Why Can’t I Use Filters on Instagram?

With Instagram an app which is heavily focussed on images and on photo sharing, you won’t be surprised to hear…

Jump to section 👇

In this article

With Instagram an app which is heavily focussed on images and on photo sharing, you won’t be surprised to hear that filters are an exceptionally popular feature. Not only do they allow users to perfect their photos and add extra shine to their hair and features, but they also add extra details to photos and make them more engaging – tapping into different trends and visual concepts.

Suffice to say, filters are big business and are used by Instagram account holders across all ages and demographics. Which means that when something goes wrong, all hell breaks loose on the app!

Here are some of the reasons why filters might not be working on your Instagram app – and how to overcome the problem.

Why Are Filters Not Working on Instagram?

Being able to access filters on Instagram means having good access to the internet and an updated version of the app – but it’s not all that straightforward…

Face and Hands

In order to access and use filters, you need to enable Face and Hands permission on your app. This essentially allows Instagram to identify and align your face with the camera, so that it can layer a filter on top of your face on the screen. This can be enabled in the privacy settings of your app.


Similarly, some filters are reliant on your location – which means that in order to unlock them, you need Instagram to be able to track and use your device location.

This is especially true of destination filters which allow those in a certain area to layer a geographical border on their image or access a local filter for online engagement.

Enabling location data must be done from within your device’s own settings.


This one may sound simple, but if you are used to sharing images from your camera roll or photo album, you might not have enabled Instagram to access your camera directly! If you want to add filters to your face on screen, you need to allow the app to take photos with your camera.

Try Filters Used by Others

If you see a filter in a friend or other contact’s post that you want to try, you can do so by clicking directly on the filter and selecting ‘Try It’. If you are not in the right location for the filter then you may face a block, but if it’s public and able to be accessed then you will find it brought directly onto your screen for your own picture.

Filters are an increasingly popular way of producing unique and aesthetically pleasing content for your followers to enjoy. We hope this quick guide helps you to uncover any issues that are stopping you from accessing filters, so that you can resume normal posting again!