How to Fix Not Working Instagram Emoji Reaction?


In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to troubleshoot and resolve the pesky problem of Instagram emoji reactions not working!


Whether it's a heart for a friend's incredible vacation photo or a sad for a poignant news story, emoji reactions on Instagram stories are a key part of how we connect, express and communicate on the platform. Yet, there's nothing more frustrating than when this essential feature stops working.

If you’ve ever found yourself tapping away at your screen, unable to convey your emoji reactions, don’t fret. You’re not alone and, more importantly, there are solutions! In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to troubleshoot and resolve the pesky problem of Instagram emoji reactions not working!

From quick solution suggestions like restarting your app and device to more advanced methods involving Instagram’s in-app settings and software updates, we've got you covered. Get ready to say goodbye to your Instagram emoji woes and hello to a smooth, unhindered Instagram experience! 

Stay tuned and brush up your knowledge with our easy and user-friendly approaches to bring back the joy of Instagram emoji reactions. Let's dive in! 

Understanding Instagram's Direct Reactions Feature

Instagram's Direct Reactions feature is a notable element that adds fun, usability, and a more dynamic touch to interactions taking place within the platform. The use of emojis is not just restricted to comments or captions; they have been ingrained as vital communicative elements in direct messaging as well. Introduced a few years ago, this feature enables users to react quickly to messages using a wide range of emojis.

The role of Instagram's Direct Reactions is quite manifold. It is often used for conveying feelings and emotions in a manner that text might sometimes fail to capture. Whether it's expressing laughter to a funny video, love for an adorable cat picture, or shock at an unexpected message, emojis help convey it all.

To use the feature, one needs to simply tap and hold the message they would like to react to. A bubble pops up with a variety of emojis to choose from. Selecting an emoji sends it as a reaction to the specific message, visible to all users in the chat. This adds a unique aspect to Instagram's chatting feature, fostering more engaging, enjoyable, and expressive conversations.

However, similar to any other digital feature, technical glitches can infrequently hinder its functionalities. Understanding the potential causes and solutions for these issues becomes imperative in such situations. This is what we aim to explore in our blog today. Thus, if you're facing issues with Instagram's emoji reaction not working, you're in the right place!

Reasons for Malfunctioning Instagram Emoji Reactions

There can be a variety of reasons behind the malfunctioning of Instagram emoji reactions. However, some common issues may significantly interfere with the feature. Let's explore these potential obstacles in detail:

Outdated Instagram Application

An outdated Instagram application might not support the latest features, including Direct Reactions. When the app isn't updated, it will lack the infrastructure needed to properly execute the use of emojis in direct messaging.

Not updated Instagram Messaging Platform

In late 2020, Instagram moved its messaging system to the new Messaging platform, which integrated Instagram DMs with Facebook Messenger. If your account is still using the old messaging system, it may result in malfunctioning emoji reactions.

Poor Internet Connection

A weak or sporadic internet connection can disrupt the proper functionality of the Instagram emoji reaction feature. This is because many of the app's features rely on a stable internet connection to work smoothly.

Unfavorable Privacy Settings

Your privacy settings may inadvertently restrict specific features in Instagram, including Direct Reactions. For instance, if you’ve prohibited message request notifications, you might not see the emoji reaction feature in the messages received from people who you don't follow.

Using Instagram Lite

Instagram Lite is a lightweight version of the original app, designed for minimal data usage. It omits some features to reduce the app size and data consumption. One of these missing features is the emoji reaction functionality in direct messages.

By identifying the specific issue causing malfunctioning Instagram emoji reactions, you can take suitable action to rectify the problem.

Step-by-step Solutions to Fix Instagram Emoji Reaction Not Working

Struggling with malfunctions in Instagram's emoji reaction feature can be frustrating. However, each identified issue comes with an associated solution:

Updating the Instagram Application

Staying updated is essential for any platform. If your app is outdated, the solution is simply to update it:

  • Go to your device's app store.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Playstore

  • In the search bar, type "Instagram".

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Instagram update

  • Click on the app and if there's an "Update" option, tap it.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Update

Upgrading Instagram's Messaging feature

Moving from Instagram’s old messaging platform to the upgraded one can resolve the emoji reaction issue.

  • Click the menu icon in your profile.
  • Go to "Settings and Privacy".
  • Check for "Update Messaging" option. If available, apply the update.

Checking and Improving Internet Connection

A stable internet connection ensures smooth functioning of the app.

  • Check if other apps or websites work fine.
  • Try to turn your WiFi off and on or restart your router.
  • Refresh your mobile data if not using WiFi.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Internet Connection

Adjusting Privacy Settings

If your privacy settings are causing issues, they would need to be modified:

  • Click "Menu" on your Instagram profile.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Hamburger Icon

  • Tap "Settings and Privacy"

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Settings and Privacy

  •  And finally "Messages and story replies".

