How to Use Instagram on a PC or Mac

Instagram workarounds and ways to upload photos from your desktop

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

The free, popular Instagram social networking app makes it easy to take, share, and edit images on mobile devices. Its filters add unique and often stunning effects to photos. Here's how to use Instagram on a desktop PC or Mac computer.

Instagram on a Desktop

You can access Instagram on your PC or Mac using a web browser to review your feed, like and comment on posts, view your profile, and follow or unfollow people. Instagram also recently added the ability to send and receive direct messages. You can't, however, post photos or videos. But, there are workarounds you can try.

To access your Instagram page on the web, go to the address bar in the browser, then enter http://instagram.com/username.

How to Post on Instagram From a PC

This method uses the Google Chrome code inspector tool to trick Instagram into believing you're posting from a mobile device. Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to Instagram.com and log in.

  2. Right-click a blank area in the browser window and select Inspect.

    You can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+Shift+I.

    The Inspect command
  3. Select the Toggle device toolbar icon. It looks like a phone and a tablet.

    The Toggle Device Toolbar button
  4. The Inspector view on the left side changes and drop-down menus appear at the top. Select the Responsive drop-down menu and choose a mobile device from the list.

    The Responsive menu
  5. Go to the Zoom drop-down menu and choose Fit to Window.

    The Zoom menu
  6. The Instagram app now resembles the mobile version, complete with the plus sign for posting photos and videos. Click it to open the browser and select what you want to post.

    If you don't see the plus sign, press F5 to refresh the browser screen.

    The Add button on Instagram

How to Post on Instagram From a Mac

Like the PC workaround, the Mac workaround tricks the Safari web browser into thinking you're on an iOS device.

  1. Open Safari, go to the Safari menu, then chose Preferences.

    Alternatively, press Command+, (comma) on the keyboard.

    Safari with the Preferences menu item highlighted
  2. Select Advanced.

    The Advanced tab
  3. Select the Show Develop menu in menu bar check box.

    The Show Develop option in Safari settings
  4. Go to Instagram.com and log in to your account.

  5. Select Develop > User Agent > Safari.

    The User Agent menu in Safari
  6. The Instagram website automatically refreshes and displays the mobile version of the site. Upload your photo as you normally would.

    If the page doesn't automatically reload, refresh it manually.

Use the Instagram for Windows Desktop App

The Instagram for Windows desktop app works the same as the web version. You can't post photos or videos, but you can view posts, like and comment, and follow and unfollow users. Instagram for Windows doesn't work with older PCs or Macs, though.

Instagram for Windows requires Windows 10 version 10586.0 or higher and 2 GB of RAM. A Microsoft account is needed to download Instagram for Windows.

Instagram for Windows.

Workarounds for Older Computers

If you want to post photos and videos to Instagram from your desktop and you have a Mac or older PC that can't run the Instagram for Windows app, there are some workarounds.

BlueStacks

BlueStacks is a free Android phone emulator. It emulates the Android version of Instagram on a PC or Mac, enabling you to upload photos to Instagram.

An emulator is a software program that simulates a mobile phone operating system (or another type of operating system) on a computer.

Install BlueStacks, then download Instagram. Sign in to your Instagram account, and your Instagram feed appears as it does on a phone.

The BlueStacks emulators download page, showing a screen from the app.

Flume

Flume is a Mac-only Instagram app that allows you to upload photos, post to Instagram from a Mac, edit photos, and more. It also includes some power user functions the mobile Instagram app doesn't offer, such as hover shortcuts and ways to promote your brand.

Email

If there's a photo on your desktop computer you want to post on Instagram, a low-tech solution is to email yourself the picture, access that picture from your phone, then post it to Instagram.

Dropbox

Use Dropbox, the free cloud-based storage app, to share photos on your desktop computer to your mobile device, then access those photos in Instagram.

Pixlr

Pixlr isn't a desktop Instagram workaround. Instead, it's a photo app with features similar to Instagram. Pixlr calls itself a "next-generation online photo editor."

The Pixlr home page.