Instagram’s ephemeral features like Stories and Reels are where the emphasis is these days for the app once largely built around a static, photo-based feed. No wonder, then, that when users run into problems with a feature like Instagram Stories, it can be quite annoying. Especially since Stories, for many people, has become their default way to engage inside the app — with many of them barely even bothering to peruse the main feed anymore.
Late last week, along these lines, users began complaining about a bug that leads to Instagram Stories being unmutable. Specifically, the bug means that some listeners are running into an issue where Stories play with sound, even when their phones are on silent.
Instagram Stories not muted
Instagram has confirmed that this Stories sound problem is definitely a bug, and that it’s related to the app itself. It’s not, in other words, a function of Apple’s new iOS 16 release. Nor is this a new feature or part of Instagram’s never-ending push to transform itself into some kind of overloaded TikTok clone.
Instagram’s parent company Meta told reporters on Monday that a fix to the Instagram Stories bug is coming soon. However, people were still complaining about the problem on Tuesday, September 13. “Apparently I’m not the only person who’s stopped checking @instagram stories because of the sound glitch,” one user complained on Twitter. “Phone is on mute and stories still play sound. It’s super annoying. If I didn’t use the app to stay in touch with friends back home I’d have deleted it like 4 updates ago.”
This all comes on the heels, meanwhile, of a new report from The Wall Street Journal which revealed that most Instagram Reels have “no engagement whatsoever.”
Missing the old Instagram
Reels, like Instagram Stories, were born out of a push to try and combat another popular app (TikTok). The latter, of course, is increasingly eating Instagram’s lunch — as seen, for example, in the fact that Reels on Instagram are often just recycled video from TikTok.
“We want Instagram to be how it was five months ago,” rapper Cardi B lamented in an Instagram video. “Like this s**t is like dead torture.”
I expressed in a 2021 piece that we were already seeing then was the beginning of the end for Instagram. Indeed, for more than a year now it’s as if the app has been purposely trying to piss off as many of the OG users who still love it as possible. If I wanted to use TikTok, I’d use TikTok. As things stand, though, we get the worst of both worlds.
That includes Instagram’s never-ending push to make you watch ads, videos, Stories, and Reels at you that you don’t care about. And to consume, in your main feed, more content than ever from accounts you don’t even follow. Yuck.
UPDATE: A Meta spokesman confirmed on Wednesday, September 14, that this issue has now been fixed. From the spokesman: “This issue has been resolved with the latest version of Instagram for iOS — please update to the latest version of the app available in the App Store.”
Related coverage: How to fix the Instagram crashing bug on your iPhone and iPad.