Instagram: Help me get in (best and worst cases)
October 13, 2020 6:38 AM   Subscribe

I’m trying to sign in to my Instagram account, after a very long absence. Getting unhelpful error messages and no response from “Help/Support”. Best case would assist me in getting back in to my existing account. Worst case would help me start fresh. Complicating factor: laptop use only; no phone app.

When I try to log in to my existing account, this message is displayed: “The username you entered doesn't belong to an account. Please check your username and try again.”

So, I try to reset my password -- the system tells me, “No users found”.

However, however, if I try to sign up for an account using that email, it displays: “Another account is using (email).”

The login form indicates it will accept username, email, or phone number. I’m trying to use my email to log in. I’m pretty sure I didn’t enter my phone number ever, seemingly confirmed by trying that and getting “No users found”. If I try the username I’m 98% sure I used (it’s part of the email address I think I would’ve used), it says it sent a password recovery email to an obfuscated but unrecognizable email address. I can’t recall signing up for an email address just to use for Instagram, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility, but there’s nothing about it in my password vault. Could my account have gotten hacked? But since the two emails don't match, maybe I'm wrong about the username. It's all rather confusing. And annoying.

Other key information:
I do not have the Instagram app on my phone, nor will I install it.
Also not willing to link to my facebook account.
I can’t see the activity because the account is private.
I’ve trying filling out a help/support form, but have never received any response.

It’s all become rather byzantine, and may be too convoluted to try and get it back. If my best alternative is too set up a new account, it sounds like Instagram tries to force people to use their phone app. Can I get around that, or am I doomed to not participate on Instagram?
posted by dancing leaves to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well first off you can not post to Instagram from the website, only via mobile app. So if your goal is to participate then you're going to have some troubles.

Now you say no phone app, but do you mean no phone app or no phone app on your phone? You can install an Android emulator such as Bluestacks on your laptop, and then install the app version of Instagram on the emulated phone. That would allow you to post but wouldn't let Instagram run on your actual phone.

As for the login, I don't see anything to do other then what you've already tried... It sounds like you don't know the username or email you used with 100% certainty, and without that it's going to be difficult to proceed. Any chance you can you dig through old emails and see if you can confirm how you signed up?
posted by tiamat at 6:49 AM on October 13

Just an aside, you can post to Instagram from your computer. Open in Chrome, log in, right click on the page and hit 'inspect', then at the top left-hand corner of the screen that just came up there's a little icon that looks like a phone sitting in front of a tablet click it so it turns blue, refresh the page, and instagram thinks your computer is a phone. Post Away!
posted by gregr at 7:52 AM on October 13 [9 favorites]

I just went to the Instagram login page and chose "forgot password". The next page lets me give a username or an email to reset my password. I entered my email and got the password reset email. Can you do the same and enter your email instead of your username?

(Sorry if you already tried this and I didn't understand, but from your post it sounds like you entered your username on the password reset page, and I wonder if you will get farther by entering your email instead.)
posted by Tehhund at 8:31 AM on October 13

Try logging in from someone else's iPhone, through their Instagram app (you can log out when you're done) and following the prompts from there to verify the account. IPhones are the only way I've found to use this trick. Idk why, but I've had login issues a few times where nothing else will work.
posted by ananci at 9:06 AM on October 13

I created a new Instagram account recently on a Windows PC and also got the "Another account is using (email)" error. This was impossible because it was a new email account that I'd also just created. There was an option to contact support from that error screen, and I explained that I was trying to create a new account with (email address) which was also brand new. I got a reply within maybe 10 minutes that they'd resolved the issue. I believe they'd even created the account for me and sent a temporary password, but I'm not 100% sure about that last part, I just remember that I was able to finish the account creation like normal.
posted by Woodroar at 9:33 AM on October 13

I tried creating a new account using the phone emulator in Chrome. I keep getting an error message: "Something went wrong creating your account."

... and there are no options or links to submit a support/help ticket. I'm stuck -- don't know what else to do!
posted by dancing leaves at 1:26 PM on October 20

Here's how I was able to create my account last time:

1. Go to
2. Click on the "let us know" link.
3. Select "I can't sign up for an account because my email is already in use."
4. It will ask for your email address and issue. In the issue field, write something like "I'm trying to sign up with my email address [address]. I just created it so I know that it's not being used on Instagram."
5. Wait for an email with instructions. I got one in maybe 10 minutes.

This was in Chrome on a Windows 10 desktop PC. I wasn't using phone emulation or incognito or anything fancy, just my usual Chrome window.
posted by Woodroar at 5:19 PM on October 20

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