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.
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.
Upload photos to Instagram on a Mac using Safari
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. There is a way to 'trick' Instagram into thinking you're accessing the site via an iPhone, which does allow for photo uploads.
How to make Instagram think you are 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 Preferences > Advanced and 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 11 - iPhone.
Now the Instagram website should automatically reload (manually refresh if not) and display the mobile version of the site, complete with upload functionality.
How to upload photos to Instagram from your Mac
Now to use your Mac to upload and edit your photos.
- Select the Camera icon in the top left.
- 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.
- Browse for the image you'd like to post and double click or select Choose.
- You'll then see a preview of the image.
- You can add text to your image if you 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 press Done you will see colour options.
- If you don't want to post the image click on the X in the top left.
- 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? You can only upload 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.
Upload photos to Instagram via third-party apps
There are a number of third-party apps available 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.
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.
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.
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 emultator 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. This means you can upload photos without being forced to use your phone.