While originally created as a photo-sharing application, Instagram has grown over the years to become one of the most popular social media platforms.
With 1.44 billion monthly active users, the app has added several robust features like Instagram Reels, Stories, Video/GIF support, and Direct Messaging. These innovations increase people’s ability to share, connect, and stay up to date on the latest trends and experiences.
However, despite Instagram’s continued popularity and growth, users sometimes still have problems with Instagram’s DMs not working. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore different Instagram DM issues, what are their common causes, and various methods for solving them.
6 Types of Instagram DM Problems: Identifying Common Issues
There are several different issues that can arise when using Instagram Direct Messaging. The most common ones many users reported include:
- Instagram Messages Not Showing: Many users report that their Instagram messages do not show up at all. This can happen due to poor internet access, a WiFi connection issue, a problem with Instagram’s servers, an out-of-date app, or a technical/software glitch.
- Instagram Inbox Not Loading: If you’re unable to access your Instagram DM inbox completely, possible causes may range from low memory and storage capacity to an out-of-date Instagram app.
- Instagram DM Glitch: When sending or receiving Instagram DMs, the app sometimes “glitches” out when something goes wrong with the software. In this case, you either can’t send messages and get an error or you don’t receive any messages back. This is sometimes due to a bug in the app, an unstable internet connection, or other technical issues with the latest updates.
- Instagram DM Video Not Playing: If you’re trying to view a video in Instagram Direct Messaging, but it won’t play at all, this is likely due to poor internet connection causing the video to not load or buffer.
- Instagram DMs Disappearing: Sometimes DMs disappear without warning. Either there is an issue going on with the messages saved inside your app, or your application is experiencing a bug or glitch.
- Instagram Reactions Inside DMs Not Working: A final issue is that some users report having problems with Instagram reactions not working inside DMs. This means you can’t send or view your friends’ reactions to the posts/videos that you’re sending them.
This is often a technical issue and is commonly searched with the related term: “Instagram chat not working”. Although quite similar in nature, this is not the same as the “can’t send posts to Instagram group chats” error, which we tackled in a different article.
While we’ve noted briefly why some of these issues may pop up for you, the next section in this guide will extensively explore the common causes behind these issues.
What Can Cause Instagram DMs to Stop Working?
If you’re wondering why your Instagram DMs are not working, and aren’t sure whether the problem is with your phone, the app, or Instagram’s servers, there are a few potential causes to consider. Some of these include:
- Incorrect Date/Time Settings on Your Phone: If your phone’s date and time settings are wrong, this can cause various issues with Instagram DMs. Make sure that both the date and time are set to update automatically.
- Outdated Instagram App: If you’re using an older version of the Instagram app, it may not work as expected. Check to make sure that your app is up to date, and if not, install any available updates.
- Incorrect Internet Connection: If you’re experiencing slow or intermittent internet connectivity, this could affect your ability to use Instagram. This can happen if your network is too crowded, or if you’re using public Wi-Fi.
- Low Memory/Storage Capacity: If your phone’s memory or storage capacity is low, you may also experience difficulty in accessing Instagram DMs. Make sure you have enough available space on your device to run the app.
- Technical Issues: If none of the above causes are to blame, it’s possible that there is an underlying technical issue with your phone or the app itself. In this case, you may need to contact Instagram support for additional help.
12 Methods to Fix the Instagram DMs Not Working Issue
Though there are several possible causes for your Instagram DM issue, there are quick fixes you can implement on the fly. We listed here a dozen troubleshooting methods you can try one-by-one until you solve the problem.
1. Check Your Internet Connection
Any time there’s an error with sending or receiving data, your internet should always be the first thing you check.
Simply open your device settings and navigate to the Internet & Connectivity settings to check your connection. Similarly, try activating mobile data if you haven’t already, as having this setting disabled can affect iPhone users specifically.
2. Make Sure You Weren’t Blocked
It may sound obvious, but being blocked by a user will result in Instagram messages not showing or being sent. For whatever reason you’ve been blocked, the person won’t notify you that they’ve done so, nor would alert you when you try to message them.
To test if a user has blocked you, try searching for their username. If you’ve been blocked, either the name won’t show up, or you won’t be allowed to follow them.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do if this happens, as the user must choose to unblock you in order to continue receiving your messages.
3. Check if Your Recipient’s IG Account is Active
It’s entirely possible that the reason behind your Instagram DMs not working is the result of them deactivating/deleting their account.
In a similar fashion to method 2, you can search the username to see if the account shows up. If you’re still unsure, you can try contacting the user on another platform to ask them directly if this is the case.
Again, there’s really nothing you can do if this happens, as it is the other user’s option to reactivate his or her account or not.
4. Update Instagram
An out-of-date app can easily cause problems when it comes to sending and receiving messages. Make sure you’re using the latest version of Instagram to keep everything running as intended.
The easiest way to update Instagram is to open your respective app store, search for Instagram, and choose to update it.
5. Submit a Bug Report
Contacting Instagram Help can be a great way of identifying and resolving account-related issues. Since contacting support can take time, it’s better to start the process early so you can try other methods while you wait.
