Instagram Says I Have a Message But I Don't: 9 Easy Fixes

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instagram says i have a message but i don't

It’s very confusing when Instagram says you have a message, but you don’t. I’ve faced this issue several times and I know how annoying it can be. Read on to find out how to resolve it in 9 simple steps.

What To Do When Instagram Says You Have a Message But You Don’t?

Follow these instructions step-by-step:

1. Check Pending Instagram Message Requests

If Instagram says you have a message but you don’t see it, it’s probably stuck in Message requests. Here’s how to access them:

  • Click on the message icon in the top-right corner of your screen.
  • You’ll see 4 options: Primary, General, Channels, and Requests.
  • Go to Requests and check if you have pending messages under All Requests.
  • You can also check Hidden Requests.
  • Click on Delete All to resolve the pending message issue.
delete message requests on instagram

2. Filter Unread Instagram Messages

There might be an overlooked Instagram message in the inbox. You can just filter unread messages:

  • Go to Messages in the top-right corner of your screen.
  • Click on Filter beside the search bar.
  • You’ll see three options: Unread, Unanswered, and Flagged.
  • Click on Unread, and you’ll be able to see unread messages in the last 30+ days.
filter unread messages on instagram

3. Refresh Instagram Messages

Your smartphone might be lagging and the Instagram app is unable to refresh updates automatically. Try refreshing manually by:

  • Open the Instagram map and go to Messages.
  • Swipe down and refresh the message tab.
how to refresh instagram messages

4. Clear the App Cache

Cache is temporary data your phone stores for every app to improve performance. However, you need to clear it frequently, or your app can start malfunctioning.


  • Go to Settings > App Info. 
  • Scroll down and click on Instagram > Storage > Clear Cache.
clear instagram app cache


There’s no direct way to clear the Instagram cache on your iPhone unless you delete the app and reinstall it.

  • Go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage.
  • Find Instagram and tap on Delete app.
  • Go to Apple App Store > Instagram > Install.

5. Relaunch the App

Sometimes a user might have unsent a message they sent you on Instagram. You’ll still have the notification, though. In that case, your best bet is to relaunch the app.

  • Exit Instagram and go to your Home Screen.
  • Swipe up and hold to open the Recent Apps menu.
  • Swipe up on the Instagram app to close it entirely.
close instagram app and relaunch

6. Check Your Internet Connection

If you’re using Instagram on a slow internet connection, the app takes more time to mark read messages. You can use an online speed test to confirm poor internet connectivity:

  • Go to Google Chrome on your phone and type: Internet Speed Test.
  • Click on Run Speed Test.
  • You can also scroll down and check out other tests.
running an internet speed test

The problem could be related to your Facebook profile. Most Meta users have a linked Facebook and Instagram profile. You can unlink them like this:

  • Go to Instagram and click on your account option.
  • Click on the three horizontal lines in the top-right of your screen.
  • Click on Settings and privacy > Accounts Centre. 
  • Scroll down to Accounts and tap on your Facebook account.
  • Click on Remove > Continue to unlink connected experiences on Meta.
unlink facebook account

Don’t be afraid of unlinking accounts — this won’t delete or deactivate them. You can also re-link them at a later time.

8. Update the Instagram App

You might be using an outdated version of the app. Update Instagram to resolve the issue:


  • Go to Google Play Store > Manage apps and device.
  • Click on Updates available > Update all.
  • If you would rather not update all, scroll down to Instagram.
  • Click on Update beside the app.
update instagram app on android


  • Go to the Apple App Store and search for Instagram.
  • If there’s a pending update, click on the Update option.
  • If Instagram is all updated, you’ll see Open beside the app.

9. Reinstall the Instagram App

If all else fails, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app:


  • Go to the Google Play Store and look for Instagram. 
  • Click on Uninstall and confirm your decision.
  • Once the app has been uninstalled, click on Install.
uninstall instagram app on android


  • Go to the App Library and long tap on Instagram.
  • Click on Delete app to uninstall it.
  • Go to the App Store > Instagram and click on Install.

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Fake notification alerts on Instagram are nothing new. But now you know what to do if Instagram says you have a message but you don’t. It could be due to a slow internet connection, outdated app history, or uncleared cache. Feel free to share any tips in the comments below!

More about the topics: Instagram app