Why is Instagram Turning Videos Sideways?

Why is Instagram Turning Videos Sideways?

Instagram is one of the most widely used forms of social media in the world. With millions of users across the globe, it has quickly become a hub for creativity. Content creators have filled the app with tons of video content for users to enjoy. This amount of creative freedom afforded to its users by Instagram has helped to grow the app into something more than just a typical social media platform.

There is no doubt that if you use Instagram, you have found yourself watching endless streams of videos created by other users. Some of these videos are educational or just for fun. Your Instagram algorithm can target your interests and automatically suggests videos they think are relevant to you, or that you would enjoy.

When you upload videos to your Instagram story, it goes through a process and this can affect the way it turns out. For example, your videos could turn out blurry, a green line could appear on the side of they, they may not even post, or Instagram could turn it sideways.

If you find that you are watching Instagram videos on your phone and some are turned sideways, you might be wondering why that is. There are a few different reasons this might be occurring. This detailed guide will cover the common causes of Instagram videos turning sideways and also ways to fix and prevent any related problems.

Why is Instagram Turning Videos Sideways?

There are a few common causes of Instagram videos turning sideways. Most of the time is it not due to an error, but is a normal function of Instagram, depending on the type of video being watched. The most common reasons for sideways videos on Instagram are listed below:

1. Instagram Has Rotated the Video So It Fits the Whole Screen

The aspect ratio that the video was uploaded can affect the way that it is displayed when viewed on Instagram. Simply put, the aspect ratio is a representation of an image or video’s height and width. How Instagram chooses to display a video will largely depend on which aspect ratio was chosen.

If Instagram detects that your video would fill the screen better at a 16:9 ratio, it will flip the video sideways so that it takes up the whole screen, displaying the wider area reflected in the video. This is meant to be a quality-of-life feature, ensuring that you are always viewing videos with the best display and resolution settings.

Unfortunately for content creators on Instagram, this can lead to their videos not displaying as intended if the proper aspect ratio is not maintained upon upload. It is good practice for any content creator planning to upload videos to Instagram to only film in a 16:9 ratio, as that is the preferred aspect ratio on the app.

2. The Video Was Recorded with a Resolution Greater than 1280×720

If the video you are watching has been recorded with a resolution higher than 1280×720, then it could be caused to display sideways, to compensate for the higher resolution. Your resolution affects how clear your image is displayed, with higher resolutions displaying videos with far more clarity.

If Instagram detects that the video you are watching was recorded using a less than optimal resolution, it will try and correct this by displaying videos sideways. Instagram uses the aspect ratio and resolution to determine the best way to display a video to its users.

3. The Video Has Been Uploaded from A Third-Party App

There are several different Instagram video editing apps on the market. Users will often use third-party apps to enhance their videos before uploading them to Instagram.

Some of these applications offer features that allow you to upload straight to Instagram from the app, enabling them to handle all of their video uploads in one place.

This can be a useful feature for users who edit and post a lot of videos to Instagram but can sometimes affect the way Instagram displays the video, causing it to appear sideways. The use of third-party applications with Instagram is generally not advised.

Any application that is not officially licensed for use with Instagram is liable to cause you problems sometime in the future.

iMovie is one of the most popular Instagram video editing apps. Users have reported videos displaying sideways when uploading straight from the app to Instagram.

4. You Have Encountered a Bug While Viewing Videos on Instagram

If you encounter a video on Instagram that appears as sideways only on your phone, then you might have encountered a temporary bug. All applications are prone to bugs or glitches. Some of these bugs could potentially cause your videos to not display as intended.

If you believe a video that you are viewing is being displayed incorrectly, check on another device and see if the problem persists. If it clears up on its own, then you most likely just encountered some sort of glitch, and no further action is required.

5. Your Instagram App Needs an Update

Some video display issues, like videos being turned sideways automatically, can be caused by an outdated version of the Instagram app. Instagram releases regular updates to ensure the proper functionality of the app.

If you start encountering errors while using the Instagram app, check for an update. If you have one available for download, then your errors are most likely caused by out-of-date software.

6. Your Phone Needs an Update

Much like the Instagram app itself, your phone depends on regular updates to ensure that it can work properly. If your phone falls behind on updates, you could run into problems with your phone’s landscape orientation settings, which affect the display of pictures and videos.

Since Instagram depends on these settings to function, you could run into problems using the app to view videos if your phone has not been updated properly. Always be on the lookout for regular updates to your phone.

