Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms today, with over 1 billion active monthly users. A huge part of Instagram’s appeal comes from video content – Reels, Stories, IGTV, and more.
However, it can be incredibly frustrating when the Instagram app stops playing videos on your smartphone or desktop. You tap on a video to watch it, but instead of playing, you just get stuck on a frozen preview image.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many Instagram users have experienced issues with videos not playing at some point. The good news is there are several troubleshooting steps you can take to get your Instagram videos working again.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what causes Instagram video playback issues along with actionable solutions to resolve them. Let’s get started!
Common Reasons Why Instagram Videos Won’t Play
Before we get into specific troubleshooting techniques, it helps to understand the most common culprits behind Instagram video problems:
Internet Connectivity Issues – Slow internet speeds, weak WiFi signals, and network outages can all prevent Instagram videos from loading and playing correctly. This is one of the most frequent reasons.
Outdated App – If you haven’t updated the Instagram app on your mobile device recently, you could be running an outdated version with bugs affecting video playback.
Cache Buildup – Too much cached data on your device can sometimes interfere with the Instagram app’s performance and ability to load videos.
Restrictive Power Saving Mode – If your device is in an extreme battery saving mode, it may restrict Instagram’s ability to download and play videos smoothly.
Unsupported Video Format – Trying to upload a video to Instagram in the wrong file format could cause issues with it playing back for you and your followers.
Corrupted Video File – A damaged or corrupted video file may not play properly on Instagram and other apps. Re-exporting the file can often fix this.
Account Privacy Settings – If your Instagram account is set to private, your video uploads may not be visible or playable to anyone except approved followers.
Temporary Instagram Outage – Server outages and downtime at Instagram itself can also break video functionality across the platform.
Now let’s go over some specific troubleshooting steps and solutions for different devices.
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How to Fix Instagram Videos Not Playing on Mobile
Mobile issues tend to be the most common when it comes to Instagram video playback problems. Here are the top troubleshooting tips for fixing videos that won’t play in the Instagram app on your iPhone, Android, or other mobile devices:
Restart Your Device
A simple device restart can clear out any glitches or processes stuck in the background that may be interfering with Instagram. Close all apps, power your device off completely, wait 30 seconds, and power it back on. Then launch Instagram and try loading videos again.
Check Your Internet Connection
Make sure your mobile device has a solid internet connection via WiFi or mobile data when using Instagram. Try loading Instagram videos when connected to a different WiFi network or cellular data if possible as a test. Slow speeds or spotty connections are a prime suspect.
Update the Instagram App
Go to your device’s app store and make sure you have the latest version of the Instagram app installed. Updates frequently patch bugs and optimize performance. If outdated, updating the app may resolve any video playback problems.
Force Stop the App
From your device settings menu, find the Instagram app and choose “Force Stop.” This will fully close out the app so it can restart fresh. Then reopen Instagram and see if videos now play properly.
Clear the Cache and Data
In your device settings, find the storage info for Instagram. Tap to clear the app’s cache and temporary data. This frees up any corrupted data or glitches causing trouble. Your Instagram login and account will remain intact.
Disable Battery Saver/Power Saving Mode
Extreme battery saving modes can sometimes interfere with apps running smoothly in the background. Turn off any battery saver or power saving mode on your device and then try using Instagram again.
Reinstall the App
As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall the Instagram app from your device’s app store. This gives you a clean slate for testing. Be sure to backup any Instagram photos and videos so you don’t lose them.
Following these troubleshooting steps should resolve most cases of Instagram video issues on mobile devices. Reach out to Instagram support if videos still aren’t playing properly in the app after trying these solutions.
Troubleshooting Instagram Videos Not Working on Desktop
Just like mobile, there are also a variety of reasons why Instagram videos may not play on your Mac, PC, or other desktop devices. Here are some handy tips for getting desktop Instagram videos working again:
Refresh Your Browser
If trying to view Instagram videos on a web browser, start by refreshing your browser tab. This resets things and reloads the Instagram website fresh. Videos may play after a simple refresh.
Use a Different Browser
Try launching Instagram in a different web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc). If videos won’t play in one browser, switching to another can determine if the problem lies with the browser or not.
Check Your Internet Connection
Make sure your desktop is connected to a strong WiFi or wired internet connection when trying to view Instagram videos. Slow speeds or spotty connections commonly disrupt video playback.
Clear Browser Cache & Cookies
In your browser settings or extensions, clear out the browser cache and website cookies for Instagram. Too much cached data can slow things down or cause videos not to load properly on the site.
