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Instagram won't show all photos in Gallery (solved)

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A reader asks:

There was an unexpected problem with the Instagram mobile app on the Samsung Galaxy. I tried several methods suggested on the forum, but they all didn't work. Instagram, when trying to upload a photo in the post, does not show in its library (or Gallery) all the images, but only a limited number of photos.

Well, let's figure it out. Take a look at the methods we offer to solve this error. Which method helped you get your thumbnails back to Instagram? Share in the comments!

CCleaner deletes image cache

Suppose you use CCleaner app to clean up junk files on your phone. In that case, the thumbnails folder may be cleared automatically. As a result, thumbnails files for published photos will not show up in the Gallery. So you can't see them through the Instagram app.

The solution is simple.

  1. Install WhatsApp if you don't already have it.
  2. Open the app, start a chat with someone you know or have added to your contacts.
  3. Tap on the paper clip icon to attach a photo.
  4. WhatsApp will open the Gallery window.
  5. Scroll through the entire Gallery.
  6. As a result, WhatsApp will create new thumbnails.
  7. Check whether these thumbnails appeared in the Instagram app.

This way, WhatsApp will generate all the thumbnails from Android Gallery. Unfortunately, Instagram hasn't yet learned how to do this. It is also possible that other messengers, such as Viber, will help you in a similar way.

Open Instagram through Chrome

Chrome also saves a cache of photos on your phone. This will help regenerate the thumbnails on Android that you'll need. The method will work if a gray tile is displayed instead of photos.

  1. Open the Instagram website in your Chrome browser.
  2. Tap the “plus” button at the bottom of the page ("Publish").
  3. Now scroll through the Gallery at a speed that will allow each image to load correctly.
  4. If all the images are displayed as thumbnails, close the Chrome browser.
  5. Open the Instagram mobile app. The gray tiles will become thumbnail images.

This method of restoring thumbnails of Instagram photos is universal. You can do it with any browser or app that has storage permission and stores cache on your device.

Limitations of Android file system

On both iOS and Android, Instagram can hide certain photos from the user. This is due to the limitations of the device's file system. In Android, some photos are in folders that also contain a ".nomedia" file. This file instructs the phone to hide any files in this folder from other applications. This file is most often located in the /sdcard/DCIM/.thumbnails folder.

If you use Android, make sure that the folder you are trying to download files from does not contain a ".nomedia" file. It may be hidden, so I recommend the following steps:

  1. Open a file manager, such as Total Commander,
  2. Go to the /sdcard/DCIM/.thumbnails folder, tap on the “three dots” menu;
  3. Select the "Show hidden files" option.
  4. Delete the .nomedia file, if any.

When you open Gallery from Instagram, the latest photos are displayed, but the old photos are covered with gray tiles. What to do in this situation?

  1. Create a new folder in the Gallery.
  2. Move old/new/any photos to be published to Instagram there.
  3. After transferring, reopen Gallery from Instagram by clicking the "plus" button.
  4. The files will become visible again.

Sometimes photos become invisible in Gallery because the file is old.

Uploading each photo individually

  1. Go to the Gallery or File Manager * .
  2. Select the photo you want to upload to Instagram.
  3. Tap the photo and select the Share option.
  4. Find the Instagram icon.
  5. Post the photo to your Instagram feed.

*File manager is not a good idea, it's hard enough to transfer files to Instagram to upload or copy them manually to Gallery.

Wrong folder

  1. Start publishing a post to Instagram. 2.Start uploading photos to the post - you'll see a collage list of 8 photos.
  2. Scroll through the images, i.e., scroll through them. As you scroll down, you'll see an arrow and the name of the folder you're in. It will most likely be a Camera Roll.
  3. Tap on the arrow to select another folder, most likely you want the Photo Stream directory.

You can check the contents of a particular folder through file manager or by going to the Gallery properties of the photo you were looking for when you uploaded it to Instagram.

There is an Instagram library (stored separately from Gallery) and actually all the photos available in the phone memory.

It's not uncommon for photos to get corrupted due to improper use of the device, a memory card error, or other circumstances.


  1. Check the memory card for read errors via PC.
  2. Try to recover photos and thumbnails with DiskDigger.
  3. Clear Gallery cache and recreate thumbnails using the method above.

Ilia is a professional writer. He has expert knowledge in GPS and cartography with 15 years of experience. Additionally, Ilia has extensive experience in data recovery on PC and mobile. He started his career as a journalist by reviewing PC and mobile apps. His current responsibilities are to keep track of users' questions on MGT and answer them.