Instagram Says I Have a Message But I Don’t? Try These 12 Fixes

instagram says i have a message but i don't

Why Does Instagram Say I Have a Message When I Don’t

It is frustrating when you just checked messages, and there is still a notification showing a message. There can be several reasons why Instagram shows you have a message, but you are unable to see one.  Check out these suggestions to see if one could be the reason.

1. Messages Haven’t Updated the Status

It happens.  There can be a lag or delay causing the messages to show that has previously been checked.  Give it a little time and refresh.  A message might also be under a different section of your messages, such as “requests” or “general”. Make sure to check each place.

2. Your Message Hasn’t Been Seen

We are all busy, and sometimes a person may not see your message.  If that’s the case, you can always delete that particular chat or interaction, which will make the red notification disappear.

If that didn’t help, try going through the “chat conversations”. Try clicking on each conversation. Look at the last interaction and check to see if the word “seen” is there if you were the sender.

Also check to see if all of the messages you received are also marked “seen”. If you happen to notice that a person hasn’t “seen” something you sent them, it’s possible that this is what is triggering the red message notification.

In order to make the notification go away, you will probably need to delete that particular chat. This should clear up any issue with the notification reappearing.

3. You’ve Already Opened the Message

It’s possible that you recently checked this message, and there’s a bit of overlap in waiting for the notification to adjust. Take some cleansing deep breaths and refresh your browser.

Another thing you may want to check is that you have checked both the “primary” (which is the default when you open messages) and “general” in your messages. Maybe the message is hiding under “general”. Without switching over, you may have missed it.

4. How’s Your Connection

If you don’t have internet, or lost it while checking, your notification may hang around. Once you are connected again, check your notifications.  If you feel that you should have an internet connection, then you may want to disconnect and try to reestablish your connection.

5. The bummer of them all…Instagram is down.

Try checking back later! If you want to know more about issues with Instagram, you can go to the Instagram Help Page. While here, you should look at “Known Issues” to check what the issue is.

You can also consult independent status checking sites if you are unable to get to the Instagram Help Page or find your answer there. Independent status checking sites will show you recorded issues with the website you are looking into.

6. Finally, is it Possible You’ve Got a Bug?

Something outside of Instagram and your internet connection could be causing this.  It’s possible that some sort of malware is causing a problem.

Some indicators that your phone may have a bug could include rapid decline in battery life, strange apps appearing on your phone, or your phone crashes or shuts down suddenly. You can check if it is virus by using a virus scan app.

1 DM Request on Instagram But No Message to be Found

If there’s a DM request notification on Instagram but there’s no message to be found, it’s either that the request has automatically been deleted by Instagram, or there’s a bug/glitch that’s causing the notification.

DM Notification With No Message? Try These Fixes

Here are a few fixes to try to remedy a problem for a DM notification with no message:

1. Try Restarting The App

It is the running joke for tech issues “Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?” But honestly, if you haven’t restarted your app in some time, it may be beneficial to close it out and restart. Sometimes restarting the app will clear up any minor bugs that could be causing the issue.

In order to restart Instagram, exit the app. Then on your home screen, remove Instagram from the recent apps section. Turn off your device and turn it back on. Reopen Instagram to see if your direct message notification is gone.

If this addressed the issue, great! If not, continue working your way through the list of possible fixes for the ghost or phantom notifications for a direct message.

2. Use the “Unread” Filter

This feature on Instagram will help you locate any unread messages. Using the “unread” filter will help you find only the messages you have not read. Even if you believe you have read every message, the “unread” filter could find a message from the past you missed. It happens from time to time to the best of us, especially during busy times in life.

You can find this feature in your direct message list. Once you click your messages, you will see the filter located near the search bar.  Select “unread” and see if any messages appear.

This can help you find older messages that you may have missed. After you have applied the filter, you should find messages that have not been read. Be sure to tap on each message and read the content.

Be sure to fully act on these messages by deleting, declining, or accepting them. The direct message notification will no longer appear after you have completed this step.

If you use the “unread” filter, and you see “no flag messages”, then you should continue to try other fixes from the list.

3. Delete Messages Other People Haven’t Seen

If someone hasn’t checked a message you sent, it is likely that your notification is being triggered.  Delete that chat or interaction.  In order to delete the chat or message, start at your message icon in the upper right. Look through your list of messages.

If you notice one hasn’t been “seen” by another person, try deleting it. To delete, simply swipe left. You will then click delete. This may take care of the problem with the ghost or phantom message notification.

Another feature Instagram offers is the ability to turn on “vanish” mode. This allows seen messages to disappear when you close the chat. It can be accomplished by selecting the person you have sent messages to.

Swipe up and “vanish” mode will be turned on. No worries if you change your mind about this feature; you can simply swipe up again to turn off “vanish” mode. It might be worth a try to see if this is a fix for your problem of a notification but no message to be found.

4. Refresh Your Direct Messages

Another possible fix for the direct message notification but no message is to refresh your direct messages on the app. One reason you may be seeing this notification could be from message requests.

You should refresh your direct messages to see if there are any message requests you have not yet attended to.

With both some message requests and direct messages, it has been known to happen that they can be hidden. If you refresh your messages, then you may be able to see these hidden messages.

When you find these hidden messages or requests, you will have the option to allow, delete, or decline the messages. Once you have gone through this process for all of your messages, the direct message notification will disappear.

To make sure you are familiar with how to find these message requests, start at your Instagram homepage.

1. Click on the message icon in the upper right corner.

2. Be sure to pull down to refresh your direct messages. You will see two categories side by side.

3. One is “messages” and the other is “requests”.

4. Be sure to click on both when looking for unread messages.

5. Once located, you should act by either deleting, declining, or accepting these messages.

If this cleared up the issue of direct message notification but no messages, continue to check each area when you receive a notification. Clicking on both messages and requests will help clear your notifications.

