Why Won't Instagram Let Me Post a Picture?

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Have you ever tried to share a new photo on Instagram, only to have the app refuse to actually publish your post?

You‘re not alone. Plenty of Instagram users have experienced the frustrating phenomenon of Instagram suddenly blocking photo uploads and preventing posts from going live.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore all the reasons why Instagram won‘t let you post a picture, dig into the root causes, and provide fixes to resolve the problem for good.

Why Does Instagram Block Photo Posts?

There are 5 main reasons why Instagram may prevent you from posting photos or videos:

  1. Your content violates Instagram‘s community guidelines
  2. Your account is restricted due to suspicious activity
  3. You‘ve hit your daily posting limit
  4. There‘s a technical issue or bug
  5. The image file itself is corrupted or incompatible

Let‘s examine each of these issues in more detail.

1. Violating Community Guidelines

The most common reason behind blocked photo posts is that something about the content breaks Instagram‘s community guidelines.

Instagram maintains strict rules around nudity, hate speech, harassment, illegal goods, and other objectionable content. Their automated artificial intelligence systems constantly scan all new posts to detect guideline violations.

If their AI flags your photo as inappropriate, Instagram will automatically block it from posting and notify you that it goes against community standards.

Some examples of posts that will get blocked:

  • Fully nude photos and pornographic content
  • Visible genitalia, breasts, or buttocks (even in paintings or sculptures)
  • Images promoting self-harm such as cutting or eating disorders
  • Photos encouraging dangerous or illegal acts
  • Hate symbols and direct attacks on protected groups
  • Content related to selling regulated goods like firearms, prescription drugs, or marijuana

Instagram‘s goal is to keep the platform safe and inclusive for all users. But their AI moderators are not perfect. They sometimes flag benign posts incorrectly by accident.

If you feel your photo was misjudged, you can appeal the decision through the app and request human review. We‘ll cover how to submit an appeal later in this guide.

2. Suspicious Account Activity

Beyond specific posts, Instagram may completely disable your ability to post new content if their systems detect suspicious activity on your entire account.

Signs of spam, automation, and inauthentic growth are often the culprit behind restricted accounts. Here are some behaviors that will get your posting privileges revoked:

  • Posting too much too fast – Publishing an abnormally high number of photos in a short timeframe can appear bot-like. Posting 30+ photos back to back within an hour is likely to trigger blocks.

  • Using automation services – Bots and third-party apps that post content or engage with posts automatically on your behalf are strictly prohibited.

  • Buying fake likes or followers – If Instagram catches you artificially inflating your popularity metrics with purchased, fake engagement, they‘ll assume your account is inauthentic.

  • Comment spamming – Repeatedly posting similar or unrelated comments on random posts is considered spam and will lead to restrictions.

  • Hashtag spamming – Using a massive number of unrelated hashtags, or prohibited hashtags like #giveaway, can get your account flagged for spam.

If your account is identified as a source of spam or as being inauthentic, you may be shadowbanned or prohibited from posting and commenting. This restriction is essentially like a quarantine designed to prevent your suspected "bad" activity from impacting other users.

Getting flagged in this manner can be incredibly frustrating, especially if the activity was an honest mistake or you were unaware of the rules. If Instagram applied limits incorrectly, you‘ll need to demonstrate that you didn‘t intentionally violate their policies and deserve to have your privileges reinstated.

3. Hitting Posting Limits

Did you know Instagram actually limits the number of posts you can publish within a certain timeframe?

There are two sets of limits in place:

  • Daily limits – Users are restricted to posting no more than 60 photos and videos per day from their account. You cannot publish more than 60 posts within a 24-hour period starting from when your first post is published that day.

  • Hourly limits – You also cannot publish more than 30 photos and videos within a single hour. Any attempt to post more than 30 posts in one hour will get blocked.

These limits are designed, again, to deter spammers who might try to flood Instagram with a huge volume of useless or harmful content. But regular users can sometimes accidentally hit the limits without realizing they exist.

Trying to quickly upload a batch of photos from an event, a recent vacation, or new product inventory could easily trigger the hourly posting limit. You may not realize publishing so many posts at once appears suspicious rather than normal user behavior to Instagram.

If your content is getting blocked when you try to post a lot at the same time, spread out your posts over days and hours while staying below the limits.

4. Technical Issues

Of course, sometimes the reason your photo won‘t post is simply a mundane technical glitch or bug in the Instagram app itself. App issues like crashes, freezes, and problems uploading content are fairly common.