How To Fix Instagram Turning Videos Sideways

Now that you are aware of some of the common causes of Instagram videos turning sideways, you can start to troubleshoot your issue using a few simple methods. There are several proven remedies to the problem of Instagram turning videos sideways. The most common are listed below:

1. Turn Your Camera Sideways When Recording

When recording a video on your phone, it will use the orientation of your device to determine how the image will be displayed. Consider the way a video is displayed on a standard television.

The image is displayed on a screen that is typically longer than is tall. Videos on your iPhone worked best when recorded similarly.

Recording with your phone held vertically will produce a video with its width compressed, causing a loss of resolution. Instagram will try and compensate for this by turning your video sideways when viewed on the app.

To avoid this, you should always turn your phone horizontally to record any videos that you wish to upload to Instagram. Recording with the right orientation can help ensure that your video displays correctly when viewed on the app.

2. Make Sure Your Video Is Set to Record at A Resolution Lower Than 1280×720

If you have your resolution set too high, then Instagram will have trouble determining the proper way to display your video when viewed on the app. You can set your video resolution settings in the camera app on your phone.

Instagram prefers a resolution of 1280×720 for an optimal display. If you are a content creator planning on uploading your videos to the app, consider setting your video recording resolution to 1280×720 to avoid any potential issues.

3. Uploaded Your Video Directly to Instagram, Instead of Through a Third-Party App

Many content creators use third-party apps like iMovie to edit and enhance their videos before putting them on Instagram. Users of these apps can often bypass using Instagram’s official upload feature, opting to use the one built into the app instead.

When you upload a video this way, you run the risk of potential display issues once your video is processed on Instagram.

To play it safe, you should avoid using third-party applications to upload your videos to Instagram. The use of third-party apps enhances your risk of display issues, like Instagram turning your videos sideways.

4. Crop Your Video to 1:1 Ratio on Instagram Before Uploading It

If you crop your video to 1:1 before uploading it to Instagram, the app will automatically upscale the video to the optimal display size, resolution, and orientation.

This is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your video displays properly, as all of the guesswork will be taken care of by the app.

5. Use Another Phone to Film On

If you believe the root of your Instagram video turning sideways issue stems from your phone instead of the app itself, then you should consider filming your video on another phone to see if that solves your issue.

If the video recorded on another phone displays correctly, there could likely be some sort of underlying issue with your phone’s orientation settings.

6. Log Out and Back In

If you are using Instagram to watch videos and believe that they are being displayed incorrectly, then you could try logging out and back in to see if that solves your issue. Sometimes this can help resolve any hang-ups the app might be experiencing.

7. Check For Any Updates

Some video display errors when using the Instagram app can be caused by outdated software. Should you find that you have recently started to see videos displayed sideways on Instagram, your phone or Instagram app could need an update.

Both your phone and the Instagram app should be kept up to date with the latest software to ensure that they continue to function properly. If you find that you have an update available for download, apply it and your issues should be resolved.

8. Restart the Instagram App

A restart of the Instagram app can help solve any run-time errors that it might have encountered. These types of errors can lead to videos being displayed incorrectly. Restarting the app will give Instagram a chance to consolidate any potential errors and start over with a clean slate.

9. Reinstall the Instagram App

If you are having persistent issues with the Instagram app displaying videos incorrectly, then you might have to do a full reinstall of the app to regain proper function.

A fresh reinstall will replace any potentially corrupt or fragmented files associated with the app that could potentially cause errors.

This is a good troubleshooting option for many different types of errors you could encounter when using the Instagram app, including videos turning sideways.

10. Contact Instagram

If you have exhausted this list of troubleshooting methods regarding Instagram turning videos sideways, then your next plan of action could be to contact Instagram technical support and have them investigate your problem

To report a problem on Instagram, simply open the setting menu in the app and tap into the Help and Support tab. From there you can get in contact with the technical team at Instagram who will walk you through any potential troubleshooting methods that you might have missed.

This should be used as a last resort, as dealing with customer support over the phone is frustrating. Rest assured that Instagram will do everything in its power to help solve your video display issues.

Final Thoughts

This detailed guide has broken down many of the common reasons for Instagram turning videos sideways.

Most of the time, a sideways video represents an error in the filming specifications of the video. Videos filmed outside of the optimal aspect ratio and resolution preferences could be subject to display issues, such as being turned sideways when viewed on Instagram.

If you are a content creator, you can avoid this by following the methods listed in this guide. If you use Instagram primarily to watch videos and experience Instagram turning videos sideways, it could be due to errors with your Instagram app, or you are simply viewing a poorly optimized video.

No matter what scenario you encounter Instagram turning videos sideways, you now know how to troubleshoot many of the common causes and potentially avoid them in the future.

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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