I recently experienced what is known amongst the grammes as one of the “Instagram glitches”. What it looks like is pretty obvious and sudden – your pictures go missing.  Literally, as simple as that – they disappear from your account.

Sometimes it can be just pictures – all of them, or some of them. Sometimes it can also be the highlights – and again – all or some of them.

The thorough research I’ve done to write this post is based on what people say in the online forums and on Instagram itself. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any official response from Instagram.

So this is what I got.


Basically, it’s just that your posts go missing from your account. The pictures and/or highlights. It’s been going on for at least 3 years now and it’s not the result of your account being hacked. It’s the result of some sort of glitches or bugs in the IG system.


Around the time of the update of the app what might happen is IG may ask you to confirm your telephone number – it’s all legit – it’s not some sketchy 3 party app – it’s happening in the official IG app on your phone.

You can’t really use the app without confirming it so obviously, you do it – especially that you feel safe having done nothing wrong. And again – this message comes from the official app. As soon as you do it your pictures start to disappear – one by one. I could literally see the number of my photos going down from 487 to 234. Within minutes.


Of course, for most people, it may not be the REAL problem in the grand scheme of things. My account is my creative outlet but I do use it for work as well. Anyway you look at it – it isn’t easy to witness something you hold dear disappear in front of your eyes. People are different – goals and purposes for being on the platform are different. But losing half of the carefully curated feed – with thought-through captions, with comments that were largely conversations with the people who follow me and whom I know – hurts.

Also – for some people – Instagram might be a regular job. Imagine one day a desk disappears from your office or a bunch of documents you’ve been working over the last couple of months.

Pretty scary isn’t it. But it won’t happen in your office and if it did you have insurance, you have the backup you have lots of ways to make sure nothing like that ever disturbs your well being.

It’s not the case on Instagram.  We don’t own “our” accounts. There’s no efficient customer service – basically, we’re not customers. Well – we are if we buy ads – I’ll get to that in a second.


So what we can do is just… well, get over it. That simple. The pictures may come back and they might not. When I’m writing this mine sadly haven’t. You can write to Instagram – settings/help/report a problem – but you won’t get a response – it’s not really a two-way line of communication.

I found these solutions – I’m not actually recommending any of it – they are just solutions I found googling the topic:

  • report the bug in your IG app – settings/help/report a problem
  • update your app
  • log out and log in to IG app
  • make sure you don’t use any unauthorized 3rd party apps – if you do – log out of them
  • change your password – I’m assuming by now you’re using the two-factor authentication – if not – do it
  • request to download data – settings/privacy and security/download data – this is also the way to see if all your pictures are still there
  • temporarily disable your account. You can only do it from the browser – not the phone app. Go to your computer or open a browser in your phone/tablet. Log in and click edit profile (https://www.instagram.com/accounts/edit/) . Scroll down and you’ll find a link to “temporarily disable your account” IT WILL NOT DELETE YOUR ACCOUNT – it will – just as the description says – disable it. Again – this is the way some people say worked for them and helped them recover the photos.
  • And wait. 36 hours, 72 hours, or a month. You’ll find out for yourself.

What I did is everything except disabling the account. And I’m still waiting – 48 hours and counting.


So are your posts back? Mine did come back eventually – after 3 days of being awol.

But that’s not the end of the story.

No matter if they are back or not there’s more coming. The infamous SHADOWBAN. This is something that I found people were talking about when describing their experiences. It may last a couple of days – but also 2 weeks (or more in some cases.) What it means is basically if you use hashtags to widen your reach it won’t work. Your pictures will not be shown on the hashtag’s page as they used to – ergo – they will be shown to a limited number of your followers only. This is also what I’m currently experiencing. Some people say this problem disappeared as soon as they paid for the ad. Haven’t tried it – just putting it out here for you to consider.

One lesson I’ve definitely learnt through all of this is that we have to remember Instagram is a free app. It’s amazing and you can do a bunch of stuff there, but it will never be something fully reliable. It’s not like you have a paid subscription and a person to call when something goes wrong. As far as we know – they can shut it down tomorrow and that’s it.


That’s all I got from browsing the web and talking to friends and people I happen to know on Instagram.

What’s your experience with the infamous Instagram bug or glitch?

Has it happened to you? Got any tips and tricks?


instagram glitch