Why Can’t I Reply to Stories on Instagram?

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Can't Reply to Instagram Story

Instagram is a social networking site that allows you to upload photos and videos so that your followers can interact by liking and commenting on your posts. Your news feed is a makeup of who you’ve followed, and you’re probably hooked to Instagram because you like the type of content that comes up on your feed.

Instagram primarily only allowed you to post pictures to your profile before they started to introduce videos. The was an innovation for the app and it allowed people to upload 15-second videos and add filters to them.

Snapchat, another competitor introduced a story feature that allowed people to upload videos and photos of their lives in the moment. Instagram copied this feature and the app become more popular than ever and this feature was more popular than the one on Snapchat. After a while, users were allowed to reply to stories that others have uploaded.

Can’t Reply to Stories on Instagram

If you’ve just viewed a story and you’re unable to reply to it, then there are a few reasons why this can be. The first reason is that the user has disabled replies to their stories entirely. This means no one is able to swipe up and reply to their story. They could have also enabled the option to only allow replies from people they follow. If they don’t follow you, then this could be why you can’t reply.

If you want to message them about the story but you’re unable to, then you can just DM them normally about what you wanted to say. All the reply to stories feature does is send a DM to them anyway, but with the story above the message.

allow message replies

You can do this yourself by going to Settings > Privacy > Story > In allow message replies, you can select either Everyone, People you follow or off.

Why Can’t I Reply to Stories on Instagram?

A bar that reads “Send message” appears at the bottom of your screen when browsing a story. Click on this bar to send a message. Sending an email is as simple as clicking this bar and typing your message, clicking the camera symbol next to it to pick an image, and then clicking send. When you may fail to reply to an Instagram story it’s because,

They Have Disabled Replies to Their Story

With the default configuration, anyone who follows you is able to react to your Instagram stories. However, if they have a large number of followers, this may not be the best option for them because they will likely receive a large number of messages in their inbox after they post a story. It doesn’t matter if they don’t want people to respond to their Instagram stories in general or if people are too negative. To avoid their direct messages being flooded with replies to the stories they post, most Instagram users will disable replies to their stories.

They Only Allow Replies From People They Follow

While social media is a beautiful platform for everyone to express themselves, it can also be quite toxic at times. When this occurs, people take control of the situation and ensure that they only allow replies from people they know. To prevent everyone from replies on their stories, they may configure it so that only people they follow can reply to them. It is the route that many users are taking to avoid strangers replying to their Instagram content. If you fail to reply to a story, it could be because the person does not follow you.

Instead of completely turning off replies, they may limit them for a certain period. It is a handy short-term tool to have on hand. This can be done in settings. If you want to do this, go to your Instagram profile and press the three horizontal lines in the upper right corner to set a restriction on who can reply. Then select Settings from the drop-down menu. Then select Privacy from the drop-down menu. Choose Limits from the drop-down menu. Instagram’s limitations page allows you to temporarily restrict the amount of time you may spend responding to undesirable comments and messages. You can limit access to accounts that you aren’t following, aren’t following you, as well as those who have only recently started following you.

They’ve Deleted the Story

If they have a private Instagram account, the only people who can see their stories are those who follow them. If they do not, anybody can see their stories; however, if they delete a story, it’ll prevent you from viewing it unless it is in their highlights. This means that you can view their story if it has been deleted but remains in their highlights. If you try to swipe up and respond to the story, the reply won’t send because it is deleted. If you usually watch stories from a person’s highlights, try to view them from their profiles, and if the story is not there and got posted less than twenty-four hours ago, it’s been deleted, which is why you can’t reply to it.

It’s An Ad

As you scroll through Instagram, you will come across story ads, and unfortunately, you can’t swipe up and reply on story ads. Instagram Story ads are vertical advertisements that may get displayed on the Instagram Stories feature. Unlike other Instagram Stories, Instagram Story advertising does not expire after 24 hours; instead, people can choose the length of the campaign and how frequently ads show. An Instagram Story ad is seamlessly integrated into a user’s Stories watching experience by the platform. Furthermore, you don’t need to follow a page to view ads from their company, if it’s targeted at you, you’ll see it.

