Stories have been a surprisingly revitalizing feature addition to Instagram, the world’s leading photo and video sharing app. There are now 500 million Instagram users creating at least one Story every day, adding enormously to the site’s traffic volume. Ever since their rollout in August of 2017, Instagram Stories have become a trendy way for brands and companies to connect with customers, and Stories now account for more than a third of Instagram’s sponsored content.
Although the feature was mostly copied from Snapchat, Instagram has successfully integrated it into their platform. The way it works is simple: you take a video or image (or series of videos or pictures), add a caption, and publish it. Instagram keeps it live for 24 hours, and then it fades into history. However, some users have reported problems with Stories – specifically, that they will fail to upload to Instagram, with a perpetual ‘Posting’ or ‘Upload Failed’ message. In this article, I will show several different methods to resolve this situation and get your stories working correctly again.
Why Instagram Stories Fail to Upload
- Why Instagram Stories Fail to Upload
- Resolving Upload Failures
There are several potential reasons that your Instagram Story might not successfully upload to the Instagram servers. The combination of hardware-software operating on a global scale that makes an app/site like Instagram function is staggeringly complicated; amazingly, the website can run at all, and yet most of the time, it chugs along without the slightest difficulty. Here are some of the most likely culprits for Instagram Stories to not upload.
Server Software Glitch
Instagram is updated continuously, with new patches and hotfixes applied on practically a daily basis. Generally, such hotfixes are pretty well tested on a set of parallel hardware running a kind of phony Instagram; if a software change doesn’t break the pretend site, then it’s probably safe to apply to the main site. Usually, this is a safe bet, but there are times when the safe bet doesn’t pay off, and a tested piece of software hits the production servers, and the whole product grinds to a halt.
Application Software Glitch
What users think of as “Instagram” is the app that they run on their smartphone or tablet. That app, although an essential part of the Instagram architecture, performs only a small piece of the work of the whole system. It’s a much smaller and simpler piece of software than the code that holds the servers together and keeps the apps chugging along. The software that runs on your phone, called the “client,” is more comfortable to test than the sophisticated software on the server-side, but it has one flaw: it is used by tens of millions of people, which means that a lot of the possible ways that these random humans might try to do things simply won’t be represented in the testing process. A small glitch in the client could produce a situation where Stories would fail to upload, particularly as a consequence of some unusual user action.
The network between your smartphone and the Instagram servers located somewhere in a secret Facebook data center is a complicated and torturous one. Starting at your smartphone, data signals are transmitted to the nearest cellular tower, which is itself connected by a microwave relay or a physical cable to a local hub. From there the signal travels up the network architecture to a backbone, a huge data pipe running long distances between cities, before offloading back to another local hub and transiting into the Facebook data center, where the Instagram server takes the signal and processes it and turns it into an entry in your Stories. This whole process takes only a fraction of a second, even though the data is traveling hundreds or thousands of miles. Although this network is reliable, it is also complicated, and an outage in a hub or a glitch in routing software can cause sections of the system to fall out of contact with the rest of the net. Such disruptions are generally short-lived.
Resolving Upload Failures
You have several solutions to help solve, workaround, or manage upload failures of your Stories.
Retry in a while
If you have the luxury of time and patience, you can recognize that 99% of the time, the issue is going to resolve itself, and all you need to do is wait. You can leave your uploads un-uploaded, and go read the site (if it’s still serving up content). You can go read a book, or make a cup of coffee. Call your grandparents and tell them that you love them. There all kinds of productive short breaks you can take that will give the Instagram engineers time to hit the servers with a baseball bat or whatever it is that they do to get things working again. It isn’t exactly a fix, but it saves stressing yourself out trying to fix it.
See what’s up
Remember, sometimes when Instagram Stories fail to upload, it isn’t the app, but the Instagram end of the network. Whether that’s server issues, network issues, bugs, hardware failure, or whatever, problems like that will show in the system as a whole. Instagram itself doesn’t maintain a public record of its real-time status, but other people do. One good site to check is downdetector.com, which has pages for many popular sites, not just Instagram. You can check the status of the Instagram operation, and also read the comments from other Instagrammers, and feel better about yourself.
