The ultimate guide to custom Instagram locations [UPDATE]

UPDATE 8/17/15: Instagram’s newest update has removed this capability entirely, only allowing recognized locations (from Facebook). That means this post is essentially useless.

But helpful reader Zack mentions that you may still be able to add custom locations, but you’ll need to enter them in Facebook first. He pointed me to these links from Instagram: How do I create a new location? and Why can’t I add a custom location I’ve used in the past in a new post? Some good stuff that adds a little context. Thanks, Zack! 

I’m sure you’ve seen grayed out location links before. A lot of fashion bloggers and brands use these to promote their websites or to instruct readers on how to enter contests and such. They’re pretty handy.

I’m going to show you how to do one so that you can promote your website, give instructions, or just let everyone know your frame of mind.

Create custom Instagram locationsThere are three types of grayed out location links:

  • Custom location that uses the image’s geodata (when you’d like to have this on your photo map, but don’t want to use the normal location names that come up)
  • Custom location that uses the poster’s location data (the one I’d recommend the least; this will show the location data from wherever you’re posting the picture from)
  • Custom location with no corresponding map (if you want to name a location but don’t want it to show up on your map)

Instagram has more about custom locations and their implications here.

When it says “Find or create a location,” type in the custom location you’d like to create.

Custom location in IG

Then select “Create a custom location,” and your custom location will appear.

Grayed location linkWhen you publish, the custom location will be grayed out.

Here’s where you need to be careful: if the image has location data (or geodata) embedded in it, the grayed out location will show the location from where you took the picture (this is the first type of custom location).

If you have removed geodata from your image, the grayed out location will show the location from where you’re posting the picture if your location services are set to “While using the app.” This is the second type of custom location, and I don’t recommend it unless you’re 100% okay with anyone knowing your exact location when you post something.

If you’re curious about getting geodata on your pictures, I wrote about it here.

Be careful of your IG data

To create a grayed out location with no map, you must:

  • make sure your Location Services in iOS 8 are set to “Never” instead of “While using the app.”
  • make sure you have saved the picture without geodata. If the image has geodata, this will appear when you upload the image.

When uploading the image, you’ll use the same steps above. Because your location settings are turned off, you’ll get a pop-up that says “Turn on Location Services” with instructions on how to do this. Ignore it, pressing “Cancel.”  Then go about creating your own custom link as normal.

Note: if you’ve created a custom link before that has geodata attached to it, you won’t be able to edit it or recreate the custom location without geodata. So be careful what you’re making the first time!

And there you have it! Now you can make custom locations to promote your website, too!

FullSizeRender (1)

I hope you find this helpful. Send me your thoughts and questions in the comments.

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36 comments

  1. My business is coming up as a location, but it is two old locations, one is from over 10 years ago before I was even using Facebook or Instagram, I’ve moved 3 times since then. I have been searching for over an hour simply trying to find a way to edit my old addresses. It obviously has got these wrong locations from some old business listing online somewhere. I have no idea. I have a new Facebook business page that I started a few years ago but that location does not show at all. Should I do the check in and create yet another 3rd location or is there some way to edit the old ones or merge them into one. If Facebook don’t provide an easy way for business owners to edit then the whole location thingy is going to be in an even bigger mess in another 10 years. These things shouldn’t be so hard to figure out. I give up!

    1. That sounds so frustrating! Reach out to Facebook for Business–they’ll be able to help. You should also use Moz to figure out if all your digital locations are matching up with your real-life locations.

  2. Hey Guys,
    Is anyone having trouble where they add a FB location but Instagram just can’t find it?? I’ve checked my place settings multiple times and its def set to public but still can’t seem to find it in instagram.

  3. Thank you for the article. o i have my location as “never” and when i want to share a picture, i do not see the option to create/name a location??? Any idea why?

  4. For the new instagram update check the following links: https://help.instagram.com/213576905502329?sr=1&query=custom%20location&sid=0eD7WrJNMyK3AZUr9

    https://help.instagram.com/1618893218361276

    Apparently, the custom geotags are linked Facebook directly and not to Instagram. It’s a huge waste of time and energy, in my opinion. I had to do it through my phone (iphone), because the feature was not available on my computer (chrome).

    Hopefully they revert this and go back to the regular way of tagging photos in Instagram.

  5. urrghh thank god someone talk about new update.

    ever since i updated mine this morning, i can’t custom made the location anymore.

    any way to tackle this? or we just sit in until the they fix it?

    thanks you though for your time.

    Cheers.

  6. Do you know if this still works after the most recent update? I’ve been creating custom locations for a long time, and now when I type in my custom location, there is no “create location” popping up. :/

    Riah

    1. I noticed this last night! It does still work, but now you have to enable location use when using the app. Then, if you’ve got geotags on your picture, those locations should come up fine.

  7. do you have any idea how to edit custom locations on instagram? i accidentally added my home location instead of the actual location because there was no signal at that place where i actually was.

    1. Hi! I don’t think you can edit a custom location; you’ll probably just have to delete it. Once you put in a custom location, it can’t be changed. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

    1. Hi, Ella! If you followed all the steps, it should work. Double check your location settings for Instagram; they should be turned OFF so IG can read the geotags on your photo.

  8. Hi and thank you a lot for your helpful site. Can other people in same area find and use my custom location on their own posts? I dont want that but at least for my the custom location that option is avaible every time I’m at that location even if there is no post on Instagram on that specific custom location anymore. Thank you so much for answers!

    1. Hi, lady! No, other people cannot find or use your custom location for their own posts. It might seem that way if they create their own location with the same name, but it won’t bring up everything with that location name.

  9. To delete your location, you have to go to your photo map and press “Edit”. Then you can select the photo(s) you want to remove then press “Done”. Hope this helps!

  10. Since I already had a Facebook page and had to create a custom location to check-in, I then had to go in and merge the two pages together. We will see if this was a good or a bad idea (once of the fine print notices said that I may lose all previously uploaded content from one of the pages I’m merging).

  11. After looking into why our business wasn’t showing up as a location on Instagram, I FIGURED IT OUT!! Haha! And I thought I’d share with you.

    You were absolutely correct. In order for Instagram to recognize a location, you must “Check in” with it on Facebook first. That enables the location to appear in Facebook Places, which, in turn, enables it to appear in Instagram.

    I found the information for this here: https://www.facebook.com/help/175921872462772

    1. You’re welcome! And just as an update – the two pages merged successfully and I can now check in on Instagram without having a duplicate Facebook page!

  12. Looks like I’ve created a custom location incorrectly when trying to enter my website address. Is there a way to delete or edit once you’ve created a custom location? Thanks!

  13. Just read this article on how to create custom locations which are greyed out. This is happening to me, but I do not want this at all. I am currently trying to Create a new Geotag for my new business. When I upload a picture at the location, I have to create a new location. However, the location that comes up is Grey instead of blue.

    I have enabled location services for both Instagram and the Camera Function.

    Is there a reason why everyone else can create a Blue Geotag except for me? I do not believe I have changed my settings differently to my other friends who use Instagram.

    1. Sorry to hear this! If you have to create a location every time, it may be because your location isn’t currently listed as a location in Facebook or Google–Instagram might use Facebook Places since it’s owned by Facebook. It might be worth a look to ensure your business is listed on both. Good luck!

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