It’s a Suggested For You Story

Instagram has recommended Stories that you will come across as you browse through your field. This feature increases Stories engagement and introduces you to new accounts to follow. When you search on Instagram, the app attempts to assist you by providing recommended queries. These recommendations are based on the users you currently follow, other recent searches you’ve conducted, and subjects Instagram believes you’ll be interested in, among other factors. Instagram frequently recommends stories from people with whom you have many mutual friends. Suppose you and someone have a large number of common friends, the likelihood that they will appear in your list of suggested stories increases. Unfortunately, you can’t swipe up and reply to recommended stories, so you need to follow the person to respond.

You Have No Internet

When using Instagram, you may see a notification stating that there is no internet connection every time you try and do something on the app. Posts and comments may still appear to be correctly loading when you receive the message in some situations, and you may even miss the notification that you have lost your internet connection. When you have no internet, your replies to stories won’t send.

The loading screen for stories is represented by a spinning circle which is why some people have difficulty seeing that they have no internet connection. Stories may take a little time to load when you have no internet connection, in which case you will see the circle for a more extended time. Toggle between Wi-Fi and your cellular data network to see if the problem will get fixed. If it’s not, you can restart your phone or put it on airplane mode to reboot your network. Once your internet connection is restored, you should reply to the Instagram story.

You May Have Been Blocked

If you’ve tried to reply to their story a number of times but it’s not sending, chances are you’ve been blocked. When someone has blocked you, they won’t be able to receive messages from your reply isn’t sending to them. If they blocked you as you were watching their story, or while you were on the app, the app won’t have refreshed which is why you’re still able to swipe up and reply but the reply won’t send since you can’t message an account that’s blocked you. To check if you’ve been blocked, you need to visit their profile to see if any of their posts are displaying. If not, you’ve been blocked. If you can, then there’s another reason why you’re unable to reply to their story.

Have You Retried Sending The Message?

Sometimes when you can’t respond to messages on Instagram and they fail to send, you have the option to retry sending the message again. When you retry it, it should send into the chat that you wanted. However, sometimes when you try to send the reply again, you get an error telling you that the message didn’t send.

The only options available when you still can’t respond is to delete the message. From here, you can find the story that you wanted to respond to and send it again.

Wait for The Server to Come Back Up

Instagram issue reports

The last reason as to why you can’t respond to peoples stories is because the servers Instagram used to host the Instagram app is down and this allows you to send and receive messages. When the servers are down in your specific location, it means that people near you can’t send and receive messages as well.

Sometimes when the server goes down, it means that it couldn’t handle or respond to the IP request that it was receiving. Other times when it goes down, Instagram is doing routine maintenance on the app.

When the server can’t handle all the request, it could be due to too many people using Instagram at once which means that they’ll have to upgrade to a server that can handle the requests. It could also be due to the server losing power.

This means that they’ll have to get the server back up and running. This can take a few hours, so you’ll have to wait for the servers to come back up. If you know people that are having issues with Instagram the same time as you, this is how you know that there’s an issue with the Instagram server.

Check if Instagram is down

There’s a website called downdetector that allows you to see when Instagram is having an issue with their server.

All you have to do is search, ‘is Instagram down?’.

Is Instagram down

It tells you when there’s a surge in the amount of complaints people are making in regards to Instagram not working properly.

If you see that the live outrage is concentrated around your location, it looks like you’ll have to wait for the server to come back up again.

The Takeaway

The Instagram story is a feature that is widely used on Instagram. Anyone who uses the Instagram app will be able to see what you’re up to and reply to your story. However, you have the option of making your account private. Before anybody can reply to your story, they must first request to follow you on Instagram. You may establish a “close friends list,” which restricts the audience for your Stories to a specific set of people of your choosing. 

Go to the same menu as before and hit the number shown under Close Friends > Create close friends list to create a close friends list. Choose the people you want to be a part of your close friend group > Once again, hit Close Friends at the bottom of the Story post to limit the story’s audience to the people on your new list. 

You can also restrict people from sharing your story if you have a public account to stop it from getting unwanted replies. Access your profile by clicking on its icon in the lower right corner > Select Settings > Privacy > Story from the drop-down menu at the top of the page. Under Sharing, turn off the toggles for “Allow sharing to story” and “Allow sharing to messages” under “Allow sharing to story.”

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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