Bugs and instability tend to occur more frequently right after an app update, as updates can unintentionally introduce new bugs. Fortunate, most technical glitches are temporary and intermittent. Trying again after some time often resolves a one-off bug.

However, if the problem keeps recurring consistently, it‘s worth investigating potential technical causes through troubleshooting:

  • Update Instagram – Download the latest version of the app, as an update may contain critical bug fixes.

  • Update your phone‘s OS – Similarly, updating your device‘s operating system can resolve system-level bugs impacting Instagram.

  • Restart your phone – Soft reset your mobile device by turning it off and back on. This will clear out any temporary memory glitches.

  • Verify internet connection – Check that you have a strong WiFi or mobile data connection. Weak connections interfere with uploads.

  • Clear app cache – Within your device settings, clear the Instagram app‘s cache and data to delete corrupt files.

  • Delete and reinstall the app – As a last resort, fully removing and re-downloading the Instagram app can eliminate stubborn glitches.

5. Image File Corruption

Finally, the issue preventing your photo from posting may come down to problems with the image file itself.

Corrupted image files that get damaged or altered in some way can become unreadable by Instagram‘s systems. Trying to upload a corrupted file will trigger an error.

Potential sources of image corruption include:

  • Bad sectors on a camera SD card – Damaged sectors during photo storage can corrupt images.

  • Faulty camera lens – A malfunctioning lens can distort photos in ways that break the image file.

  • Image editing errors – Certain filters or adjustments may damage the image format.

  • Glitches during file transfer – Errors when transferring images from camera to device can disrupt images.

  • Incompatible image formats – Unusual formats like RAW or the highest resolution settings could cause compatibility issues.

If it seems no matter what photo you try to post, none will upload properly, corruption during the image capture or transfer process may be at fault.

Try capturing a brand new photo using Instagram‘s in-app camera, which automatically uses compatible settings, to test if your existing files are the problem. If the new photo posts fine, your original image files are likely corrupted.

Troubleshooting Instagram Post Blocks

Now that we‘ve explored all the reasons why Instagram might block your posts, let‘s go over concrete solutions and troubleshooting steps you can take to resolve each scenario.

If Your Post Violated Guidelines:

  1. Review the Community Guidelines thoroughly to gain a clear understanding of what types of posts are not permitted. Make sure you understand Instagram‘s rules and definitions around nudity, dangerous content, regulated goods, hate speech, and spam.

  2. Ask a friend to review your post if you‘re unsure whether it violates policies. A second opinion from someone else can help determine if the photo objectively crosses the line.

  3. Edit the post to comply with guidelines. For example, blurring part of the image, cropping out certain elements, or adding emoji stickers over prohibited content.

  4. Appeal the decision if you believe the post was removed unfairly. In the app, you can submit an appeal request for human review and explain why you feel the post should be approved.

  5. Post less risky content while your appeal is under review or account is restricted. Photos of scenery, food, pets and other uncontroversial topics are unlikely to get blocked.

If Your Account is Restricted for Spam:

  1. Carefully review prohibited behaviors like automation and fake engagement buying. Make sure you understand Instagram‘s spam and authenticity policies fully.

  2. Submit an appeal emphasizing that you did not intentionally violate the rules and want another chance. Provide context explaining your behavior.

  3. Lay low and post high quality, non-spammy content to prove your account should be taken off restrictions.

  4. Avoid hashtags as these are common vectors for spam activity. Use only 1-2 extremely relevant hashtags, if any.

  5. Consider converting your personal account to a business account. Business accounts are subject to slightly more lenient filters.

  6. Post consistently 1-2 times per day at most to establish predictable human patterns versus rapid automation.

If You Hit Post Limits:

  1. Check if you hit the daily or hourly limits based on the number and timing of your posts. 60 posts per day and 30 posts per hour are the cutoffs.

  2. Spread out your posts over multiple days/hours so you land safely under the limits at a pace that appears natural vs bot-driven.

  3. Use Instagram story posts which don‘t count against limits on feed posts. You can also offload some content to Stories.

  4. Employ an Instagram scheduler to queue posts over time so you don‘t have to post them all in rapid succession manually. Scheduling tools like Buffer help you pace posts.

  5. Split posts into multiple slideshow uploads so each post only uses up one of your daily allotment vs cramming 30 photos into one post.

If There‘s a Technical Problem:

  1. Update Instagram and your phone software to acquire any critical bug fixes that may address glitches. Keep software completely up to date.

  2. Try posting from a different device like a tablet you also use Instagram on. If the post works elsewhere, it indicates your original phone has local glitches vs your account being restricted.

