Instagram Reels Not Working? Here’s How to Fix It!

Posted on May 10, 2023 | Updated on May 30, 2024

Are your Instagram Reels not working properly? As a marketer, this can be a frustrating experience for you and your team.

Since its launch, Instagram Reels has taken the world by storm, providing an exceptional platform for companies to showcase their personality, creativity and charm. With its short, captivating video format, Reels can effortlessly grab the attention of potential customers.

However, when Reels doesn’t work as intended, it’s essential to know how to troubleshoot effectively. This guide will help you navigate the world of Instagram Reels troubleshooting so that you can swiftly return to sharing engaging content and connecting with your audience.

How Instagram Reels Not Working Can Impact Small Businesses

These days, it’s impossible to scroll through Instagram without seeing a reel in your feed. After all, these short video clips are engaging and a powerful way to reach a large audience. Small businesses use them to showcase their products and services and build a strong brand presence. 

Yet, when Instagram Reels are not working, it disrupts this marketing channel, leading to potential setbacks. Your marketing team may miss out on optimal posting times, which are crucial for maximizing your engagement. Similarly, small businesses rely on Instagram for sales and customer interaction. Without reels, they could experience reduced traffic and potential revenue loss.

The most frustrating thing about Instagram Reels not working may be the resources you’ve invested into it. Creating a reel takes lots of time and effort. It also requires your creative juices to flow to create an attention-grabbing video. When this feature is out of order, these resources go to waste if it fails to upload or function as expected.

Moreover, it can hamper customer outreach during promotional campaigns. This can impact your overall campaign success, keeping you from achieving your marketing goals. In the face of such challenges, businesses must have alternative plans. They should diversify their digital marketing strategies to minimize dependency on a single platform. 

The Causes of Instagram Reels Not Working

While it can be frustrating when your Instagram Reels are not working, understanding the underlying causes is the first step in finding a solution. Here’s a closer look at the most common reasons they may not be working:

  • Connectivity issues: A weak or unstable internet connection can prevent Reels from loading or playing correctly. This may indicate a poor Wi-Fi signal, slow mobile data or network congestion.
  • Application bugs and glitches: At times, technical issues within the Instagram app can cause Reels to malfunction or fail to load.
  • Outdated app version: The most recent version of your Instagram app fully supports the latest Reels feature. Consequently, an obsolete version can cause compatibility or playback problems.
  • Device compatibility: Older or lower-end devices may have difficulty running Instagram Reels smoothly, resulting in playback issues or crashes.
  • Instagram server issues: Occasionally, Instagram may experience server-side problems, which can impact the functionality of Reels for users.
  • Regional restrictions: In certain regions, Instagram Reels may be unavailable or have limited functionality due to local regulations or rules. 

Troubleshooting Connectivity Issues

When dealing with connectivity issues, it’s essential to determine whether the problem originates with your internet connection or the app itself. One way to fix this issue is by ensuring you have a stable Wi-Fi or mobile data connection and testing your connection by visiting other websites or using different apps.

Occasionally, simply toggling your Wi-Fi or mobile data off and on can resolve connection problems. If one type of connection is causing issues, try switching to the other to see if it fixes the problem.

If you continue to face issues, consider resetting your device’s network settings. Keep in mind that this action may delete any saved Wi-Fi networks and require you to reconnect them. 

Resolving Application Bugs and Glitches

When bugs and glitches are the culprits, addressing them is vital to ensure successful Reels uploads. One simple and effective solution is to force quit and reopen the app, which can often resolve minor glitches.

Another approach is to clear the app cache and data on Android devices or offload the app on iOS devices. This method removes temporary files that may be causing problems without deleting your account information.

To maintain a seamless Instagram experience, regularly update your app to the latest version. Updates often include bug fixes and new features that resolve the issues with Reels. If the problem persists, consider uninstalling and reinstalling Instagram to eliminate corrupted files that may be causing Reels to malfunction.

Addressing Device Compatibility and Performance Issues

If you suspect compatibility and performance issues, address them by checking to see if your device is compatible with Instagram Reels. You can do this by reviewing the app’s system requirements on the App Store or Google Play. Compatibility issues typically arise when your device is older or doesn’t meet the minimum standards.

Next, ensure your device’s software is up-to-date, as outdated software can lead to compatibility problems and poor performance. You can check for updates by entering your device’s settings and installing any available updates.

Lastly, close any unnecessary background applications to free up resources on your device. Running multiple apps simultaneously consumes valuable memory and processing power, which may be why your Instagram Reels are not working. Yet, closing unused apps can allocate more resources and allow you to engage your audience with Reels again.

