8 ways to fix “I Can’t Reply To Messages On Instagram”

Instagram’s messaging feature is used for direct communication between users. This, like other Instagram features, may at times not function as expected or desired. 

So, if you are having trouble replying to messages on Instagram, it should be one of those malfunctions. 

Some of the reasons you may not be able to reply to messages on Instagram include connection problems, outdated app version, account settings, limitations in feature availability, or bugs and glitches. 

To solve these, you can update your Instagram app, check your internet connection, clear your cache, or adjust your app settings. 

This article addresses your questions regarding why you are unable to respond to messages and how to resolve the problem. 

Why you can’t reply to messages on Instagram

Before we solve the ‘I can’t reply to messages on Instagram’ problem, it is important to understand why in the first place. Here is a list of possible causes of this problem. 

Privacy settings

Instagram values users’ privacy and safe enjoyment. Because of this, it allows users to set private accounts and restrict engagement. 

So, if yours is a private account, you will not be able to reply to posts or send messages to some users. 

But also, if the user you are trying to reach has privacy settings that restrict engagement with your account, then you will not be able to follow them, and consequently, you can’t reach them directly through messages until they permit you. 

Vanish mode

Instagram has gone further to introduce the vanish mode as another privacy and safety feature that allows users to send messages that will vanish after a short period. 

These messages disappear with the end/closure of the conversation. So if a message is sent through vanish mode, it will disappear the moment the chat is closed, making it impossible for you to reply to it. 

Internet connectivity 

Instagram, like other social media platforms, works with an internet connection. A weak or no internet connection – whether from wifi or mobile data will interfere with the normal functioning of features, including direct messages. 

Old data/cache

If your app or phone storage is clogged with junk data, this may affect the functioning of some Instagram features. 

It may be because of this that you are unable to send or reply to messages on Instagram 

Bugs or temporary glitches 

Instagram may sometimes experience glitches or bugs in the application. These can affect the normal functioning of features if not handled. 

Outdated application 

When you are using an outdated Instagram app, it can hinder the proper and expected performance and function of some Instagram features. This includes direct messaging among other features that may not function well. 

Server problems

Instagram’s servers may be down, which means you cannot use some features on the app, and sometimes you may not be able to launch the app. 

So, the ‘I can’t reply to messages on Instagram’ issue may be because of server downtime. 

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this, if it is a server issue, you have no option other than waiting for Instagram to solve the server problem. 

Availability limitations

Instagram limits the availability of some features to specific regions. These range from Notes and Stories to Messaging and more. If the reply-to-message feature is not available in your region, then you cannot respond to messages on Instagram. 

How to fix the “I can’t reply to messages on Instagram” problem

Hopefully, you have figured out the cause of your ‘I can’t reply to messages on Instagram’ issue, but even if you can’t put a finger on it, there are some simple solutions to help you get through this problem. 

You can try the following solutions, a combination, or one of them may help you recover the proper function of your messaging feature. 

1. Check and adjust your account’s privacy settings. 

If your account is set to Private, you can change it to Public. 

You can do this in your Instagram Settings

Tap on your profile picture at the bottom right corner to go to your Instagram page

Tap on the three-line icon (☰) in the top right corner then tap on Settings and privacy

Scroll down to the ‘Who can see your content’ category and select Account privacy. 

Here you can adjust your settings. 

Instagram Settings and Privacy
Instagram Account privacy

You can also check your messaging permissions in the next category, just scroll down in settings and privacy to select Messages and story replies. 

Instagram Settings and Privacy

If the issue is with the account or profile settings of the intended recipient, then you may have to wait until they accept your Follow request and permit you.

2. Deal with vanishing messages

In the case of vanishing messages, you will simply need to reply immediately to vanishing messages as soon as they appear, before closing the conversation. 

3. Check internet connectivity and stability 

Check that your wifi is on and connected, or that the mobile data is functioning properly. 

You may have to refresh your internet source by turning it off and on again. Or even switch between wifi and mobile data if possible. 

4. Basic troubleshooting

Simply logging out and back into your Instagram account can help do away with glitches and solve bug problems. 

To log out of your account; 

Go to Settings by tapping on the profile picture at the bottom right corner, then the three-line icon in the top right corner of your profile page. 

Scroll down and tap log out (your account)

Instagram Settings and Privacy

You can also simply close and reopen the app to help clear glitches and bugs.

Another simple step you can take is to restart the device. Restarting your phone or tablet can sometimes miraculously sort application issues. 

5. Update your Instagram app

You need to make sure that you are using the latest Instagram app version. 

To do this; 

Visit your app store or Play Store on your phone or tablet, search for Instagram, and tap on it.

If you see a prompt to Update, tap on it and Instagram will install updates.

Update Instagram

If this doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to do much more and clear some old data. See next step

6. Clear cache

You can clear the cache by going to your device’s Settings; go to apps or Apps and notifications, find the Instagram app and Clear the cache

Or you can do a thorough data cleanup by following these steps; 

First, log out of your Instagram account(s) then uninstall and reinstall the app. This will give you a fresh and clean start. 

Sign back in and check if you can reply to messages.

7. Use a VPN 

Using a Virtual Private Network can help you choose a location that allows the functionality of features that may otherwise be limited for your actual location. 

This therefore can help you deal with not being able to reply to messages on Instagram if it is a result of availability limitations. 

8. Contact support center

Lastly, if this issue persists, you can report it to Instagram’s support center through your app. 

To do this; 

Open the Instagram app and go to Settings and Privacy, scroll down to Help then select Report a Problem or Help Center. Follow the prompts to raise the issue to Instagram for help. 


How can I reply to a specific message on Instagram? 

To reply to a specific message on Instagram, follow the following steps

  1. Open the chat with the message you wish to reply to 
  2. Get the reply option by tapping and holding the message you want to reply to 
  3. Type your reply in the box 
  4. Then hit the send option

How can I reply with an emoji on Instagram? 

Replying with emoji on Instagram is not as complicated as it may sound, here is how to do it. 

Go to the message you would like to reply to. At the bottom of the page is a reply or message bar, with icons (record, picture, and sticker).

Instagram Message
Instagram Message reply

Tap in the bar to access the keyboard. Now you can tap on the emoji icon, this is the smiley face on your keyboard. 

Next is to navigate and find your preferred emoji to reply to the message. 


What does it mean if my Instagram messages delete? 

If you notice that messages have disappeared on Instagram, it is a sign that the user from whom the messages were coming may have deleted (unsent) them, or has blocked you. 

Same way, if you block a user, your past conversations with the blocked user will be deleted. 


From Instagram glitches to a poor internet connection, outdated app versions, Instagram availability limitations, app settings and so much more. The Instagram messaging feature can be affected, limiting its proper functionality, and interfering with users’ smooth enjoyment. 

Well, the good news is that something can be done to fix the problem. So if you have the same challenge, try the above solutions and restore a smooth, safe, and enjoyable Instagram experience. 

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Gloria Is an academician in the social sciences with more than five (5) years of lecturing. She has a passion for research and writing and has written a number of articles about social media. She loves journaling and poetry.

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