Instagram Reels Not Working? Here’s The Fix

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Have you ever tried to make or watch an Instagram Reel only to find the feature doesn‘t work properly? As a social media expert and tech geek, I totally understand how frustrating it can be when Instagram Reels aren‘t functioning as expected. But don‘t worry – with the right troubleshooting steps, you can get your Reels working again in no time!

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through the top reasons why Instagram Reels commonly glitch out and fail to operate correctly. I‘ve dug into the issue from both a social media specialist perspective and a technical angle to identify the likely culprits.

Then, I‘ll provide over a dozen detailed solutions you can implement yourself to fix problematic Reels and get the feature back up and running. I‘ll also answer some frequently asked questions about debugging Reels to address any other issues you may encounter.

So let‘s dive in and get your Instagram Reels fixed!

Why Do Instagram Reels Stop Working?

Before we can get your Reels working again, it helps to understand what causes them to break in the first place. Through my research and experience troubleshooting social apps like Instagram, I‘ve identified the most common reasons behind non-functioning Reels:

Software Glitches

As with any software application, Instagram is susceptible to general bugs and glitches that can occur after updates. Specific issues on Instagram‘s backend with the Reels feature can prevent videos from loading and playing back correctly. Updates aimed at fixing problems sometimes end up inadvertently causing new ones.

Account Restrictions

If your Instagram account has been temporarily restricted for violating community guidelines, you may lose access to certain features like Reels. Restrictions placed on accounts are one of the top reasons why users suddenly can‘t access Reels.

Device Compatibility Issues

To leverage features like Reels, you need to have the Instagram app fully up to date on your device. Running an outdated version of the app that doesn‘t support Reels can cause major issues. Underpowered mobile devices may also struggle to run Reels properly due to hardware constraints.

Connectivity Problems

Uploading and watching Reels requires a consistent high-speed internet connection. Network problems like lag, packet loss or throttled speeds can easily disrupt access to Reels. Issues on Instagram‘s server side can also prevent Reels from functioning correctly.

Limited Regional Access

Instagram has slowly rolled out Reels to different geographic regions over time. If Reels haven‘t officially launched in your country yet, you‘ll encounter problems trying to use the feature before it‘s available.

Integration With Other Apps

If you primarily use a third-party app for accessing Instagram, incomplete integration with Reels within the app could be the issue. For the best Reels experience, use the official Instagram app.

Corrupted App Data

Over time, cached data and other app files saved on your device can become corrupted. These issues can interfere with all aspects of the Instagram app, including Reels playback and creation.

Blocked Hashtags and Songs

Media blocks on specific hashtags and songs imposed by regional restrictions can prevent you from properly making Reels using blocked content. You may need to remove this content to successfully post Reels.

Now that you know what typically causes Instagram Reels to malfunction, let‘s get into the solutions!

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide

If your Instagram Reels aren‘t working correctly, here are over a dozen troubleshooting steps you can follow yourself to identify and resolve the problem:

1. Update the Instagram app

The very first troubleshooting step is making sure you have the latest version of the Instagram app installed on your device. Open your device‘s app store, search for Instagram, and update it if an update is available. The most recent versions of the app contain bug fixes that could resolve your Reels issues.

2. Reboot your device

Once the app is updated, do a full reboot of your mobile device by powering it off completely, waiting 30 seconds, then powering it back on. This will clear out any glitches and ensure the app starts with a clean slate.

3. Check your internet connection

Using Reels requires strong connectivity to upload and view videos. Try accessing Reels while connected to different WiFi networks and cellular data to identify any connection issues. Run speed tests on the networks to check for problems. Slow internet connectivity is one of the biggest reasons Reels won‘t work correctly.

4. Clear the Instagram app cache and data

Over time, corrupted cached data and app files stored on your device can interfere with Instagram and Reels functionality. Open your device settings, select the Instagram app, go to the storage settings, and clear out the cache and data. This erases problematic files.

5. Re-install the Instagram app

If you‘re still encountering issues after clearing the cache and data, try uninstalling the Instagram app entirely and do a clean re-install of the latest version from your app store. This wipes the slate completely clean, removing any corrupt files.

6. Try logging out and back into your Instagram account

Sometimes simply logging out of your Instagram account and then logging back in can solve odd problems like non-working Reels. This resets things and may do the trick.

7. Attempt to use Reels on an alternate account

To isolate whether the issues lie with your specific account or device, attempt to access Reels from a secondary Instagram account on your device. If Reels work fine on that other account, it indicates your main account is the issue.

