Instagram Backup Codes Not Working? Try These Fixes

Instagram Backup Codes Not Working

An unfortunate but necessary worry that comes with technology is security, and with backup codes, you can further your protection. Not to mention they also offer multiple ways to sign into your accounts.

This is very helpful in the scenario of you losing your phone, and with the entropy of said codes, they ensure that they are safe against theft or cybercriminals. However, this does not mean that things cannot go wrong in the process.

While the process that includes your interaction is rather simplistic, the process itself is rather complicated, so it is relatively easy to get confused.

Why Are My Instagram Backup Codes Not Working

There are a few possible reasons why your Instagram backup codes are not working correctly. As you must be sure you are not using a code that has already been used, as this will not work.

See, when a backup code is used, it is purged from use and replaced with a new code. This is for security reasons; as mentioned before, these backup codes run by you on an entropic system.

This means that the system randomizes every single code used during the backup process, and these codes are gone for good.

The next time backup codes are requested, a new set is generated, ensuring that these codes are next to impossible to predict, as they are chaotic and without order.

This can be frustrating for the user requesting and using the backup codes, but it is also what makes them so secure and trustworthy.

1. You Registered the Wrong Phone Number

In this situation, it is possible that you may have registered the wrong phone number. It is all too easy to do this, and luckily it is a simple process to change what phone number receives the SMS text message containing the backup codes.

It is absolutely essential to make sure you do indeed have the correct phone number registered to receive the SMS text.

Fix – Make Sure You Register the Right Number

If you have registered the wrong phone number, you are lucky since this setting can be easily changed; right inside your Instagram app. Instagram has made it somewhat seem less to reach your personal settings.

Follow along step-by-step to change the phone number registered to receive the SMS text, and keep in mind that you do need to be logged in to change the number:

Step 1. Firstly, start by opening the Instagram app.

Step 2. Locate your profile icon at the bottom left corner of your screen and select it.

Step 3. Tap on the three horizontal lines in the top right, then select the settings option.

Step 4. If two-factor authentication is already on, tap next to a Text message. Step 5. Instead of entering a code, tap Change phone number below Next.

Step 6. Enter the new phone number you’d like to use, then tap Next.

Step 7. You’ll be sent a text message (SMS) to the new phone number with a 6-digit security code. Enter the code in the Instagram app, then tap Next.

Step 8. You’ll see a list of recovery codes. Tap Done to complete the two-factor authentication process.

This is how you can change your registered phone number to receive the SMS text message containing the recovery codes (recovery codes.) In this case, if you have registered the wrong phone number.

2. Your Phone Number Can’t Receive a Text Message

Text messaging is a daily service that almost everyone engages with in one form or another. The keyword being “daily,” we use this all of the time for contacting friends, family, work, and even school.

Yet, it can still be easy to forget that if not for a few key “components,” SMS text messaging would not even work. These components are critical to consider whether you are questioning or believe that your phone is not receiving text messages.

This could be from not having decent service, no service, or maybe you let that phone bill slip somehow; all of these can stop your phone from receiving text messages.

If the phone number you registered is not receiving SMS text, you can utilize an SMS messenger app or website on your PC. There are many apps that will allow you to send and receive SMS texts on your PC.

Here is a list of just a few good SMS send/receive messenger apps for PC.


The SMS text messaging app AirDrop is a well-known SMS texting application (app.) With this app, you will be able to both send and receive SMS text messages in a smooth and quick process.

AirDrop is relatively simple to set up on your PC. Not to mention, it offers many useful features such as backup and syncing, file transferring, and contact management. With AirDrop, you will be given the ability to record screenshots directly from your PC.

It is indeed a mighty app and is also capable of some incredible things when you think about it. There is a premium option with the AirDrop app, offering even more features such as transferring entire folders and the ability to send larger files.

Also, with the premium version, you can transfer an infinite amount of files and much more. All of this is available on the premium version of AirDrop, and all of this is at a price that will not break the bank.


The Join app is the new kid at school in regards to an SMS text messaging app for your PC. Join is typical in the sense of installation, as you will need to install the application (app) on your phone, and after, you will want to install the app extension on your browser.

Afterward, you will gain the ability to carry out processes in your browser rather than on your mobile device.

To add to the remarkable features, including sending and receiving texts and SMS texts as well, you can even access Google Assistant and trade clipboards between most devices.