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Messages and Story Replies

  • Then tap Message Controls

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Message Controls


  • Select "your Instagram followers" from the list of "Potential Connections." 

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Your Followers on Instagram

  • Then to enable message requests choose Message Requests.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Message Requests

Switching to the Full Instagram Application from Instagram Lite

The fuller version of Instagram supports the emoji reaction feature.

  • Uninstall the Lite version.
  • Install the full version from your device's app store.

Clearing Cache (specifically for Android users)

This might help with the glitch.

  • Go to device settings.
  • Tap "Apps" and find Instagram.
  • Go to "Storage" and tap "Clear Cache".

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Clear Cache


Recommencing or Reinstalling Instagram Application

Lastly, restarting the Instagram app might fix the issue.

  • Close the app entirely, and then open it again.
  • If the problem persists, uninstall the app 

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Uninstall

  • Then reinstall it from the app store.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Install

Following these solutions should help in rectifying the malfunctioning of Instagram's emoji reaction feature.

How to React to Messages on Instagram

The process of reacting to messages on Instagram is generally straightforward. The following steps will help you understand how to react to messages using different methods.

Updating Instagram's Messaging feature

Before you can react to messages, ensure that your account is updated to the latest messaging system.

  • Access your Instagram profile and tap the menu icon.
  • Go to "Settings", scroll down and check for the "Update Messaging" option. If it's available, tap it to apply the update.

Using the Mobile Application (steps to follow)

Reactions on Instagram are mainly facilitated through their mobile app. How to use the feature is as follows:

  • Open the Instagram App.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Instagram

  • In the top-right corner, click the "Direct Messages" icon.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Message

  • Open the chat thread where you want to react.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Message User

  • Press and hold the specific message you wish to react to.
  • A bubble with a variety of emojis will appear. Select the desired emoji to react.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Emojis

  • Your reaction will show up next to the message, visible to everyone in the chat.

Instagram Emoji Reaction - Emoji Reaction

Using these methods, you should be able to react to messages on Instagram effectively, whether you're on a mobile app or a web browser.

FAQs Section

Below you'll find answers to some frequently asked questions about Instagram's Direct Reactions feature:

Why can't I react with emojis on Instagram?

If you can't react with emojis on Instagram, it could be due to a few reasons:

  • Your Instagram app or its messaging platform could be outdated.
  • Your internet connection may not be stable.
  • You might have unfavorable privacy settings.
  • You could be using Instagram Lite, which does not currently support this feature.

How can I fix the issue of not being able to react with emojis?

Follow the prescribed solutions in the guide:

  1. Update the Instagram app.
  2. Upgrade Instagram's messaging feature.
  3. Check and improve your internet connection.
  4. Adjust your privacy settings.
  5. Switch from Instagram Lite to the full application.
  6. Clear your cache (for Android users) or reinstall the app.

Can I react to Instagram messages on my computer?

As Instagram's emoji reaction feature is primarily intended for mobile use, there's no native tool for it on the desktop version. However, you can work around this by using browser extensions like "Direct Message for Instagram".

Is it possible to react with custom emojis on Instagram?

No, currently Instagram only allows you to react with a set of predefined emojis. Custom emojis are not supported for reactions in Direct Messages.

My emoji reactions keep disappearing, why?

This could potentially happen due to a bug. Try clearing your cache (for Android users) or reinstalling the app. If it continues, report the issue to Instagram's help center.

These solutions and answers should provide you with a clearer understanding and help manage any difficulties with Instagram's Direct Reactions feature.


In summary, we started by discussing the importance and functionality of Instagram's Direct Reactions feature. We then identified potential reasons causing its malfunctioning such as outdated Instagram app or messaging platform, poor internet connection, unfavorable privacy settings, or the use of Instagram Lite.

We familiarized ourselves with practical step-by-step solutions catering to each of these issues. These solutions range from updating the Instagram application, upgrading its messaging features, checking and improving internet connection, adjusting privacy settings, to switching from Instagram Lite to the full application. Furthermore, we delved into additional measures including clearing cache (especially for Android users) and restarting or reinstalling Instagram applications.

Finally, we went through the procedures to effectively react to Instagram messages either via the mobile application or through a web browser.

We hope that this comprehensive guide equips you with practical insights to tackle any difficulties you might face with Instagram's Direct Reactions feature. With the understanding and application of the given solutions, you should be able to actively utilize and enjoy Instagram's emojis in your chat threads. Happy Instagramming!