Instagram supports multiple applications through its developer-end API, which enables various apps to post to or share content with the Instagram service. In order to ensure stable performance, Instagram protects its servers with a rate limit. If you or an application with access to your Instagram account attempts to use the API too many times, you'll be temporarily locked out.

Wait a Few Minutes

The easiest solution to Instagram's rate limit lock is waiting a few minutes. Instagram automatically restores access to your account once you're under the rate limit again. Unless you've been permanently banned, you can then log back in to your Instagram account within a few minutes of the rate limit activating. Use the official Instagram app or website to be certain you're not signing in through an API-spamming app.

Reset Your Connection

Resetting your network connection is sometimes helpful in restoring access to your Instagram account. Open your phone's wireless settings menu and enter airplane mode, if the option is available. This resets all of your phone's connections. Turn airport mode off again, and then try reconnecting. If you're trying to log in from a PC or a Mac, disconnect from the network, and then reconnect via the computer's networking options menu.

Check Your Applications

If you've been rate limited by Instagram but you weren't uploading multiple photos in short succession or writing dozens of comments, it's possible one of your applications is attempting to update Instagram without your knowledge. Look through each application you use and delete the ones you have given access to Instagram. From the Web, log in to Instagram, select “Edit Profile,” and then click “Manage Applications” to disable apps with access to Instagram.

Automated API Calls

Most applications use manual API calls to interact with Instagram -- in other words, they only send data to the service when you ask them to. However, some apps perform automatic API calls in the background; these calls are invisible to you. Instagram rate limits or even blocks apps that make too many API calls. Avoid this problem by sticking with the official Instagram app, and be careful with granting Instagram access to the apps you choose to use.