Not to mention, the Join app will also show you notifications; you can take screenshots, change and input your very own wallpaper, send files, and even access Tasker.

Do not forget, you could even share your location, even with being new to the scene; the Join app is setting the bar by being one of the very few SMS text messaging apps that will only have you pay once, of course, after the 30 day trial period.

Microsoft Your Phone

The Microsoft Your Phone app will only work correctly for Microsoft Windows and Android phones; since it is a companion app. Much like the other apps listed, you will need to install the PC version and then also install it on your phone; this will ensure that it actually works properly.

The Microsoft Your Phone app will allow you to see your notifications, your camera roll, and of course, text messages, all on your PC. To add to the features, on the new versions of the app, you will gain the ability to mirror your screen and even launch phone calls.

It is a well-functioning app that boasts some excellent features; with that said, the app’s connectivity can occasionally leave some improvement to be desired. It is important to note that this SMS text messaging app is absolutely free for use.


This SMS text messaging app, functioning under the name of MightyText, tends to attract a lot of attention, which is understandable with the name.

MightyText will give you the basics, such as sending and receiving MMS texts, sending and receiving SMS texts, and the ability to see your notifications; not to mention, it will even notify you with an alert when you are running low on battery.

With the free version of MightyText, you can send a generous amount of 250 texts in the span of a month.

If you purchase the MightyText Pro version, the text limit will be lifted, and you will be provided with more features; one is the ability to view live notifications; you can get MightyText Pro for $6.99 a month.

While it is not the most affordable PC SMS text messaging app, it is quite a stable app.


The mysms SMS text messaging app may not be as popular as some of these other apps; however, this does not make it any the lesser. You, of course, will be provided the ability to send and receive SMS text messages on your PC.

This app stands out in the crowd since you are not required to set up a browser extension to ensure it works properly. The mysms app offers up its service to iOS, Microsoft Windows, Android, macOS, and iPad.

Also, if you consider it to be necessary, there is a Chrome browser extension. The original free version will allow you to send and receive SMS texts on your PC, though if you opt for the mysms Pro version, you will be gifted many more features.

The cost of the mysms Pro subscription ($9.99 a year) is probably the most affordable out of all of these apps, excluding the free ones. The mysms SMS text messaging app for PC is highly recommended.

These are just a few of the many SMS messenger apps for PC. These are a great option when your phone does not receive SMS text messages. In the following, will be even more fixes for this problem.

Fix – Get Signal

As I’m sure you have experienced, there are areas where you can have excellent service, then others where you have weak or no service. This could be the issue that is causing your phone not to receive SMS texts.

It is most likely that you have no service, seeing as SMS text messages require only a minimal amount of service to carry through. SMS text messages are the most standard form of text; this is also why SMS texts are usually kept short.

Suppose you swipe down your notifications bar and look where your service bars are displayed.

If it says “No Service,” you have no service and should move to an area where the signal is better.

Fix 2 – Pay Your Phone Bill

When paying bills, with so many to be paid, it is easy to let one slip through the cracks. This could be the issue causing your phone to not receive SMS texts, as having service is essential to receiving any kind of text message.

Also, if you use a prepaid service such as “Straight Talk,” where you may pay for a service card every month; even with “end date” warnings, it is easy to forget to purchase a service card.

It is also possible that you may have signed up for the “Auto Refill” feature, where the money is automatically withdrawn from your bank account every month, and in turn, you get another month of service.

In this scenario, it is possible that something could have gone wrong in the process, which can be resolved by contacting your carrier and or bank.

If you believe that you may have missed paying your phone bill, then the solution is simple: pay the bill, and you will get your service back.

Fix 3 – Contact Your Carrier

Suppose you have exhausted all of the other possible issues that can cause your phone not to receive SMS texts. It could be time to contact your carrier.

Not only will they be able to let you know if you have missed a payment, but they can also help you with diagnosing the problem.

If you use a carrier provider such as Verizon, you can easily reach them at this help center number: (1-800-837-4966 for the US and Canada)

Where they can answer any questions, you may have and provide assistance.

If you use a prepaid service like Straight Talk, you can easily text them about the problem at the simplistic number of:

( 611611 )

You can also reach them at the following phone number: ( 1 877-430-2355 )

Note: These numbers are for the US and Canada.