Allow Instagram Through Firewalls and Antivirus
Check that your desktop firewall, antivirus, and security software are not blocking Instagram’s website connections. You may need to add an exception for Instagram.
Update Your Browser
Make sure you’re running the latest version of your preferred web browser. Browser updates often include crucial bug fixes and performance improvements for sites like Instagram.
Try Incognito/Private Browsing Mode
Launch an incognito or private browser window and navigate to Instagram. This disables any browser extensions or account settings that may be interfering with video playback on the site.
Reboot Your Computer
Finally, a complete reboot of your desktop or laptop can refresh things at the system level. Close all apps, safely power down your system, wait a minute, and power it back on. Then try loading Instagram videos again.
Following the tips above should get Instagram videos playing again in any desktop web browser. If not, reach out to the Instagram support team.
How to Download Instagram Videos for Offline Viewing
If you find yourself frequently struggling to get Instagram videos to play due to poor connections, there is a workaround. You can download and save Instagram videos to view later offline when you have connectivity issues.
Here are a few ways to download videos from Instagram:
- Use a Third-Party Website – Numerous websites like IGDownloader, SSSGram, or SaveIG let you plug in an Instagram video URL to download the video file directly. This is the easiest method.
- Browser Extensions – Browser extensions like Video Downloader for Instagram (Chrome) integrate downloads right into your browser for easy downloading.
- Screen Recording Software – Applications like QuickTime (Mac) or OBS Studio (Windows) will let you screen record and capture Instagram videos as they play.
- Third-Party Apps – Apps like Insaver (iOS) or InstaSaver (Android) can be installed on your mobile device to download videos.
Be aware that directly downloading videos from Instagram may go against their terms of service depending on your usage. Avoid redistributing or reuploading videos without permission. Offline backups are safest.
Now let’s recap some of the key tips covered in this troubleshooting guide.
Key Takeaways and Solutions Summary
- Slow internet connections are the #1 reason why Instagram videos won’t play. Check your WiFi and data speeds.
- Update to the latest version of the Instagram app if your videos aren’t playing on mobile.
- Restart your device and reset the Instagram app to refresh things and resolve temporary glitches.
- Clear the cache and data for the Instagram app to delete any corrupted temporary files.
- Switch browsers or devices to determine if the issue is isolated or widespread.
- Disable battery saver modes which can interfere with apps loading videos smoothly.
- Reinstalling Instagram can give you a clean slate if all else fails. Just be sure to backup your content first!
- For frequent video issues, download Instagram videos to watch offline as a workaround.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the sound not work on Instagram videos?
If you can see the video footage but there is no audio, first make sure your device volume is turned up. Check that you haven’t muted the Instagram app itself from your phone settings. Also try force quitting the app or reinstalling it to resolve any glitches related to missing sound.
Why do some Instagram videos play but others won’t?
If some videos play but others won’t, that indicates the issue is isolated to those videos themselves. The videos may be corrupted, deleted, expired, or in a non-supported format. Trying re-exporting the video files in a clean MP4 format to see if that fixes playback problems.
Why does the Instagram app crash when I try to play videos?
Frequent app crashing when tapping on videos points to bigger software issues on your device. Make sure you’re fully updated to the latest OS version. Reinstalling Instagram can also help resolve app crashes. Reset your device as a last resort if problems continue.
How can I tell if Instagram is down or having a widespread outage?
Check Instagram’s status page to see if their systems are experiencing reported problems related to video playback issues. You can also visit live outage trackers like Downdetector to check for spikes in user outage reports.
Why won’t Instagram videos play when my internet is working fine?
In rare cases, even a strong internet connection may not resolve Instagram video problems. This is likely due to an account-specific issue. Try logging out and back into your Instagram account on the problematic device. Also force quit and clear the cache/data for the app itself.
PS: Find out does Instagram notify when you screenshot a post.
We hope this guide gave you a better grasp of the common issues that can prevent Instagram videos from playing as expected. The good news is that most Instagram video problems can be resolved with some basic troubleshooting steps.
Restarts, app updates, reinstalls, cache clearing, and internet connection checks will address the majority of playback issues on mobile or desktop devices. Just be diligent about systematically isolating the cause.
As a workaround for frequent video problems, downloading Instagram videos to view offline is also an option. But avoid re-posting other users’ content without permission.
Let us know if you have any lingering questions! Our goal was to provide a comprehensive set of practical solutions and explanations to help you get your Instagram videos playing again.