Instagram, the ever-popular app that allows you to share photos and videos with your friends, family and followers isn't limited to just your phone or tablet. While there's no official app available, we can show you how to use Instagram on a Mac.
The biggest complaint people have with using Instagram on the Mac is that while you can browse images, and even like and comment on them, you can't upload images. So in this article, we will show you a couple of workarounds that allow you to upload images, videos and carousel posts to Instagram from your Mac.
The Instagram web experience
While there's no official Instagram for Mac app available to download, users of the social network do have the option of heading to Instagram.com on a Mac. The basic web app gives you access to your main Instagram feed, allowing you to browse through photos and videos that friends have posted as well as liking and commenting.
Instagram rolled out Stories support shortly after launching the web app, allowing you to view the temporary posts on the big screen, and in January 2020, the company started testing support for Direct Messages via the web app. It's only available for a small percentage of users right now, but it should hopefully be rolled out worldwide soon.
There's no denying that the Instagram website has been vastly improved since it first launched, but there's still no native way to post images or videos either to your feed or to your Instagram Story...
How to upload photos to Instagram from a Mac
While you can't use the standard Instagram website to upload photos on a Mac, there is a way to 'trick' Instagram into thinking you're accessing the site via an iPhone, which does allow for photo uploads. We'll show you how to make Instagram think you are on an iPhone so you can upload images.
Step 1: Make Instagram think you're on an iPhone
First things first, before we can fool Instagram into letting us upload an image we need to make it think we are in fact using an iPhone.
- Open Safari and head to Safari > Preferences > Advanced.
- Make sure Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar is toggled on.
- Head to the Instagram website and log in to your account.
- Then select Develop (from the menu bar) > User Agent > Safari - iOS 12.1.3 - iPhone (or whatever version is newest).
Now the Instagram website should automatically reload (manually refresh if not) and display the mobile version of the site, complete with upload functionality.
Step 2: Upload photos to Instagram from your Mac
Now, to use your Mac to upload your photos:
- Tap the + icon on the toolbar at the bottom of your Instagram feed.
- Browse for the image you'd like to post, select it and click Choose.
- You can expand the cropped square image by tapping the arrow icon on the bottom-left of the image preview, and tapping the right icon allows you to rotate the photo.
- You can also click the Filter tab to browse for, and apply, a filter to your image.
- Once you've edited your photo and are ready to post, click Next.
- Add a caption, location and/or tags and you're ready to post to your feed.
- Hit Share to upload the image.
Step 3: Upload photos to Instagram Stories from your Mac
- Select the Your Story icon in the top left.
- Browse for the image you'd like to post and double click or select Choose.
- You'll then see a preview of the image (and potentially a request for Instagram to know your location).
- You can add stamps or draw on your image using the tools.
- If you'd like to add text to your image click on the Aa in the top right. Whatever you type will appear in the centre of the image once you select Done.
- Once you have input your text and click on Add to your story.
- If you don't want to post the image click on the X in the top left. You can choose to Keep or Discard the image.
- When you are happy with the image click on Add to your story.
The drawbacks of using this technique to post to Instagram Stories? It works best with Portrait images (landscape gets cropped). Nor can you upload videos this way.
Those are big drawbacks, but there are workarounds available.
How to upload Instagram photos via Vivaldi
One of the lesser-known Mac web browsers is Vivaldi and it just so happens that you can post images to Instagram using Vivaldi without any of the complications described above.
You can add Mobile as a web panel in Vivaldi and always use that setting when you visit Instagram.
- Download the Vivaldi browser. We had to install version 2.8.
- Go to Instagram.com and log in.
- Click on the + icon in the bar on the left.
- The Instagram URL will appear in the box under Add Web Panel.
- Now click on the Web Panel and a page will open up on the left that shows the mobile version of the Instagram website.
- According to Vivaldi, you should be able to click on the camera icon and add images to your Instagram Story or click the plus icon to add photos to your Instagram feed.
Best Instagram apps for Mac
There is a handful of third-party Instagram apps available on the Mac App Store that offer a range of abilities, from being able to browse your feed to checking your notifications to posting images from your Mac onto the social network.
Among the most popular is Flume, which presents your Instagram feed in a stylish window with swipe support and hidden menus for a clean and intuitive experience.
At a glance, it appears that the app just shows a stream of pictures with no text, and no options to like or comment. However, clicking a photo will bring up the caption, along with icons that'll allow you to comment on the photo and like it.
The app also shows your recent notifications, top pictures and even offers curated profile recommendations based on what you post.
It also includes the ability to use Instagram Direct, allowing users to share media, profiles, hashtags and more privately.
The most impressive feature of Flume, though, is its photo, video and carousel upload support, a feature offered by very few third-party Instagram apps. Just hover your mouse over the bottom left of the app and the menu will appear. You can then click the camera icon and either take a photo or video right there and then, or upload one from your Mac.
There is a catch, though: Flume is free to download but with a limited number of uploads before you'll need to upgrade to Flume Pro ($24) via the Flume website. You can download Flume for free here.
While Uplet doesn't offer the ability to browse your Instagram feed natively, it does offer features that power-users may be interested in. Uplet is a simple app available for download that allows users to drag and drop photos & videos and bulk upload them to Instagram in a few seconds - but there's more.
You can edit each photo and video like on Instagram, and add individual captions to each photo. It also has the crop option featured in the app, allowing users the ability to upload either the original or square-size photo.
While this isn't for casual users, it allows those die-hard Instagram fans to upload multiple posts all at once. Our only complaint? It is yet to support the new Instagram multi-photo post option, although we imagine support will be coming in the near future.
Uplet costs £9.99, but a free (limited) demo can be found on the Uplet website.
Bluestacks Android Emulator
Another way to upload photos to Instagram from a Mac is an emulator. One of the most consistent and trusted emulators we've come across is Bluestacks, a free Android emulator that can be downloaded here.
Once downloaded, you'll need to set up an emulated Android device. For this, you'll need a Google account and a Bluestacks account, and you'll need to link the two within Bluestacks. Once that's done, you can use the Android emulator to navigate to the Play Store (which is Android's equivalent of the App Store) and download Instagram.
You can then sign in to your Instagram account, and use the app as you would if you were using a mobile device.
On a related note, here's how to upload a full-size photo on iPhone to Instagram. And if you'd rather use the social network on a tablet, have a read of How to get Instagram on iPad.