If you use neither of these carrier providers, you can easily find the help phone number for your provider by entering the name of your service provider into your browser’s search bar.

3. You Registered Another Type of Two-Factor Authentication That Doesn’t Involve Receiving a Code

Suppose you have indeed used a two-factor authentication service provided by an application (app) such as WhatsApp or Google authenticator.

You will not receive a code; instead, Google sends a text message to the phone on which you installed the app that includes a 6-8 digit verification code.

It is unnecessary to seek out this code since Google Authenticator automatically sends it to the Instagram application (app.)

If you have already linked the Instagram app to the authenticator, then you will simply go to sign in, starting by entering your username, then enter the 6-8 digit code provided by the authentication app.

4. Phone Access Permission Isn’t Allowed for Instagram

It is very possible that you have not given Instagram permission to carry out this TFA (Two-Factor Authentication); however, permission must be given in order to proceed.

You will need to change your permission settings for the Instagram app in your phone’s settings. In order to change your app permission settings. You can easily follow these steps for the model of your device.

Fix – Allow Phone Permissions for Instagram

If you believe you have not given the proper permissions for the Instagram app, you will need to change the permissions settings for the Instagram app. This is a relatively simple task that can be achieved.

We will take it step-by-step, which could be the answer to getting the TFA to work correctly.

To change app permission settings:

If you are on an Android device, you can change the Instagram permission settings by:

Step 1. On your Android phone, move to your Settings app and open it.

Step 2. Select the Apps option.

Step 3. Confirm the app that you change the permission settings of (in this case, Instagram); if you are unable to find it, tap on the “See All Apps” option.

Step 4. Select the “Permissions” option; any of the permissions you have given or not, they will be here.

Step 5. In order to switch the permission setting for the app, select it and then choose “Accept” or “Deny.”

This will give the permissions necessary for TFA.

If you are on iPhone, you can also change the app permission settings by following these steps:

Step 1. From the home screen of your iPhone, find and open the Settings app.

Step 2. Confirm the “Privacy” option.

Step 3. Select an app (in this case, Instagram) in order to see what permission access the app has.

Step 4. Slide the switch beside each of the apps to deny or allow access for the said app.

This will allow you to change the permissions given to the Instagram app so that you can use the TFA code.

5. There’s A Bug on Your Phone

There is also a very good possibility that your phone may have a bug; while we do not mean an insect, the process of getting rid of said bug is more complicated than simply removing an insect.

If you are unfamiliar with what a bug exactly is, here is a quick summarization: A bug refers to an error, fault, or flaw in any computer program or hardware system.

A bug produces unexpected results or causes a system to behave unexpectedly. In short, it is any behavior or outcome that a program or system gets, but it was not designed to do.

Fix – Clear Instagram Cache

One viable option for getting rid of a bug that could be held in the app cache for the Instagram app is to clear the app cache.

In the simplest of terms, an app cache is information and data that can also take the name of “memory,” this memory is stored and used to enhance and improve the application’s performance.

In turn, giving you a more personalized experience with the app since it draws upon this memory to provide a more accurate process of how you use said app.

The irony is that the app cache can hold the bug in its memory; therefore, the bug is reintroduced and causes the problem over again.

This is why it is critical to clear the app cache for all of your apps that gather it.

You can clear the app cache for Instagram on your iPhone by following these steps:

Step 1. Begin at your iPhone home screen, then navigate to and open your Settings app.

Step 2. Swipe down and select the app (in this case, Instagram) to clear the app cache of said app.

Step 3. To delete (clear) the cache, turn on “Clear App Cache On Next Launch.” This will clear the app cache for the Instagram app on iPhone.

If you are using an Android device, you can follow these steps to clear the app cache:

Step 1. From the home screen, proceed to and open the Settings app.

Step 2. Locate and select the “Other Apps” category.

Step 3. Find the app you wish to clear the app cache of (in this case Instagram) and tap on it.

Step 4. Select the “Clear Cache” option.

This will clear the app cache for Instagram on your Android device.

Fix 2 – Request the Code From Rather Than From the App

A good way around the bug issue is to use the website rather than the app. You may think they are one and the same; however, there is a noticeable difference, especially in how your requests are processed. This can make the difference when attempting a TFA

(Two-Factor Authentication.) An app, or software application, isn’t directly accessible on the internet. Instead, it must be downloaded on a smartphone or tablet.

