Why Can't I Follow People on Instagram? 7 Common Reasons and Fixes

Have you ever tried to follow someone on Instagram, only to be met with an error message or find you simply can't do it? It's frustrating when you want to connect with certain accounts but are blocked from being able to follow them.

In this blog post, we'll uncover the 7 most common reasons why you may be unable to follow someone on Instagram. We'll also provide tips to resolve these issues so you can get back to expanding your network.

You've Reached the Instagram Following Limit

One of the most common reasons why you can't follow someone new is because you've reached Instagram's following limit. Did you know that Instagram actually limits the number of accounts you can follow?

This limit is in place to prevent spammy behavior and maintain a good user experience across the platform. According to Instagram's guidelines, the maximum number of accounts each user can follow is 7,500.

Once you've followed 7,500 accounts, you'll need to unfollow some accounts if you want to follow new ones. You'll be prevented from following more until you create space.

In addition to the total following limit, Instagram also limits how many accounts you can follow per day. The daily follow limit is around 200-300.

Following too many accounts too quickly can trigger Instagram to temporarily restrict your ability to follow more people. This is especially true if you follow hundreds of accounts within an hour or short period of time.

If you've hit either the total or daily following limit, here are some tips:

  • Unfollow inactive accounts - Review accounts you currently follow and unfollow those that are no longer active or relevant to your interests. Removing inactive accounts will free up space to follow new, active accounts.

  • Unfollow selectively - You don't need to do a mass unfollow. Carefully select accounts to unfollow based on criteria like inactivity, low engagement, or changed interests.

  • Use Instagram's Following feed - Check Instagram's Following feed regularly to identify accounts you can consider unfollowing. The feed shows recent activity from accounts you follow.

  • Follow accounts gradually - Avoid massive follow sprees. Add new follows gradually over days and weeks rather than hundreds at once.

Staying below the total 7,500 account limit and pacing out your daily follows will help avoid follow restrictions on Instagram.

You Followed Too Many Accounts Too Fast

Following accounts too quickly is one of the fastest ways to trigger restrictions from Instagram. As mentioned above, you should aim to follow around 200-300 accounts maximum per day.

If you blast through and follow 500+ accounts within an hour or two, especially if done repeatedly, Instagram will likely block you from being able to follow more people for a period of time.

This restriction is designed to limit spammy and bot-like behavior on the platform. Following absurd amounts of accounts manually or using bots/services is against Instagram's policies.

Here are some tips to avoid issues from following too fast:

  • Pace yourself - Add follows gradually over days/weeks rather than hundreds at once. Don't exceed the 200-300 daily follow limit.

  • Avoid follow/unfollow - Repeatedly following then unfollowing accounts after short periods is considered spammy behavior by Instagram.

  • Don't use bots/services - Using third-party bots or services to auto-follow usually results in restrictions or banned accounts. Follow manually.

  • Check your limits - Instagram shows how many accounts you've followed today when you attempt to follow someone new. Pay attention to this number.

  • Take breaks - If you reach your daily follow limit, take a break for a day or two before adding more. This allows the limit to reset.

Following accounts thoughtfully and steadily is the best practice on Instagram. Aggressive follow/unfollow behavior will likely get your account suspended.

Your Account Has Inauthentic Activity

If Instagram detects inauthentic activity associated with your account, they may limit your ability to follow more accounts.

What is considered inauthentic activity? Here are some examples:

  • Using bots or third-party services to auto-follow/unfollow, auto-like posts, etc.
  • Mass following and then unfollowing a ton of accounts shortly after
  • Repeatedly following and unfollowing the same accounts
  • Randomly engaging with accounts unrelated to your interests

Basically, any activity that appears artificial and spammy rather than organic. This includes using bots or services to automate any aspect of Instagram engagement.

If your account has been flagged for inauthentic activity, you may be temporarily blocked from following more accounts. Here's what you can do:

  • Avoid bots/services - Don't use any third-party apps or services that promise automated Instagram growth. These will likely get you banned.

  • Engage organically - Follow, like, and comment based on your genuine interests. Engage with accounts relevant to you.

  • Review account activity - Check your Instagram activity to identify any unusual spikes that may have triggered inauthentic flags.

  • Wait it out - Most restrictions due to inauthentic activity are temporary. You just have to wait a few days or weeks for your ability to follow to reset.

  • Contact Instagram - If restrictions persist, you can try reaching out to Instagram support to request they review your account.

The best practice is to engage with Instagram manually, consistently, and according to your real interests. Automated activity is easy to detect and will land you in restriction-land.

You Have Been Blocked by the User

Another obvious reason you may be unable to follow someone on Instagram is because that user has blocked you.

When you are blocked by another account on Instagram, you are prevented from viewing their profile, posts, or stories. You also cannot comment on their content or follow them. Basically all interaction is cut off.

There are a few reasons why someone may have blocked you, including:

  • You posted unwanted, spammy comments on their photos
  • You engaged negatively with them in the past
  • They don't know you and want to limit random followers
  • They are limiting followers for a personal or professional reason
  • They blocked you by mistake

If you genuinely want to follow someone that has blocked you, here are some options:

  • Apologize - If you did something offensive or overly promotional, apologize and ask politely to be unblocked.