8. Check for restrictions on your main Instagram account

Log into your main Instagram account through a web browser and check if there are any restrictions, blocks or limits placed on it that could explain issues with Reels. Blocks preventing Reels access are commonly enacted on accounts violating policies.

9. Consider switching to the official Instagram app

If you typically use Instagram via a third-party app, incomplete Reels integration in those apps could be the root cause. Try switching to the official Instagram app and see if Reels start working properly through that main portal.

10. Update your device software and firmware

It‘s possible outdated core software and firmware on your mobile device could be contributing to compatibility issues running Reels. Check for any available operating system and firmware updates for your device and install them. Keeping your device software up to date is key for supporting Instagram‘s features.

11. Remove blocked hashtags and songs

If you frequently incorporate banned hashtags or copyright-protected songs into your Reels, media blocks on this content could prevent your Reels from posting correctly. Try removing any blocked tags or songs and see if your Reels start working normally.

12. Leverage Instagram‘s built-in troubleshooting

Dive into the app and website support options offered by Instagram, where you can troubleshoot issues, report problems with Reels directly to the Instagram team and receive specialized technical support tailored to the Reels feature.

13. Directly contact Instagram support

If you still can‘t get Reels functioning properly after trying all standard troubleshooting, reach out to the Instagram customer support team through their contact options. They have advanced tools to diagnose problems and can expedite solutions like hotfixes.

14. Try restarting your process for creating Reels

As a last resort, restart the Reels creation process completely from scratch. Delete your draft Reel, close and re-open Instagram, then attempt to build a brand new Reel. This essentially resets all Reels functionality.

With consistent testing using various troubleshooting steps, you should be able to isolate what is causing your Instagram Reels to malfunction. The solutions above cover all common scenarios and will get to the bottom of the issue.

FAQs and Expert Tips for Reels Troubleshooting

Here are some answers to frequent questions I get about resolving problems with Instagram Reels:

What should I do if my Reels aren‘t posting at all?

If your Reels aren‘t posting, focus troubleshooting on your device‘s internet connectivity first. Slow upload speeds will prevent successful posting. Also try reinstalling the Instagram app and logging out and back into your account to reset things.

Why did the Reels options disappear from my Instagram app?

The Reels creative tools can disappear if your account has restrictions placed on it, or if your geographic region doesn‘t support Reels yet during the slow rollout process. Use Instagram‘s support options to confirm the reason.

How can I recover a deleted Reel?

Unfortunately Instagram does not have a native recovery method for deleted Reels. Your only option is to re-upload the original video file to rebuild the lost Reel from scratch. Some third-party data recovery apps claim to retrieve deleted Reels in certain scenarios.

What should I do if my audio isn‘t working on Reels?

Issues with audio in Reels are typically caused by device compatibility problems. Make sure you are running the latest firmware for your device and have updated to the newest Instagram app version. Also check that media blocks aren‘t enabled on the audio you are trying to use.

Why do my Reels only show a black screen when played?

Black screens and other playback failures point to corruption of cached Reels files on your device. Try clearing the cache and data for the Instagram app, reinstalling the app, and updating your device software and firmware to remove any corrupted files.

How can I access more songs for Reels music?

The catalog of music available for your Reels depends on Instagram‘s licensing agreements for your geographic region. A VPN may help you access more songs if licensing is limited in your country. Usage restrictions still apply.

What should I do if I can create Reels but my feed won‘t load them?

If your Reels aren‘t showing up in feeds after posting, it indicates a wider problem with your Instagram account or device connectivity to Instagram‘s servers. Troubleshoot your account for restrictions, re-install the app, and ensure your WiFi or cellular data connection is stable.

Why do I have no options to add music on Reels?

Lack of music options when creating Reels is typically caused by licensing restrictions in your country or region. Instagram slowly expands its music library availability through licensing deals. If others in your country have music, contact Instagram‘s support.

How do I find Reels options if my Instagram is up to date?

If your app is fully updated but Reels options are missing, first make sure your account doesn‘t have restrictions limiting Reels. If not, temporarily enable a VPN service to see if simulating access from another country brings back Reels (this bypasses geographic rollout issues).

I hope these tips and answers help you overcome any issues you‘ve had with non-functional Instagram Reels! Just stay patient, and methodically work through different troubleshooting steps until you isolate the problem. Before long, you‘ll be creating and sharing awesome Reels again with your followers.

Let me know if you have any other questions – I‘m always happy to provide more troubleshooting advice to get your Instagram features running smoothly again!


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.