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9 Ways to Fix Instagram Reels Not Working

MUO 8/8/2022 Matthew Wallaker
© Provided by MUO

Instagram launched Reels in 2019, and it quickly became the app's fastest-growing feature worldwide, with nine out of ten users watching Reels every day.

But its popularity doesn’t make the feature error-free, and sometimes it stops working.

If you’ve run into problems when uploading or watching Instagram Reels, we’ve listed multiple solutions to help you get Instagram Reels working again.

How to Access and Check for Instagram Reels

First, visit another Instagram account and check if you can watch that account’s reels. If you can do it, you should have the feature as well.

The Instagram Reels icon might’ve escaped your attention. Here’s where you can find Instagram Reels inside the app:

  • On Instagram’s home page, the Reels button should be next to the Search icon.
  • Swipe right anywhere in the Instagram feed. Reels should be available next to Story.
  • Tap the plus icon. You should see Reel as one of the available options.

How to See Reels on Instagram’s Browser Version

If you like scrolling Instagram on your browser, you’ll notice the Reels buttons are missing from the main page. However, Instagram will still display Reels on your news feed.

If you want to watch an account’s Instagram Reels, visit that account and select the Reels button. This will show you every Reel posted by that account.

1. Check If Reels Are Available in Your Country

Before going through the other troubleshooting steps, make sure the feature is available in your country. This way, you don’t try fixing a problem that doesn’t exist.

If you're not sure the feature is available where you live, you can check Instagram's support page for a list of countries where Reels ads are supported. Where these ads are supported, Reels are available to users.

If the country you currently live in isn’t on the list, you can try using a VPN to get Reels for your account, as long as you don't live in a country where VPNs are illegal.

2. Check Your Internet Connection

If you can’t watch Instagram Reels on your phone, there might be a problem with your internet connection, especially if you see the message: Couldn’t refresh feed.

You can try to reconnect to the network and check if this fixes the problem. However, if there are a lot of devices sharing the same network, you may be dealing with slow internet speed.

It might be worth it to reset your router and see if that fixes your connectivity issues.

3. Clear the App's Cached Data

Modern apps use cached data to ensure a smooth user experience. But if the cached data gets corrupted, it will create all sorts of problems, including Instagram Reels not working.

To get the app’s feature working again, you should manually clear its cache data.

  1. Open your phone’s Settings menu.
  2. Tap Apps and select Instagram.
  3. Open Storage & cache.
  4. Tap Clear cache > Clear Storage.

4. Update Instagram to the Latest Version

Using an outdated Instagram version might be the reason why Reels are not working. To update the app to the latest available version, launch the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, search for Instagram, and tap the Update button.

5. Log Out and Log Back In

If updating the app didn’t make Reels available, logging out and logging back into your Instagram account is another quick fix you can try. Launch Instagram and tap your profile icon from the bottom-right corner. Then, head to Settings and tap Log Out.

Now, log in with your credentials and check if Instagram Reels is available.

6. Turn Off Instagram’s Data Saver

Instagram has a data saver feature that will stop content from loading in advance. While it may have a positive impact on your data usage, Instagram Reels will take longer to start playing.

If you suspect that the feature is interfering with Reels playback, here is how you can turn off the data saver on Android:

  1. Tap your account icon and select Settings.
  2. Go to Account > Mobile data use.
  3. Turn off the toggle next to Data saver.

The process is similar for iOS. Tap your profile icon and go to Settings > Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options. There, disable Low Data Mode.

7. Switch to Instagram Lite

If you constantly have to clear your phone and Instagram's cached data, you should switch to Instagram Lite.

Instagram Lite doesn't take that much space on your phone and uses less mobile data. While there are some differences between Instagram and Instagram Lite, you can still watch Reels on the Lite version.

At the time of writing, Instagram Lite is available only for Android phones.

8. Reinstall the Instagram App

If you’ve tried every solution that we’ve listed and still can’t use Instagram Reels, you should reinstall the app—especially if you notice that other features stopped working as well. No matter if you’re using an iOS or Android phone, reinstalling the app should get it back to working as usual.

9. Report It to Instagram

If none of the fixes made Instagram Reels work again, you should report it to Instagram Support directly.

  1. Open Instagram and click the three-line menu.
  2. There, select Settings and go to Help.
  3. Click Report a problem. In the popup menu, click Report a problem again.
  4. Describe the issue as detailed as possible. You can even add screenshots to help them better understand the problem.
  5. Once you’re done completing the report, click Submit.

What to Do If Instagram Reels Sound Isn't Working

Most of the time, Instagram Reels have no sound because the creator muted the audio, possibly as an artistic way for their Instagram account to stand out or because they prefer to not use sound. If you scroll down to the next Reel, and it has audio, there’s nothing wrong with the app or with your phone.

However, if you notice something unusual, the tips that we've mentioned should help you bring Instagram Reels back up and running.

Enjoy Instagram Reels

There are several reasons why Instagram Reels have stopped working and sometimes, there’s nothing you can do, except be patient. Even if you run into the occasional glitch, you can still enjoy the platform and its different features.

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