Dealing With Instagram Server Issues

Sometimes, Instagram may be experiencing downtime, which can impact the functionality of your Reels. If you suspect server issues are the cause, consider following these steps:

  • Check for widespread reports: Look for user reports on social media or outage-tracking websites to confirm if other users are experiencing similar issues. This step helps you determine if the problem lies within the app itself.
  • Wait for a resolution: If you’ve confirmed the issue is on Instagram’s end, you may need to be patient and wait for the problem to resolve itself. Keep in mind that Instagram usually addresses these issues fairly quickly.
  • Report the issue: If you want to contribute to resolving the issue more quickly, consider reporting the problem through the Instagram app or their support website.

Staying informed about potential server issues can help you take appropriate steps to address them and better manage any disruptions in sharing Instagram Reels.

Adapting Your Content Strategy in Response to Instagram Reel Issues

The Instagram Reels feature may be down for some time, so what can you do in the meantime? Consider using a backup plan that allows you to reach and engage with your audience. When your Instagram Reels are not working, adapting your content to maintain an online presence makes sense. While you encounter these issues, consider diversifying your social media presence. 

It is essential that you avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Because when you spread your presence across multiple platforms, you have more room to grow your reach and increase chances for connecting with potential customers. Consider using this opportunity to explore other venues like X, Facebook or TikTok. Doing so will broaden your reach, helping you cast a safety net if one platform faces technical issues. 

Another way to adapt your content strategy is using Instagram’s other features. Instagram offers various content formats, from Stories to regular posts. Stories are great because you can share them for real-time engagement. This feature allows you to connect with your audience through polls, Q&A’s and live sessions. 

On the other hand, regular posts are perfect for sharing high-quality images and long captions. Utilizing both formats can help you stay engaged while Reels are not functional. 

Using Alternatives to Instagram Reels

When Instagram Reels are not working, consider these alternatives.

YouTube Shorts

If you’ve decided to expand your reach on other platforms to combat Instagram Reels issues, YouTube Shorts is a compelling option. YouTube Shorts allows you to create and share video content similar to Instagram Reels. You can post a short-form video on the platform and reach a wide audience since YouTube has 239 million users in the U.S. alone. 

Plus, YouTube allows you to promote long-form content. So, if you have been considering starting a YouTube channel, now is your chance. The platform is growing and always adding new features while you get the potential to gain a new revenue stream.


Another excellent alternative to Instagram Reels is TikTok. Many businesses turn to this platform, as TikTok users are ready to buy through the app. About 37% of U.S. shoppers have already made a purchase through the platform in 2023. Additionally, the algorithm is content creator-friendly. TikTok will suggest a personalized feed of content based on users’ past interactions, potentially increasing your content’s visibility. 

However, marketers should stay informed about the possible TikTok ban, which could impact long-term strategies. If the U.S. forces the Chinese-owned app out of the country, small businesses will likely turn to other channels like YouTube Shorts.

Facebook Reels

Facebook Reels is another good alternative to Instagram because chances are your audience will be on Facebook if you have automatically shared Instagram content to this channel. Plus, Facebook Reels allow you to reach a broad audience since the platform will share the content onto any user’s feed. Additionally, you can advertise your content and use its targeting capabilities to enhance your reach. 

Facebook Reels are just as appealing as Instagram’s. Many users actively engage with this content, and there is a tab reserved just for this feature. Consider leveraging it, but stay consistent. It takes time to build engagement, but it can pay off in the long run, as you can monetize your Facebook Reels in the end.

Woman relaxing in yellow chair with feet up while holding a phone that is covering her face.

How to Prevent Instagram Reels Issues

Once Instagram Reels start working again, you’ll want to be sure the issue has a lesser chance of recurrence by taking preventative measures. To ensure a smooth experience, you must keep your app updated. Since these include bug fixes, regularly visit the app to check for new updates. 

Oftentimes, your phone will automatically update it for you. However, it doesn’t hurt to check it manually every so often. This simple habit will save you from various glitches and other issues.

The next measure you can take is backing up your Reels and other content. Relying solely on Instagram for storing your creative work can be risky. To safeguard your content, regularly upload it to cloud services like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud. Alternatively, you can use external storage devices. This way, your content remains safe and accessible, even if there are issues with Instagram. 

Lastly, staying informed about Instagram’s operations can help you prepare for potential disruptions. For instance, you can follow the site for official announcements on its working status. It will also provide you with information about maintenance schedules and current issues. When you’re aware of these updates, you can plan your content accordingly and avoid being caught off-guard by sudden outages. 