Mobile websites are responsive sites that automatically scale to fit the screen size of your viewer’s device. With that said, you can see how this could make a difference.

Now, if you are using an iPhone or Android, you will want to open your browser app, be it Chrome, Safari, or other. Then, enter into the search bar the website address. This will take you to the website.

After, you can log into your account (if need be). Tap on your profile picture in the bottom right to go to your profile.

Tap in the top right, then tap “Settings.” Tap “Security,” then tap Two-Factor authentication. If you haven’t already turned two-factor authentication on, tap “Get started” (if need be.)

This will allow you to request the TFA code from the Instagram website.

Fix 3 – Force Restart Your Phone

When experiencing this bug problem, an excellent way to help the issue is to perform a force restart. You may be wondering, “What is the difference between a regular restart and performing a force restart?”

The difference is that when you do a regular restart, the power to your phone is gradually powered down; then, the power is steadily powered back on. Whereas with the force restart, the power is manually cut off, and then the power is manually powered back on.

Performing a force restart on iPhone:

Press and quickly release the volume up button, press and quickly release the volume down button, then press and hold the side button. When the Apple logo appears, release the button.

Performing a force restart on Android:

Simultaneously press and hold the power button and volume down keys for more than seven seconds.

This is how you perform a force restart on your phone and could definitely help ridding the bug.

Fix 4 – Update Your Phone

An excellent way to banish a bug from your phone is to update it. Updates are significant to keeping your phone running properly and efficiently; these updates also bring new features, new software, and hardware.

Many of these updates are released with common and reported problems in mind and are usually the update’s main focus, along with security updates. With that said, you should keep updating your phone and apps.

If you are using your iPhone, follow these simple steps to update your device:

Step 1. Plug your device into power and connect to the internet with Wi-Fi.

Step 2. Go to Settings, then proceed to “General,” then tap Software Update. If you see two software update options available, choose the one that you want to install. Tap “Install Now.”

This will update your iPhone and can undoubtedly rid your device of the bug causing difficulties.

If you are using your Android device, follow these steps to update it:

Step 1. Open your phone’s Settings app.

Step 2. Near the bottom, tap System. System update.

Step 3. You’ll see your update status. Follow any steps on the screen. This will update your Android device and eliminate that annoying bug.

6. Instagram is Down

Websites and applications (apps) use servers to receive requests and also hold and store their user’s information and data.

Instagram is no different in this regard; therefore, it is not only possible but likely for these servers to go down from time to time.

This can be for errors with the server or simply for routine maintenance. This can be annoying and frustrating, though luckily, it should not last long.

Fix – Wait For Instagram to Go Back Up

A server can go down for many reasons. Maybe a physical machine loses power, or perhaps the operating system or network card experiences an issue. Many variables can cause failure.

When a server(s) goes down, so does the site and app that it serves; hence, why you cannot access the app or website. There is not much you can do in this situation besides waiting it out.

Luckily, when a server(s) goes down, it is usually not for long, averaging around a couple of minutes. In some extreme cases, it can be up to 30 minutes; however, this scenario is improbable.

With that said, all you can really do is wait until the server(s) is resolved. Once it has been resolved, you will be free to carry on. So, some patience can really pay off in this situation.

Using Two-Factor Authentication is a secure way to sign in without passwords and can be very useful.

With that stated, it is not invulnerable to something going wrong in the process; however, this is just a problem, and a problem (especially with technology) is a temporary issue that can and will be fixed.

So, with a bit of patience and persistence, you can figure it out even if it takes a bit of research. The research can only offer your more knowledge and tech know-how, which only benefits you and your devices in the future, so embrace the issue and solve it.

Remember to keep your device and apps updated, seeing as these updates are essential to keeping your apps and device running efficiently and correctly.

These updates are released for a reason, typically being common problems, reported issues, and security upgrades.

So, remember updates can only benefit you and how well your device and apps perform. Keep up on them, as they do what the title says; they keep your apps and device up to date.

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.


  1. What do you do when you have already set up two-factor authentication, are then logged out of Instagram, and then when you request a 6-digit backup code you do not receive the code for the two-factor authentication when trying to log back in? I did get a new phone in January. I do not remember which two-factor authentication app I used when I set up Instagram in 2017. I can get the password reset to work, but I can’t reset it because it’s asking for a two-factor authentication 6 digit password!


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