Instagram’s New Update Includes Good and Bad Changes for Locations

One of my most popular articles on this blog is how to add geotags to your photos so you can tag them in the correct location. Well, Instagram’s August 17th update (version 7.4) has made some of that post irrelevant. With the new update, you no longer have to turn off Location settings!

Previously, in order to add a location that you were not currently in, you had to have your Location Services settings turned off in order to force the app to rely on the geotag data in your photo. Now, you’ll need to make sure Instagram’s Location Services are turned to “While Using the App.” For iPhone iOS 8 users, this means you’ll go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > and then find Instagram in the list of apps.

instagram location permissions

Once Location Services is turned on, Instagram will default to using the geotag data in the photo, not your current location.

I’m really happy about this upgrade! So happy that Instagram is finally on the same page as users when it comes to tagging the photos we love!

To learn more about adding geotags to photos that don’t have them, check out this post, which offers step-by-step instructions and visuals.

And now, the downside.

The new update also removes the ability to add custom locations, which you could do previously. If you’ve created custom locations previously, they are no longer available to choose when tagging your location.

This is sure to make a lot of people angry, especially bloggers and marketers.

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!

Are you excited about the new update? Have questions? Post them here.


  1. Great post thanks so much Fatemeh Fakhraie! Of particular help was the last paragraph citing “Helpful Reader Zack” and his workaround – much appreciated – I’ve been confounded about this issue – worked like a charm

  2. Sara, are you trying to create a location or just find one? IG no longer allows you to create locations by typing them in.

    If you’re not able to find locations, make sure your IG settings in your iPhone allow IG to use your location. If you’re still not able, I would ask IG directly.

    Good luck!

  3. I used to be able to put locations in and all of a sudden no longer works even though in settings it has a tick next to while using. If I try and put a location in I get absolutely no options of locations coming up….. just totally blank!! Help!!!

  4. Geotagging is also not working on my IG, and I am confident I have all settings correct. I’m not sure how to troubleshoot this??

  5. Mine keeps showing no results even w the location on I need this for my buisness is there anything I can do ?

  6. To those who having problem add location(search location/couldn’t load location error). I tried this:

    Setting> Location Services> Off- off for 20 mins, then on back and try again,,

  7. I tried creating a Facebook location like it says to do on their site but it didn’t work and still won’t show up as a location. Any help?

  8. Hey Poppy,

    I have deleted Instagram because they stated custom locations are not going back, and neither the ability to place photos on the map without setting a specified location. I’m switching to Flickr now, its map functionality is much better.

  9. Thank you, Fatemeh. Unfortunately Instagram’s lack of development transparency and the fact it’s impossible to actually make a ticket or contact the support makes me complain about this here, in your blog I only discovered today, hoping Instagram’s devs will notice.

    Thanks for your time.

  10. I hate that I can’t add a custom location. As silly as it sounds. Sometimes I want to name places that are not real to a photo. I know in the past I have named some of my sailing photos as Secret Location ….it was for fun but it the post a little more fun. I also have a nickname for my favorite camping spots and I can not do that anymore. I wish more used it and there was enough people upset about the change to reverse the NO custom location change. Instagram is maturing and getting more like FB and less carefree and fun.

  11. After I updated the app, two of my more recent uploaded pictures lost their geotags and stopped appearing on the map (although they did before the update). And when I upload new photos, Instagram doesn’t add them to the map althought they have their geotag data. I am confident I have all the right settings and this is just very upsetting. My dream was to make my photo map as complete as possible, and now everything is ruined.

  12. Thanks for the info Fatemeh! OK, I went back to my photo of the mosque I posted on Sunday (when I came back up to PDX, wasn’t able to find the correct geotag – though I didn’t try turning off location though, I don’t think) and was able to get the right location! So if I understand correctly, this was made possible with the new update! :D Love that part of the update for sure!

    I never really used custom locations, so not really upset with that feature being taken away.

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