Simply open Instagram’s settings from your profile page, navigate to the help section, then tap on Report a Problem. From there, just follow the prompts in order to contact a representative.
6. Clear Your Cache
Your Instagram app accumulates data and stores it in the cache files to speed up your user experience. However, when the Instagram cache isn’t cleared after hours of scrolling your feed, it can slow down the app and cause it to glitch.
This, in turn, messes with the direct messaging features, causing you to wonder why your Instagram DMs are not working.
To clear out your cache:
- Head into Settings on your Android or IOS.
- Find your Apps & notifications and click.
- Find Instagram in the list and click on it.
- Click on Storage and Cache.
- Then hit Clear Cache.
7. Log Out and In Again
If you’re struggling with your Instagram messages not loading, you can try logging out and back in again. To do this:
- Head to your profile by tapping on your avatar in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Then select the hamburger menu in the top right.
- Tap into Settings.
- Scroll down to the bottom of Settings and tap Log Out.
- You’ll need to confirm that you want to log out.
Once you’re logged out, exit the app and restart your smartphone. Then log back in and check if your DMs are working again.
8. Re-Install Instagram
Another possibility of why Instagram DMs are not working is installation issues and/or corrupted files that cause your IG messages to not load. So, simply reinstall Instagram by doing the following:
- Find Instagram on your phone and long-press it.
- You can also find it in your Settings – Apps – Instagram.
- Now select uninstall or delete app.
- Once uninstalled, restart your smartphone.
- Then head to the Google Play Store or IOS App Store to redownload.
You may need to re-login with your account upon opening Instagram for the first time.
9. Check for Daily DM Limits
The Instagram Help page notes a daily limit for sending direct messages. This is to curtail the proliferation of messages that people may not want to receive – such as spam.
Instagram only allows you to send up to 150 DMs a day and prevents you to forward a message up to 5 chats at a time. If you try to send more than this, then you may get a warning from Instagram that you’re sending too many messages. As a result, your DMing may be disabled for a period. You can read more about this here.
10. Check Instagram’s Server Status
If you don’t think that the Instagram app or your smartphone is having issues, then it could be that Instagram’s servers are struggling or are down.
If your Instagram chat isn’t working or you get errors that say “there was a problem loading your inbox”, it would be wise to check to see if other users are having the same issues.
The best way to check to see if Instagram’s servers are down is to Google Downdetector and check there. You can also use the hashtag, #instagramdown on Twitter to see if others are reporting issues.
11. Make Sure You Follow the Recipient
If you aren’t following the person you’re DMing, then they may not be receiving your messages. This may cause you to think that your Instagram inbox is not working, but this isn’t the case.
A Privacy Setting may be in place as the receiver is controlling who can send them messages. If this is ticked on, your DMs will appear as a Message Request, and the receiver needs to accept it before they can see it.
The same applies to you if you’re on the receiving end. You’ll need to check if you have this setting on by doing the following steps:
- Open Instagram and click your avatar.
- On your profile, click the hamburger menu (top right).
- Click on Settings, and then Privacy.
- Scroll down until you see Messages and click on it.
- Then click on Your Followers and check if it’s set to Requests.
Note: if it is set to “Don’t Receive Requests” then this is why your Instagram messages are not showing.
12. Check If You’ve Been Action Blocked by Instagram
If none of the above fixes have helped and your Instagram chat is still not working, see if you get a pop-up that says Action Blocked when you try to send a DM.
Instagram restricts certain content and actions to protect the community, which means if you’re receiving an “action blocked” message, it’s because you’ve been temporarily banned.
There are a few reasons for a temporary ban:
- If you’re mass messaging multiple accounts in a short time.
- Instagram believes that you’re a “chatbot”.
- You’re using automation tools to auto-like or auto-follow accounts.
- The person you’ve been DMing has reported your DMs.
- You’ve hit the daily limit on DMs (see fix 10).
If this is the case, you should be able to restore your account by reviewing Instagram’s community guidelines and ensuring that you comply with the platform’s terms and conditions. A temporary ban has a 48-hour waiting period.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Instagram DM Glitch
If you still have questions after reading through this guide, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Instagram DMs:
No, Instagram DMs do not expire. The messages are stored on your device, and you can access them at any time.
If you have a stable internet connection that isn’t on public Wi-Fi or an open network, then the problem may lie with Instagram’s servers or the application itself. Technical issues with the network or your device may also be the culprit.
The most likely causes for this are a low memory or storage capacity on your device or an outdated app version. You can update your Instagram app, increase your device’s storage, and contact Instagram support for additional assistance.
From low memory or storage capacity to technical issues with Instagram’s app or servers, to an incorrect date/time, there are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to send Instagram DMs. Check out our troubleshooting methods above to find the right solution for you!
Instagram DMs Not Working, Solved!
We hope that the solutions in this guide have helped you fix any issues you are experiencing with Instagram DMs.
If you need additional help or have any questions, be sure to reach out in the comments below, or check our blog for more troubleshooting tips and advice. And please don’t forget to share this guide with your friends and family members who might also be having trouble with their Instagram DMs!