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Instagram camera not working? Try these 6 quick solutions

cant access camera instagram

We talked about the Stories video playback issue, on both iOS and Android, and today we’ll try and address another rare but annoying problem that started bothering users lately. Namely, there are reports online of the Instagram camera not working in Instagram Story or Reels. That’s quite a problem since it renders the app, more or less, unusable for many users. You can’t use any of the filters or tools within the app without a camera integration. And that’s somewhat, and you’ll agree, the main purpose of the app.

The problem causes might be on your side, due to permissions and local data corruption, but this is most often a bug in the latest Instagram version. Learn more below.

Why is my Instagram camera not working?

If your Instagram camera is not working or you can’t access the camera, try to fix it with these steps:

  • Check the permissions. Make sure that Instagram has camera access.
  • Reset Instagram by clearing local data, signing in, and trying again.
  • Reinstall Instagram.
  • Install an older version or alpha/beta version with an APK.
  • Reset the device to factory settings.
  • Definitely report the problem to Instagram by selecting your Profile > Hamburger menu (top right corner) > Settings > Help > Report a problem.

1. Check the Camera permission for Instagram

The first step you should take is to check for app permission changes. As you’re probably aware, every app needs certain permissions to access your camera, storage, contacts, etc. Most of the time, users are prompted to grant necessary permissions once they install the app from the Play Store and access the camera for the first time. However, some Android skins come with tools that tend to block apps, especially from accessing the camera and microphone.

For that reason, it’s worth checking active permissions in the Instagram app:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps & notifications. Or Apps.
  3. Tap All apps.
  4. Navigate to Instagram.
  5. Open Permissions.can't access camera instagram
  6. Make sure that the Camera is toggled on.

If you’re still unable to open the camera within Instagram Story or Reels, check the steps below.

2. Clear the app’s cache and data

With frequent Instagram updates that are emerging nowadays, regarding Story improvements and those silly face filters, there’s a chance that something may go wrong. Namely, this app tends to accumulate a lot of temporary files and, since it’s storing them daily, those can affect the overall performance or some features, like camera functionality.

So, make sure to clean the app’s cache or data and look for changes:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Open Instagram from the list of apps.
  4. Select Storage.
  5. Clear Cache.
  6. Now, Clear Data and reboot your device. instagram camera not working

If the problem persists and a mini nervous breakdown is ascending, there are some other steps worth checking.

3. Update the Instagram app

We already mentioned frequent updates. The app is nowadays so feature-rich that it’s almost chaotic. But, while it’s cool to have all of those features, it’s still more important to have the elementary functions working. What to do with the Instagram Boomerang or face filters or other effects if you’re unable to access a camera in the first place?

What we can hope for is that one of those updates may address this issue. That’s a good enough reason to fly over to the Play Store and check for updates immediately. Once you get your hands on the latest Instagram version, the camera issue shouldn’t bother you anymore.

  1. Open the Play Store app.
  2. From the hamburger menu, choose My Apps & Games.
  3. Download and install updates, if available.
  4. Restart your handset and look for changes.

Hopefully, this should be enough to resolve your problem. However, if it’s still there, take these additional steps into account.

4. Reinstall the Instagram app

Reinstallation won’t help if the app has a bug but can help if the problem is on your side. Android is the OS just like so many others, and where is software there’s room for issues. This is especially the case with the firmware updates, like Android 10 or, more recently, Android 11 that introduced significant permission changes. So, make sure to, after the firmware update, clean and reinstall troublesome apps.

Also, we recommend leaving the Beta program first. Instagram Beta is often unstable and ridden with issues. Not at all times but, when it breaks, it breaks completely.

Follow these steps to reinstall the Instagram app:

  1. Tap and hold the Instagram app under the App list.
  2. Draw it to the top and Uninstall it.
  3. Restart your device.
  4. Open Play Store.
  5. Search for Instagram.
  6. Install the app and sign in.
  7. Try accessing the camera.

That should be enough to resolve most of the app-related issues. But, what if the Instagram app isn’t the problem in the first place?

5. Install an older version of Instagram

Even though you can’t roll back Android apps (Play Store offers only the Beta and stable releases for most apps), you can use an APK to downgrade the app and fix it that way. We wrote extensively about this and it’s a must-read as this troubleshooting step is more than valuable. You can find Instagram APKs on APK Mirror.

You can either choose to downgrade the app or jump to the latest Beta or Alpha releases where, hopefully, the camera is accessible. We suggest downgrading to an older version.

6. Reset the device to factory settings

If everything that we presented until now fell short, there’s a chance that the factory reset is the only solution. The reason? There’s probably something wrong with your stock CameraAPI and third-party apps can’t access it. We advise you, as always, to back up your data. In addition, prepare for a long time of customizing your settings and preferences. You can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Choose System.
  3. Select Reset options.
  4. Tap Erase all (factory reset).
  5. Tap Erase all.

After that, your Instagram app should be, finally, able to access the camera so you can snap those selfies just like before.

That’s it. Thank you for reading and make sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in June 2017. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.

Picture of Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Managing editor at Mobile Internist. @lemmingspain My fascination with mobile technology, particularly Android and iOS, began years ago and continues today. I'm captivated by the constant evolution in the smartphone industry and its impact on our daily lives, always anticipating the next big innovation. That’s the main reason why I found myself writing instructive content on the subject for users who are not as familiar with all the bells and whistles.
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