  • Ask a friend - See if you have a mutual friend that can explain you had good intentions.

  • Use an alt account - Some users block broadly to curate their audience, in which case an alt account may work.

  • Wait and retry - Try again in a few weeks or months after they may have forgotten they blocked you.

  • Respect their wishes - If none of the above works, respect their decision and move on.

Blocking on Instagram is within every user's rights. While frustrating, maintain polite behavior and you may eventually get unblocked.

Network Connection Issues

Intermittent internet or Instagram login issues can also prevent you from being able to follow someone.

For example, sometimes when you attempt to follow a user, Instagram will show an error saying "Couldn't refresh feed" or something similar.

This is usually caused by a temporary blip in your internet connectivity or an issue with Instagram's servers. It's typically an easily resolvable problem.

Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Check your internet connection - Make sure WiFi is enabled and restart your modem/router if needed. Switch to mobile data as a backup.

  • Log out and back in - Fully logging out of Instagram and then logging back in often fixes following issues caused by network problems.

  • Update the app - Make sure you're running the latest version of the Instagram app, as updates sometimes address bugs.

  • Clear the app cache - This clears out outdated Instagram app data that could be causing glitches.

  • Try again later - If all else fails, wait a little while and try to follow the account again later when connections have stabilized.

  • Report issues - If connection issues persist, report the problem to Instagram through the app.

A bit of connectivity troubleshooting usually resolves any intermittent inability to follow someone due to Instagram login errors or network glitches.

Instagram App Issues

Problems with the Instagram app itself on your device could also potentially interfere with your ability to follow accounts.

For example, if the app is using outdated cached data or has gotten bloated over time, you may experience functionality issues. Things like being unable to follow, like posts, update your profile, etc. may stop working properly.

Here are some steps to troubleshoot Instagram app issues:

  • Update the app - Make sure you have the latest version of Instagram installed. Updates often fix bugs.

  • Reinstall the app - Uninstalling and reinstalling the app can clear out glitches.

  • Clear the cache - In your phone's app settings, clear the cache and data for Instagram. This wipes outdated temporary files.

  • Check your storage - The Instagram app caches a lot of data. If your phone's storage is full, this can cause performance issues.

  • Turn your phone off and on - Simply restarting your device can solve app glitches and connectivity issues.

  • Log out and back in - Fully logging out of the Instagram app and logging back in can refresh your connection.

  • Contact Instagram - If issues persist, reach out to Instagram support through the app for troubleshooting help.

Keeping the Instagram app up-to-date, clearing unnecessary cached data, and freeing up storage space are some easy ways to fix annoying tech issues that prevent you from following accounts.

VPN Problems

Do you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when browsing the internet? VPNs can sometimes interfere with your ability to consistently perform actions on Instagram.

Because VPNs route your internet traffic through different servers, it can appear suspicious to Instagram. Your actions may seem like they are coming from various locations or unknown IP addresses.

As a security measure, Instagram may temporarily restrict certain account functions when suspicious activity is detected. This could prevent you from being able to follow accounts.

Here are some tips if you think your VPN is causing issues:

  • Turn your VPN off - Try disabling your VPN and attempting to follow accounts normally without it enabled.

  • Use a consistent VPN location - If the VPN makes it seem like you're jumping between locations, stick to just one.

  • Contact your VPN provider - Your provider may have advice for optimizing Instagram compatibility.

  • Be patient - Instagram restrictions due to VPN use are usually temporary. Just wait a bit before trying again.

  • Avoid VPNs - If problems persist, consider browsing Instagram without a VPN when you need to follow accounts or perform other actions.

While VPNs have security benefits, they can interfere with Instagram's abuse detection systems and result in annoying account limitations.

Recap of Reasons You May Be Unable to Follow Accounts

Just to recap, here are the main reasons why you may be unable to follow someone on Instagram along with tips to overcome the issues:

  • You have hit Instagram's total or daily follow limit - Unfollow old accounts to free up space.

  • You followed accounts too quickly - Slow down and follow 200-300 per day maximum.

  • Your account has "inauthentic activity" - Avoid bots and services. Engage organically.

  • The user blocked you - Apologize if needed and ask politely to unblock.

  • Network connection issues - Troubleshoot your internet and Instagram's servers.

  • Instagram app problems - Update, reinstall, or contact support about glitches.

  • VPN interference - Turn off your VPN or use it less on Instagram.

Final Tips for Avoiding Follow Problems

Here are a few final tips to ensure you don't run into issues following accounts on Instagram:

  • Follow well below the daily limits - Don't exceed 200-300 a day.

  • Engage thoughtfully and organically - Don't use bots or spammy behavior.

  • Unfollow inactive accounts - Keep your following list relevant and current.

  • Address connection issues - Troubleshoot your internet and Instagram's servers.

  • Keep the Instagram app updated - Install the latest versions of the app.

  • Don't overuse a VPN - Use it sparingly or not at all on Instagram.

  • Contact support if needed - Instagram can review restrictions if you reach out to them through the app.

  • Be patient - Most restrictions are temporary, so take a break and try again later.

  • Review your activity - Check your recent follows and engagement to identify any unusual spikes.

By avoiding spammy behavior, troubleshooting issues promptly, and engaging with Instagram thoughtfully, you should be able to follow accounts without limitations or problems.