Try to make sure each time you open your messages to check all places you could receive messages. This may help with missing those sneaky message requests.

5. Could it Be Your Internet Connection?

Check to make sure you are still connected to the internet.  If you have lost connectivity, you will want to check your notifications once you’ve made your way back online.

If you feel that you should have an internet connection, then you may want to disconnect and try to reestablish your connection in your mobile device settings. Another thing to check in your settings would be if Instagram is set to work with cellular data.

Without the ability to use cellular data, you can only check your Instagram if you are connected to the internet through Wifi.

6. Turn Off Notifications

It is possible that turning off your notifications may clear up the issue.  You can always turn them back on again to see if that helped.

In order to turn off your notifications, from your Instagram profile:

1. Click on the three lines in the upper right corner.

2. Select “Settings” and then “Notifications”. You have a few options from here. You can try “Pause All” to turn off your notifications completely for a time. You can also select “Messages and Calls”.

3. Once you have clicked on “Messages and Calls” you can select from ‘on’ or ‘off’ for specific types of messages.

Hopefully, after turning off notifications for a short time and turning them back on, the ghost message notifications will disappear.

7. Clear the Cache

Clearing the accumulated cache can also clear up the problem of your message notification. Since your direct message data is likely cached by Instagram, you can try to delete the cache.

Even if you have checked the message, the cache may have it listed as unread. The best solution for this is to clear Instagram’s cache. Though the idea of clearing the cache makes many people nervous, just remember that your credentials and settings will not be affected.

Some people think this is a difficult process as well, so choose to avoid doing it. There are some benefits to actually clearing your cache such as faster loading of the app, which may have you changing your tune. Don’t feel overwhelmed and give it a try.

It is essential that before you continue, you first “force close” Instagram on your mobile device.

For iOS devices, go to your iPhone settings and click on “general”. Next select “iPhone Storage” and scroll until you find Instagram on the list of apps. Tap on the “Delete App” button, which will clear the cache. Reinstall Instagram.

For Android devices, go to the “Settings” and click on “storage”. Select “Other Apps” and scroll until you find Instagram. Tap on it and to clear the cache, click the “Clear Cache” button.

After clearing the cache, the issues with the message notifications should clear up. Sometimes clearing your cache will fix an issue like loading, which may be why your notification is still there when there is no message.

An added benefit to clearing the cache is that the app tends to load faster. Temporary files are removed during the process of clearing the cache, which frees up space on your device.

8. Log Out and Log In

Although it may seem a bit cliché, you might want to try logging out and back in to Instagram to see if that will make your notification go away.  Logging out and logging back in has solved this problem for some, and it’s a simple process.

To log out and log back in from your Instagram profile, you just need to go to the top-right corner of the page to find the menu, which is represented as the three lines. Once there, select the “Settings” option. Scroll all the way down to the bottom and you will find an option to “log out” to click.

The process of logging out will also have you “force close” the Instagram app on your mobile device. From here, you just need to restart the Instagram and log into your account. Hopefully, once you have gone through the process of logging out and logging back in, your direct message notifications will have been cleared.

9. Update the App

Many people forget or don’t bother to update their apps.  Check to see if there is an update for Instagram.

There might be an issue that gets resolved when you update the app. Head over to the App store or Google Play Store to see if there are any updates needed for Instagram.

It’s best to restart your device after you have completed the updates. If an update didn’t do the fix the phantom or ghost notification, be sure to try additional ideas from the list.

10. Reinstall Instagram

It’s not convenient, but it might be necessary to delete and reinstall the app for Instagram to resolve this problem.

On an iOS device, you will need to click and hold the app to “remove app”. Then select “delete app” which will remove the app from your mobile device. Head over to the App store, search for Instagram and reinstall the app.

For Android users, you will begin this process in the Google Play Store. Find the Menu button and click on “My Apps & Games”. Once you locate Instagram, select the “Uninstall” button. Then again in the Google Play Store, locate Instagram and redownload the app.

The additional benefit to reinstalling Instagram to your mobile device is that the accumulated cache will clear. You will also be sure to have the latest update of the app when reinstalling. These two additional benefits may also fix other issues you may have while using Instagram as well.

11. Unlink Facebook

Maybe it’s not your Instagram causing the issue.  If you have a connected account, try unlinking your Facebook account.  This can be accomplished in your settings.

1. Start at your Instagram Profile while on your mobile device.

2. In the upper right corner, click on the three lines.

3. From here select “account” and then “sharing to other apps” to see your connections.

4. Once you have clicked on “sharing to other apps”, you will need to scroll down to the bottom where it says “accounts center”.

5. Next click on “accounts & profiles”, select your account. You should see that Facebook and Instagram are both listed.

6. Click on the Facebook account. You will see “remove from accounts center”.

7. This is what you should click to unlink your Facebook account from your Instagram account.

You will be able to reestablish this connection at a later time. By unlinking the accounts, hopefully, the direct message notification disappears.

12. Contact Instagram

When all else fails, reach out to see if Instagram’s gurus can help you problem solve. You can visit Instagram’s Help Center. There are options to type in the search bar to locate your topic.

There is also the ability to select from popular topics on the left side, such as “direct messaging”. Clicking on a topic will open a variety of questions you can read up on to see if they help with the problem you are experiencing.

Briley is a freelance writer and has been writing for over 10 years. The former journalist now content writer currently writes for Techzillo and focuses on consumer tech in general. His main interests include video games and consumer technology. He also writes for websites such as Lifewire, and Digital Trends. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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