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. Here, we show you how to use Instagram on a Mac.

The biggest complaint people have with using Instagram on the Mac though 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 workaround that allows you to upload images to Instagram from your Mac - after all if you have edited them there you won't want to move them to another device in order to share them.

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.

How to upload photos to Instagram from a Mac

Instagram is first-and-foremost designed to be used on a mobile device, but you can view, like and comment on photos and videos on the desktop site. Just visit www.instagram.com and login to your account.

You can't, however, upload photos or videos to your account there - or at least you can't at first glance. However, 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.

  1. Open Safari and head to Safari > Preferences > Advanced.
  2. Make sure Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar is toggled on.
  3. Head to the Instagram website and log in to your account.
  4. Then select Develop (from the menu bar) > User Agent > Safari - iOS 11.3 iPhone (or whatever version is newer).

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 and edit your photos.

  1. Select the Your Story icon in the top left.
  2. If you see a message to rotate your device you should be able to fix that by dragging the edge of the window inwards so that the window is narrower.
  3. Browse for the image you'd like to post and double click or select Choose.
  4. You'll then see a preview of the image (and potentially a request for Instagram to know your location).
  5. You can add stamps or drawer on your image using the tools. 
  6. 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.
  7. Once you have input your text and click on Add to your story.
  8. 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.
  9. When you are happy with the image click on Add to your story. 

There used to be some basic editing options (rotate, choice between 16:9 or square aspect ratio) but these no longer appear.

The drawbacks to using this technique? It works best with Portrait images (landscape gets cropped). Nor can you upload videos this way. You also lose access to Instagram's advanced editing option and range of filters. 

Those are big drawbacks, but there are workarounds available.

How to upload Instagram photos from 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 get the filters too.

You can add Mobile as a web panel in Vivaldi and always use that setting when you visit Instagram.

Here's how:

  1. Download the Vivaldi browser here. We had to install version 2.2.
  2. Go to Instagram.com and log in.
  3. Click on the + icon in the bar on the left.
  4. The Instagram URL will appear in the box under Add Web Panel.
  5. Now click on the Web Panel and a page will open up on the left that shows the mobile version of the Instagram website.
  6. According to Vivaldi you should be able to click on the camera icon and add images.

We tried this and we couldn't get past the "rotate your device" issue, but you may have more success.

Best Instagram apps for Mac

There are a number of third-party apps available on the Mac App Store that offer a range of abilities, from being able to browse your feed to checking your notifications and – unlike the website – allowing you to post images from your Mac onto Instagram.

Flume

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 and video 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 via an in-app purchase to Flume Pro. It's also no longer available via the Mac App Store so you'll need to download it from the Flume website. You can download Flume for free here.

Uplet

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 on the Mac App Store 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 also be found on the Uplet website. Like Flume, it's no longer available on the Mac App Store.

How to use an Emulator to upload photos to Instagram

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.

How to use Instagram on Mac - Bluestacks

Once downloaded, you'll need to setup 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 into your Instagram account, and use the app as you would if you were using a mobile device. This means you can upload photos without being forced to use your phone.