How to Fix “You may not be old enough to use Instagram”

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Seeing that frustrating error message saying "You may not be old enough to use Instagram" is super annoying, especially when you just want to post your cool pics and videos. Not to worry – I‘ve totally been there myself!

In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through step-by-step what that message really means, how to appeal it properly so you can get back on Instagram fast, and tips to avoid the issue in the first place. Stick with me, and your account will be back up and running in no time!

What Does the Age Limit Message Mean on Instagram?

Let‘s break this down…here‘s the full warning you may see:

"We‘ll disable your account within 30 days if you’re not able to confirm you‘re at least 13. After this period, your account will not be recoverable.”

Basically Instagram thinks you‘re under 13 years old, which is the minimum age to use the app per their rules. Bummer!

There‘s a couple reasons why Instagram might think you‘re too young:

  • You entered the wrong birthday when you signed up and it marked you as under 13. Easy mistake!

  • Some troll took the time to report your account as being underage. Not cool of them!

  • Instagram‘s algorithm looked at your posts and engagement and decided you seem under 13 based on that data. Computers mess up sometimes!

Most of the time this happens to actual underage users like tweens, but I‘ve seen it happen to tons of real adults too, believe it or not. It happened to me when I was 25! Crazy right?

But not to worry – you can appeal it and verify your real age, avoiding the dreaded account deletion. More on that soon!

Why Does Instagram Have an Age Limit in the First Place?

I know it‘s a bummer, but Instagram requires you to be at least 13 to sign up and use the app. They have to follow something called COPPA – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Here‘s the deal – COPPA is a United States law that stops websites and apps like Instagram from collecting data and info on kids under 13 without getting permission from their parents first. It‘s meant to protect kids‘ privacy and safety online.

Instagram‘s terms say “Instagram does not knowingly collect or solicit any information from anyone under the age of 13.” So they have to abide by COPPA regulations and set 13 as the minimum age to comply with the law.

It‘s frustrating, but they‘re just covering themselves legally!

What Happens if You Don‘t Verify Your Age on Instagram?

If you get the age warning message, you only have 30 days to complete Instagram‘s age verification process before your account gets permanently deleted and disabled.

And sadly according to the message, your account can‘t be recovered if that happens! All your pics and hard work building your feed – gone!

Definitely not worth risking it. You‘ve gotta act fast and appeal it ASAP if you get the warning. Verify your real age so your account stays safe!

How Does Instagram Know How Old You Are?

When you sign up for an Instagram account, it asks for your birthday which tells IG how old you are. But that‘s not their only way to guess your real age:

  • Users can report accounts as being under 13 years old – Sometimes people report accounts they think belong to kids. Not cool, but it happens.

  • Algorithms look for teen/kid clues in your content – Machine learning scans your posts, captions, hashtags, comments, etc. for signs you could be a tween. The tech isn‘t perfect though!

  • Facial analysis AI estimates your age – IG may use face scanning tech to guess your age based on your selfies and pictures. Still pretty inaccurate in many cases.

  • Metadata on photos can record age data – Things like geotags and timestamps on uploads may tip off algorithms that a user is underage if not careful.

So even if you enter an over 13 birthday when you sign up, IG has all these ways to double check if they suspect an account belongs to someone underage. But again, the tech can make plenty of mistakes!

Appealing the Age Limit: Verifying Your Real Age on Instagram

Alright, let‘s get into what you really need – how to get rid of that pesky age limitation! Here‘s the step-by-step to appeal and verify your age with Instagram:

1. Find the Official Age Appeal Form

Hop on Google and search for “Help Us Verify Your Age Instagram” and locate the official age verification appeal form.

Here are the direct links that work:

Click one of those to pull up the form.

2. Submit Your Account Details

The form will ask for your first and last name, the email address linked to your Instagram account, and your username.

Double check you enter all of this 100% accurately, so everything matches up with your account info already on file.

Age verification form

Fig 1. Instagram‘s age verification appeal form

3. Upload a Photo of Your Government ID

This is the key step to prove your real age to the IG powers that be! They require you to attach a photo of an official ID issued by the government.

Before snapping a selfie with your ID, triple check that your face and date of birth are clearly visible. Also be sure the ID is valid and unexpired just in case.

Some tips when taking the ID selfie:

  • Use good lighting so everything is readable!

  • Hold it steady and flat so the text doesn‘t get distorted.

  • Make sure glare doesn‘t block critical parts.

  • Send a color photo for best results.

  • A passport works too if you don‘t have another current ID.

According to Instagram, they‘ll encrypt and securely store your submitted ID pic, then automatically delete it after 30 days. They won‘t make it public on your profile or share with others.

4. Share Any Extra Context to Help Your Case

Use the optional “Additional Info” box on the form to explain your situation if you want to. Give IG any useful context to understand why you got flagged incorrectly.

Maybe your posts just make you seem younger than your real age. Or someone is reporting you unfairly out of pettiness. Share your side!

5. Submit the Completed Age Verification Form

Once you‘ve double checked every field is filled out properly, and attached your ID selfie, click Submit! This sends your age appeal to the Instagram folks for review.

Now comes the hard part – the waiting game!

What to Expect After You Submit an Age Appeal to Instagram

Here‘s the deal – Instagram‘s support team has to manually review a ton of these age verification requests.

Their website says it typically takes around 3-5 business days to complete the review process and respond to your appeal. But from what I‘ve seen, it can take 1-2 weeks sometimes.

My best advice is to be patient! I know, so annoying. But constantly messaging them for updates will only slow them down further.

If your appeal is approved, Instagram will send you an email saying your account is reactivated and the age limit has been lifted! Hooray!

But if your appeal gets rejected for some reason, sadly your account will remain banned from Instagram until you actually reach 13 years old per their rules. Lame, I know. You‘ll have to patiently wait and make a new account when you turn 13.

The good news is that as long as you provide legitimate ID proving your real age, Instagram will almost certainly approve your age verification request and remove the limitation. So just stay positive!

Tips to Avoid the Age Limit on Instagram Entirely

Here are some handy tips to avoid this whole age verification mess in the first place:

  • Always enter your real birthdate – When creating accounts, put your actual birthday showing you‘re over 13 years old. Even if you just want to poke around IG before joining for real.

  • Don‘t act under 13 even if you are – If you‘re younger than 13 but on Instagram anyway, avoid posting kiddish looking content that could flag their algorithms.

  • Make your account private – Keep your account private and only approve followers you actually know, so random users can‘t report you as underage.

  • Don‘t lie about your age – Submitting false documents claiming you‘re older than you really are is illegal. When you turn 13, make a new account then.

  • Be patient if incorrectly flagged – As frustrating as it is, kindly appeal the error by verifying your age according to their process. Persistence pays off!

In Conclusion

Dealing with Instagram‘s age limit and verifying your real age can definitely be a pain. But with this guide‘s step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks, you should be able to get back on IG and avoid any future issues.

Stay positive, be patient, and let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help. Wishing you many approved appeals and years of uninterrupted Instagram scrolling.


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.