How Do I Allow Instagram To Access My Photos? [A Walkthrough]

Instagram logo
Instagram logo
  • Whether you have a new Instagram account or you recently installed/updated the app, Instagram will prompt you to grant access to the camera and media.
  • Additionally, you can manually provide access to your photos from your phone settings by adjusting app permissions.
  • For iPhones, you can find the “Photos” option under app permissions and set it to “Read and Write” to enable access to Instagram.

Instagram is a widely used social media networking platform with billions of global users. It emphasizes visual content and acts as an art gallery where people can share content that reflects their preferences.

Through features like following, stories, likes, comments, and direct messages (DMs), users can interact with each other.

Instagram places a strong emphasis on user privacy, offering settings that grant users greater control over their accounts, ensuring a user-friendly and secure experience.

What Are The Steps To Grant Instagram Permission To Access My Photo Library?

Illustration of granting app permissions
Illustration of granting app permissions

Step 1

The initial step to enable photo access for Instagram involves following these actions:

  1. When you log into a new Instagram account on your phone, install Instagram, or update the app, it is essentially reinstalled on your device.
  2. In all these cases, when you open Instagram and attempt to post a picture on your feed or stories by accessing the plus sign at the bottom center of your page or the small plus sign on the bottom of your profile picture at the top left of the page, Instagram will prompt you automatically to “allow Instagram to take pictures and record videos.
  3. After permitting this, it will also request to “allow Instagram to access photos and media on your device.

Once you grant these permissions, your photo access to Instagram will be established.

Step 2

As for the second step, in case you unintentionally denied permissions in the first place, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your device’s settings.
  2. Then select “Apps,” and scroll down to find “Instagram.”
  3. Click on “App Permissions” and allow access to the camera as well as files and media.

Suppose you cannot directly locate “App Permissions” when searching for Instagram in your settings. In that case, you can alternatively:

  1. Go to settings.
  2. Then click on privacy.
  3. There you’ll find “App Permissions,” and grant Instagram access to the camera files and media.

Additionally, you can access the app info by:

  1. Press and hold the Instagram icon on your home screen.
  2. Then go to “App Info.”
  3. Click on “App Permissions” to grant access to your photos files and media.

These methods are applicable to all models of both Android and iOS devices.

Step 3

Step 3 applies explicitly to iOS devices only. In some iOS devices instead of granting access to Instagram through the “App Permissions,” you need to:

  1. Go to settings.
  2. Then “Apps,” and find Instagram.
  3. Click on “Photos” and set it to “Read and Write.”

This setting will enable Instagram to have access to your photos.

Allow access to photos on Instagram

What Are The Reasons For Instagram Not Having Default Access To My Photos?

Access  denied
Access denied

Instagram has made the decision not to access its users’ photos by default for various reasons, all aimed at benefiting the users and enhancing their overall user experience.

Some of these reasons are outlined in the table below:

Privacy And SecurityNot only Instagram but numerous apps do not automatically grant access to photos by default. This is a deliberate choice made by these apps to prioritize user privacy and security. Some users may feel uneasy about sharing their personal data or allowing an app to access their photos, particularly when those photos are among the most private content on their devices. Consequently, without explicit consent, Instagram refrains from automatically accessing user photos.
User ControlAn app that places a high value on user control, allowing users to have a sense of authority over the decisions they make while using the app, is considered a top-tier app. Instagram strongly adheres to this principle, firmly believing in empowering its users by giving them full control over their files and media.
Verifying Purposeful AccessBy not automatically accessing user photos, Instagram ensures that users are fully informed about the app’s intentions. When users deliberately grant access to their photos, they can rest assured that they have provided explicit consent to Instagram, thus avoiding any unintentional access to their private content.
Following Legal GuidelinesData protection laws and guidelines are prevalent in most countries, mandating that operating apps like Instagram must always obtain user consent before accessing sensitive information, such as photos.
Reasons why Instagram doesn’t have default access to photos

Why Is Instagram Unable To Access My Photos, And What Can I Do?