  3. Delete and reinstall Instagram to clear out any corrupted data. Make sure to backup your data first before deleting.

  4. Restart your phone to refresh the device and clear any temporary memory hiccups.

  5. Verify your internet connection is strong on WiFi or mobile data before trying to post. Weak connections can disrupt large uploads.

  6. Clear the Instagram app cache and data to delete potentially corrupted temporary files that may interfere with posting.

  7. Wait and try again later. Some intermittent bugs naturally resolve on their own after a bit of time.

If Your Image File is Corrupted:

  1. Try capturing a new photo through Instagram‘s in-app camera and posting that fresh file. If it works, your original third-party photos are likely corrupted.

  2. Use an online file validator tool to check your image for corruption. Upload the problematic image to see if errors are reported.

  3. Open and re-save corrupted images in Photoshop to overwrite errors. Export the file in a standard JPEG or PNG format.

  4. Transfer images to your phone again in case the original method disrupted the files. Email images to yourself or AirDrop rather than using flaky connectors.

  5. Resize very large images below the maximum resolution of 612px wide by 612px tall per Instagram‘s requirements.

  6. Avoid transferring RAW format images as these are incompatible. Always convert RAW files to standard JPEG before uploading.

Why Your Instagram Story Posts Get Blocked

In addition to feed posts, you may also suddenly find yourself unable to post photos or videos to your Instagram Stories.

This can be extremely frustrating if you‘re trying to share time-sensitive content or document an event as it happens live. Why won‘t Instagram let you post to Stories?

The root causes for blocked Story posts are very similar to feed blocks:

  • Your content violates community guidelines
  • Your account has restrictions in place
  • Technical issues or glitches

However, there is one additional key reason specific to Stories – using incompatible media file formats.

The Instagram Story composer has more stringent file format requirements than the feed post uploader. Any media outside of the following formats will get automatically rejected:

  • Photos – JPEG or PNG files taken within the Instagram app. Cannot be over 10MB.

  • Videos – MP4 videos recorded using the in-app camera. 15 second maximum length.

This means you cannot upload just any photo or video from your camera roll to Stories. The media must originate directly from the Instagram Stories camera.

If you try to post a screenshot, an image saved from the internet, or a video recorded elsewhere, Instagram Stories will block the upload.

Fortunately, you can convert incompatible files into a format that Stories will accept:

  • Use the in-app camera to take a new photo or screen recording of the image/video you want to upload. This reformats the file to meet Stories requirements.

  • Tools like Kapwing allow you to convert videos to MP4 format with the proper codec, dimensions, and metadata to work for Instagram Stories.

By properly formatting your media assets before posting to Stories, you can avoid pesky file type blocks.

How to Prevent Post Blocks on Instagram

The best way to avoid problems posting content on Instagram is to stay aware of their guidelines, post intelligently, and use proactive precautions.

Here are some tips to keep your account and posts in Instagram‘s good graces:

  • Thoroughly review Instagram‘s Community Guidelines on prohibited content so you understand what types of posts to avoid. Read the guidelines closely as nuances matter.

  • Use Instagram‘s built-in preview tools to double check feed posts and Stories appear normal before publishing. Previews allow you to confirm content doesn‘t seem to violate policies.

  • Avoid posting controversial or provocative imagery if you have a history of post takedowns or account issues. Even if you feel the content is justified, Instagram may choose to be more cautious with accounts that have already raised flags.

  • Post at a consistent pace of 1-2 times per day maximum to establish predictable human behavior patterns and avoid sudden rapid spikes indicative of automation.

  • Schedule batches of posts over multiple days rather than bombarding your feed all at once. Scheduling tools like Planoly can automate this for you intelligently.

  • Avoid prohibited hashtag techniques like entering hashtag contests or using forbidden hashtags related to buying followers. Hashtags often correlate with spam behavior.

  • Never use follower buying or automation services as these will get your account shut down if caught. Focus only on organic, authentic growth techniques.

  • Use high quality images without visual noise, watermarks, or text overlays that could be misinterpreted as inappropriate content.

  • Credit any individuals in your photos using tags if possible so content appears consensual.

  • Appeal guideline violations politely if you feel a mistake was made. Most human appeals reviewers want to be fair. Rude appeals often get rejected.

Staying on Instagram‘s good side both protects your account and ensures your content gets seen by the widest audience possible. By following best practices, you should be able to avoid disruptive post blocks.

But should you run into trouble, use this guide to methodically diagnose the cause and apply the right troubleshooting steps to get your account back on track. With persistence and care, you can resolve upload blocks for good.


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.