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

Author: Vladimir Brown
Table of Contents

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!

tl dr: Close the Instagram app, restart your phone.

Give the Instagram app all the access rights you need, including the file system. Problem solved!


DATA SAVER MODE allows you to reduce the consumption of data downloaded from the Internet on your phone. Activating this function also leads to strange Android behavior.

In the case of Instagram, users have noted that the app glitches in DATA SAVER MODE. In particular, when uploading photos to the feed, thumbnails are not always displayed. Therefore, to avoid this error, try disabling the DATA SAVER function for a while. How to do this:

Step 1. Go to the Android settings (Settings app)

Step 2. Go to Connections - Data usage - Data Saver.

Data usage dialog on Android

Step 3. In the Data Saver settings, set the slider to Off.

Data Saver settings - Off position

Step 4. In the status bar you will see the corresponding icon, which indicates that DATA SAVER is no longer running.

Step 5. After applying the changes, check how the Gallery in Instagram works, whether thumbnails of photos are available.

In general, it is advised to observe how Instagram works after disabling Data Saver. If the changes are for the better - don't change any more settings.

Log out / log in to Instagram

When there are authorization errors in Instagram, absolutely any errors and glitches are possible. For example, the app will not have access to the photos stored on your phone. The solution is very simple – log out of your account and log in again.

  1. Go to Instagram Settings.
Instagram Settings menu item
  1. Tap the Log Out button in the Logins section.
Log out option on Instagram app
  1. Log in to your Instagram account by entering name and password.
  2. Now repeat the steps with the photos, try uploading them again by opening Gallery.

Check Instagram photo access settings

On any operating system, photo access rights are initially restricted. If there was a failure during the Instagram installation process, the app gets strict access to the OS. In this case, it is useful to recheck the access rights yourself.

First way

Instructions for iOS:

  1. Go to Settings > Instagram > Photos > All Photos
  2. Check the appropriate file system permissions (Photos must be fully accessible).

Instructions for Android:

  1. Go to Settings - Apps.
Apps item menu on Android settings
  1. Open Instagram - Permissions.
Instagram app permissions
  1. Make sure that Photos and videos are allowed (Allow).
Allowing Photos and video access for Instagram
  1. After changing the permissions, restart Android.

Once the permissions are consistent, Instagram will display thumbnails of photos without errors.

Second way

How to change file system permissions:

  1. Reinstall Instagram app,
  2. When you run the app for the first time, give it the right permissions.

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.

Whatsapp Gallery window
  1. WhatsApp will open the Gallery window.
Instagram Gallery window
  1. Scroll through the entire Gallery.
Gallery Scrolling
  1. As a result, WhatsApp will create new thumbnails.
New post on Instagram: Gallery preview
  1. 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.
Opening Instagram via Chrome
  1. Tap the Plus button at the bottom of the page ("Publish").
Selecting image from Gallery on Android
  1. Now scroll through the Gallery at a speed that will allow each image to load correctly.
Images displayed as thumbnails
  1. If all the images are displayed as thumbnails, close the Chrome browser.
  2. 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 or FileCommander,
  2. Go to the /sdcard/DCIM/.thumbnails folder, tap on the “three dots” menu;
FileCommander main menu
  1. Select the "Show hidden files" option.
  2. 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.
Creating new folder in Gallery
  1. Move old/new/any photos to be published to Instagram there.
  2. After transferring, reopen Gallery from Instagram by clicking the "plus" button.
  3. 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.
Sharing picture via Instagram
  1. 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

Step 1. Start publishing a post to Instagram.

Step 2. Start uploading photos to the post - you'll see a collage list of 8 photos.

Step 3. 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.

Step 4. 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.
Clearing Instagram storage

I'm Vladimir, your guide in the expansive world of technology journalism, with a special focus on GPS technologies and mapping. My journey in this field extends over twenty fruitful years, fueled by a profound passion for technology and an insatiable curiosity to explore its frontiers.