downdetector to see if TikTok itself is having difficulty. Otherwise, you'll want to try software updates, restarting the app or your phone, or (on Android) clearing the app's cache.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

Why does TikTok say my network is unstable?

As the message’s language suggests, you likely have a weak internet or (more rarely) local Wi-Fi connection. There are other potential causes though, such as software bugs, or downtime on TikTok’s end. Select users may be more likely encounter the error when trying to attach music to videos.

How to fix TikTok unstable internet connection

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There’s a checklist of things you can try to fix or at least mitigate repeat errors.

  • Improve your network signal. If you’re on cellular, try moving outdoors, close to a window, or anywhere where signal might potentially improve. You should also be on 4G or 5G, since 3G is going to be miserably slow for a video-heavy app. If possible it’s best to switch to Wi-Fi, but if that’s what’s giving you headaches, you’ll need to optimize your Wi-Fi network or check if your internet service provider (ISP) is having problems. Public hotspots may not be much better than cellular due to heavy traffic.
  • Check TikTok’s server status. Sometimes, TikTok itself is going to have network trouble, considering how popular it is and the demands of running server farms. Use a site like Downdetector to see if the service is being flaky. If it is, you’ll probably just have to wait a while.
  • Shoot your video first, then add music. If the error is mostly triggered for you when trying to create content, start with recording a video before adding a soundtrack. Going the other way appears more likely to cause issues.
  • Restart the app and/or clear its cache. Sometimes, temporary bugs can get in the way. Android has a native option for clearing an app cache, but on iPhone, the closest you can come is force-quitting an app and relaunching it. It’s also worth trying an app restart on Android.
  • Check for app and OS updates. It could be that there are persistent bugs involved, but they’ve been solved in later versions of Android, iOS, or the TikTok app. Update TikTok and/or your phone’s operating system if you notice anything available.
  • Restart your phone. This can potentially clear up system-level cache and process issues.
  • Contact TikTok support. The app has a dedicated reporting system under Profile > Menu > Settings and Privacy > Report a problem. Don’t expect any quick resolutions, and try this only if all of the above steps haven’t helped.