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Poor Instagram Story Quality: Causes and Fixes

Published July 17, 2023

How many times has it happened? We want to share an amazing Instagram Story, and the minute we do, we see that the upload looks terrible. The picture is blurry, the video ends up pixelated, or the audio sounds all garbled. Overall, it seems like a wasted effort.

Low-quality Instagram Stories are quite common. Luckily, this issue is not particularly difficult to solve. All we have to do is figure out what the exact cause of the poor quality is, and this article is here to help with that. So, without further ado, let’s delve into what makes Instagram Stories come out poorly and what we can do to remedy that. 

Camera Settings are on Low Quality

Lots of Instagram users tend to take photos or videos using default camera settings. Of course, the content will look fine enough on the device when we play it back. But once we upload it as an Instagram Story, which already has its own default size (1080×1920), it will come out blurry and pixelated. 

Therefore, we will want to change either the photo or the video settings on our device before using the camera. For iPhones, that setup process looks a bit like this:

  • Tap Settings, then Camera;
  • For high-quality videos, tap Record Video, then choose the highest quality your device can handle, like HD or 4k;
  • Repeat this step in the Record Slo-Mo section if you want HQ slow-motion videos;
  • For high-quality photos, go to Settings and tap Formats; if you have the Most Compatible option ticked, switch over to High Efficiency

With Android devices, individual camera settings can vary depending on the model. However, broadly speaking, we can find all of the photo and video options within the camera’s Settings section. To access Settings, click on the gear icon in the top right corner of the camera app. This menu should provide us with access to three different categories here: Photo Settings, Video Settings, and General. By tapping on the first two, we can choose the highest image and video quality that our device can support. 

Your File May Be Corrupt

Sometimes, we upload an image or a video that’s already in our gallery as our Instagram Story, and it comes out blurry. If we’ve recently performed a file backup on our iPhone or Android, then the files we’ve uploaded to Instagram may be corrupted. 

There’s a simple way to check if this is the case. All we have to do is send that particular file to a friend. If they receive a blurry or pixelated file, then it’s corrupt. However, if the file looks fine on their phone, then the issue is probably with Instagram itself. 

Another method of checking is to take a brand new photo and upload it to our Instagram Story. If it appears clear and uncorrupt, it’s likely that our backup files are the problem.  

The App Needs an Update

Of course, Instagram itself might be what’s causing the issue. When the app gets an update, it can change the settings related to Instagram Stories and their overall quality. Therefore, all we have to do is update the app on our Android or iPhone. The process is simple enough for either platform:

  • For iPhone users, go to the App Store, tap our account icon, scroll down to Upcoming Automatic Updates, pick Instagram, and tap Update.
  • With Android, we first have to open the Play Store, tap our account icon, choose Manage Apps & Devices, then Overview (with some phones, we will enter Overview automatically after picking Manage Apps & Devices), and under Updates Available, we can scroll down to Instagram and tap Update

You can view our more comprehensive guide on how to update your Instagram app on our blog.

Use Less Mobile Data/High-Quality Uploads Options

When we use Instagram on our smartphones, the app usually switches off mobile data usage automatically. As a result, our content takes longer to upload than it normally would. Furthermore, the upload can be blurry or unclear.

There are actually two different methods of improving our Instagram Story content when it comes to mobile data usage. Luckily, both options are within the same basic category in the app. Here’s how we can reach that category:

  • Tap the Instagram profile picture;
  • Click on the three-bar dropdown menu and choose Settings;
  • Tap Account;
  • Then choose either Cellular Data Use (for Android) or Data Usage (for iPhone).

Once we’re there, we have two options available: Use Less Cellular Data/Data Saver and High-Quality Uploads. If we want high-quality content, the first option should be toggled off and the second one toggled on

Mobile Data over WiFi

Finally, there’s always the possibility that our file didn’t upload to Instagram Story because our WiFi connection wasn’t stable. Generally speaking, if we use mobile data instead of WiFi, our internet will work faster and with fewer connection breaks. With that in mind, all we have to do is enable mobile data. On iPhone, we do this by tapping Settings and toggling Cellular Data on. Android users only need to swipe down from the top of the screen and tap Mobile Data on the control panel.

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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