Tips for Optimizing Instagram Reel Performance

Optimizing Instagram Reel performance involves various strategies that require tech-savviness and creativity. Here are some tips to enhance your Reels:

  • Adhere to Instagram’s video quality and format guidelines: Ensure your Reels are properly edited and comply with Instagram’s Reels standards. This includes using the correct aspect ratio of 9:16, resolution and file size. High-quality, well-edited videos are more likely to move up with the platform’s algorithm, increasing your visibility. 
  • Play with different types of content: Avoid shying away from trying other content formats. Tutorials, how-to guides and behind-the-scenes footage can be highly engaging. These content types provide value and insight to your audience, often leading to higher engagement rates.
  • Use trending hashtags and relevant captions: Incorporate trending hashtags and craft captivating captions pertinent to your content. This strategy improves your chances of appearing in search results, boosting discoverability.
  • Collaborate for wider reach: Partnering with other businesses or influencers can greatly expand your reach. Such collaborations introduce your content to a new set of followers, enhancing engagement and reach. 

Implement these strategies to improve your Reels and captivate your audience while attracting new viewers.

Additional Tips and Tricks for When Instagram Reels Are Not Working

Here are some final tips to help you address Instagram Reels issues:

  • Use a VPN: Not all countries have access to Instagram Reels. If this is the case, try using a VPN to bypass these limitations. A VPN can also help you access content your region is blocking.
  • Check Instagram’s Help Center: Visit the Help Center on Instagram’s website for any known issues and their resolutions. This resource enables you to gain insight into common problems and offers guidance on how to fix them.
  • Seek assistance from the community: Reach out to the Instagram community through forums and the platform to share your experience and seek advice. Other users may have encountered similar problems and can offer helpful suggestions.
  • Try logging out: Sometimes, there’s a temporary glitch in Instagram’s system, which may only require a simple fix. Try logging out of your account by going to your settings and tapping “log out.” Once you log back into your account, the issue may go away.
  • Clear the data cache: Another quick way to fix the issue when your Instagram Reels aren’t working is to clear your cache. On your iPhone, you can go into your settings > general > iPhone storage. Tap on the Instagram app and delete it. Once you’ve deleted the app, you can reinstall and use it again.
  • Uninstall the app: If your Instagram app is glitchy, consider uninstalling it from your phone and installing it again. This will ensure you’ve downloaded the latest version of the app if a new update is available.

Exploring these additional avenues increases your chances of resolving the problem you’re experiencing with Instagram Reels. Sometimes, a little extra effort is needed to ensure your content is accessible to your audience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Instagram Reels may be a few years old, but it’s likely there are still some things you have to learn. These are answers to some of the most common questions.

1. Why Can’t I See Instagram Reels?

There can be multiple reasons for this. The number one reason could be that your app needs to be updated. However, other reasons could be your geographical location, as Reels are only available in some countries. Another reason could be issues with your specific account.

2. Why Can’t I Make Reels?

As mentioned previously, Instagram could be experiencing a glitch. Additionally, your app may have an outdated version. Or, perhaps your account doesn’t have access to this feature. Consider checking for updates in your app store and try updating it to the latest version first.

3. Why Are My Instagram Reels Not Getting Views?

If you upload your video and it isn’t getting any views, you might think it’s because Instagram Reels aren’t working. However, this issue could most likely be due to algorithm changes, content saturation, or the type and quality of your content. Ensure you’re getting views by maintaining high-quality, relevant content. You can also tag others to see if your views increase.

4. Why Is the Sound Not Working on Instagram Reels?

There could be a problem with the original sound file or your device’s audio settings. It may even be because of the Instagram app itself. Try troubleshooting by turning the sound up on your phone or restarting your device to see if it resolves. You may also need to turn off Bluetooth settings to ensure it’s not connected to other devices.

Restore Your Instagram Reels When They’re Not Working

Issues with Instagram Reels can arise from time to time. However, marketers can address them swiftly and efficiently by following the abovementioned steps. Whether it’s connectivity or server-side problem, understanding the root cause and applying the appropriate solutions can help you get your Reels back on track. 

It’s essential to remember not to let minor setbacks like these hinder your creativity or audience engagement. Continue exploring other ways to create captivating content until you find your Instagram Reels functioning properly again.

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About The Author

Coraline (Cora) Steiner is the Senior Editor of Designerly Magazine, as well as a freelance developer. Coraline particularly enjoys discussing the tech side of design, including IoT and web hosting topics. In her free time, Coraline enjoys creating digital art and is an amateur photographer.

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