Switch data network
As uploading Instagram Stories depends on a data network, the first logical step is to change from your WiFi network to your 4G cellular network or vice versa. Instagram will see the change and retry the connection. If the issue is with bandwidth or network traffic, the way should now be clear to upload. If you’re on 4G, switch over to WiFi and if you’re already on WiFi, turn it off and use 4G.
Use the Airplane Mode workaround
This is an odd little workaround that circulated around Reddit and other places back when Instagram Stories had just been rolled out and were experiencing a high number of glitches. This workaround isn’t very logical or intuitive but does to have had positive results for many users who attest to it.
- Post your Instagram Story twice in a row (don’t worry, we’re only keeping one).
- Shut down Instagram and turn on Airplane Mode on your phone.
- Open Instagram and delete the first Story.
- Turn Airplane Mode off.
Many people who experienced the initial glitchiness of Instagram Stories have attested that this method does work.
Restarting apps on either Android or iOS refreshes the temporary files and memory use of that app. That can be enough to get it working again. Most apps will self-regulate memory or cache, but sometimes they get stuck. A restart can get them working again. For Androids, open the app drawer, find the Instagram app, and hit the X in the top right corner to shut the app down. For iPhones, open recent apps in iOS and swipe up to close Instagram.
Update the app
Like most popular apps, Instagram updates fairly regularly. If there is a known issue from within the app itself, an update is usually quick to arrive. Updating it through the App Store or Google Play Store is a logical next step. Open your respective app store and look at available updates. If Instagram is among them, update it. If it isn’t, move on.
Reboot your phone
As always, a quick reboot can solve a multitude of problems, and this could be one of them. A reboot will drop all temporary files, files stored in memory, and cached app files. The phone will reload everything from saved copies and begin anew. Once your phone has rebooted, open Instagram, and try posting your Story again. It might just work.
Reinstall the app
If you have switched data networks, tried to update Instagram, checked to see if others are having the same problem, and tried the workaround, and things still aren’t working correctly, you have two options. You can wait it out and see if it’s an Instagram issue, or you can reinstall the app to see if that fixes anything. If it’s a corruption with the installation files, a reinstallation might fix it.
Select Instagram from your app drawer and hold down the icon. In Android, drag the icon to the trash at the top of the screen. In iOS, select the little X that appears in the top corner of the icon. Both actions will remove Instagram from your phone. Then go to your respective app store and download a fresh copy. You will have to log in and recreate your Instagram Story to post it, but it might work again.
Why are my Instagram stories are blurry?
If the problem isn’t necessarily that your Instagram story isn’t working, but instead the photos or videos are coming out blurry. It’s most likely a problem with your camera and not the app itself, but if you’re sure it’s the app we can try to restart the app. If that doesn’t work, you may have to update the app.
If you think it’s the camera itself, try and upgrade your phone, or check the camera. Sometimes the inside of the camera can crack from dropping the phone, but most likely the lens is dirty. Use some Windex to clean it, and try to take another picture. If none of this works, you may need to repair it.
How do I delete an Instagram story that won’t post?
You can delete a story that won’t post the same way you delete an Instagram story that does post. Go to the story you wanted to post and select the three dots in the bottom right corner of the screen. You’ll see a drop-down menu. Click the “delete” option and it will get rid of that post.
We have a lot more resources for Instagram users out there!
Here’s our guide on how to add music to your Instagram Story!
Looking at an Instagram Story and it’s just going by too fast to keep up? We’ll show you how to pause an Instagram Story.
We’ve got a walkthrough of how Instagram chooses the order of Stories.
For the curious, our guide to what that heart icon means on Instagram.
Here’s our tutorial on how to change the font in your Instagram Story.