Even after explicitly granting Instagram access to your photos, you might encounter an error message stating that Instagram cannot access your photos and other media unless you allow it. This situation can be confusing, as you have already permitted access from the beginning. So, what could be the potential reason for this error, and why is Instagram still unable to access your photos? Keep reading to find the answers and resolve your queries.

Double-Check Your Settings

The first and most crucial step is to double-check your settings. Human error is a common mistake that is often overlooked, sometimes wrongly attributed to an issue with the app itself. If you are encountering the problem of Instagram not having access to your photos, it could be due to two scenarios:

  • First, you may have set the app to “Ask Every Time” and mistakenly declined access when prompted.
  • Second, you might have updated the app and inadvertently forgot to grant access to it again.

If you are facing the issue of Instagram not having access to your photos, take a moment to go to the app settings and confirm whether you have allowed access or not.

If you have already allowed access and the problem persists, then proceed to follow the troubleshooting steps mentioned below.

Restart The App

Attempt to restart the app. Temporary glitches within the app can sometimes trigger various errors.

To address this:

  1. Restart your app by going back to the home screen.
  2. Depending on your mobile model and device, you can either click multiple times on the home button, slide upwards, or use other applicable methods and go to the app drawer and clear the app from there.
  3. Wait for a brief period.
  4. Then reopen Instagram; most likely, this will resolve the issue you were facing.

Restart Your Device

You can also attempt to restart your phone. Sometimes glitches with your device can interfere with the functioning of apps and result in these temporary errors. To ensure that your device is not causing the issue, it’s best to be on the safe side and restart the device.

To do this:

  1. Click and press the power button until you see a slider.
  2. From there, you can either directly restart the device or, if the restart option is not available, power off your device.
  3. Wait for around 30 seconds to a minute before turning your device back on.

This should likely resolve any errors that were occurring due to problems with your device. If the issue persists, then you can explore the other troubleshooting methods mentioned below.

Update Your App And Device


Sometimes, temporary errors can be caused by an outdated version of your device or the app itself. So, when encountering issues with Instagram’s inability to access your photos, it is essential to check whether your device and app are up-to-date.

If not, follow these steps to update them, which might resolve the problem:

To Update Your Device:

  1. Access the settings.
  2. Then scroll down to “Software Updates” and select it to check for available updates.
  3. Install any available updates.
  4. Your phone will restart with the latest version installed.

To Update Your App:

  1. Visit your Play Store or App Store.
  2. Search for Instagram.
  3. If an update is available, you’ll find the option to update the app there.
  4. Proceed with the update, and Instagram will be reinstalled with the latest version.

Clear Cache

Sometimes, Instagram may be unable to access your photos due to cached files, corrupted cached data, or a full cache.

To resolve this issue, you can clear the cache for the Instagram app by following these steps:

  1. Go to Settings on your device.
  2. Navigate to Apps.
  3. Scroll down and find Instagram from the list of installed apps.
  4. Click on Instagram to access its settings.
  5. Look for the options to “Clear Cache” and “Clear Storage” (sometimes called “Clear Data“) and select them.

By clearing the cache and storage for Instagram, you’ll likely solve the problem and improve the app’s performance.

Contact Instagram Support

If none of the mentioned solutions work, and your phone is not the source of the problem, you can consider reaching out to Instagram support to report the issue. Their efficient team will likely respond and work to resolve your problem.

Final Thoughts

  • A widely used social media platform with a focus on visual content and artistic expression.
  • When using a new Instagram account or updating the app, you’ll be asked to grant camera and media access. You can manually allow photo access through app permissions in your phone settings and for iPhones, set “Photos” to “Read and Write” for Instagram access.
  • Reasons for no default access to photos:
    • Prioritizes user privacy and security.
    • Complies with data protection laws and regulations.
    • Requires intentional user consent for photo access.
  • Why Instagram Cannot Access Your Photos:
    • Mistakenly declined access or “Ask Every Time” setting.
    • Outdated app or device version causing errors.
    • Cached files.
  • You can double-check app permissions, restart the app or your device, update your device and Instagram app, clear cache and storage, and contact Instagram support if the issue persists to grant access to Instagram.

What’s Next

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