Using Instagram On Desktop PC or Mac


So you want to use Instagram on a computer instead of just a mobile device?

You want to be able to upload photos to the social media app from your desktop PC or Mac?

No problem…

Well there is a problem! But one that can easily be solved. Instagram lacks a desktop experience. It was never designed to be used, other than for browsing, on a desktop. It limits desktop users on how much they can post, see and engage with if they’re logged in on a PC or Mac.

You see…

Instagram was designed to have you share instant photos and video clips of your everyday life. It was never supposed to be used properly on a PC or Mac.


Most people who manage marketing campaigns, in particular, really need to be able to use a desktop to upload new photos and share content online. Also, users would love to use their PC or Mac to access the effects or filters for enhancing pictures.

The Basics

Instagram does allow a Desktop user some basic functions. For example, logging in to Instagram on a browser will allow you to scroll through your feed and like all of your friends’ photos.

You can also read your notifications and explore the platform content but there is no function to upload photos or watch Instagram stories. Well not unless you know how!

Instagram users have had access to their Instagram feed on the web, and they’ve had some capabilities for saving photos from Instagram.

But Instagram’s website does not allow uploading images directly from a computer; they’re simply designed to display what people have uploaded.

A lot of people enjoy Instagram so much they really want to be able to use a full-featured version on their laptops or desktop computers. Instagram did start changing this in early 2016, by offering the Instagram for Windows app in the Microsoft Store. Of course, it’s still only available on Windows 8 and Windows 10 PCs, so older computers and Apple Mac devices still need a workaround.

To Upload Photos to Instagram using Safari

If you’re using Safari go into Preferences and select Advanced.

Next select “Show Develop menu” in menu bar that shows. Its usually at the bottom of the menu options.

You then should open a private Safari window, go into Develop, then User Agent, and select Safari > iOS 10 and onwards > iPhone.

By putting Safari into this mode, it will let you view any website as if you were on your phone. When you log into Instagram you’ll now see the camera button at the bottom of the screen and you can upload photos by selecting this icon as if you were on a mobile.

If you’re on a PC or Mac and using Chrome

More often than not, using Chrome to access Instagram on a Desktop is a bit easier. The trick you are looking to achieve to be able to post Intsgram photos is to get the camera button to appear in its usual mobile device place at the bottom of the screen.

So here’s what you do. Log into Instagram via Chrome and then right click the page to get a drop down menu to show on the screen. You can noramlly right click anywhere on the page to get this to show. Then select “Inspect” and on the expanded developer screen that shows click on the small Tablet icon near the top of the screen. It looks like a small Table / mobile device.

This will automatically switch your page to mobile view, which means that you should then see the Camera button at the bottom of the screen. Job Done!

If for any reason it doesn’t show first time, browse away from the page and come back and retry.

To View Instagram Stories on Desktop PC or Apple Mac

The Instagram Stories feature is not automatically available on a desktop either.

However, if you install a Google Chrome extension on your web browser you will also be able to watch these as if you were using a mobile device.

The Chrome extension is free and it’s really simple to use. Simply visit the extension store and browse for Chrome IG Story and install this.  You will then be able to see all your friends’ stories in their normal place at the top of the screen.

Workarounds for Instagram on Older PCs and Macs

Here’s some workarounds for PCs that don’t have access to the Windows Store but they do require some technical knowledge and experience. One solution is to install a programme to simulate a mobile phone operating system on your computer, called a phone emulator. This will allow you to run mobile apps on your Desktop PC or Mac.

One emulator is the BlueStacks App Player. You will need to download the app and install it to your machine and then search for “Instagram” using the app’s search interface.

To upload the photos via this approach you will need to install a seperate media uploader. One programme that will provide this option is Flume (for Mac). If you’re a Windows user, the app Gramblr offers an uploader that is simple to install and use.

Perhaps the most basic way of overcoming the problem, and the lowest tech solution is to just email the photo you want to share on Instagram to yourself or a colleague. Then you can pick up the email on your mobile and share the photo via the mobile app as normal to Instagram.

Obviously you can also use the cloud to share photos from your Desktop PC or Mac to a mobile device and upload that way. For example use Dropbox. Make sure your photos are uploaded to Dropbox, then using your mobile find the photos you want to share in your Dropbox account and share them on Instagram. This will not allow you to access to Instagram’s photo filters but does at least let you share them on Instagram.

There are a range of Instagram related programmes and apps for desktop computers. The only hitch is none of them provide the function to upload photos to Instagram. However, some of them are useful for other Instagram tasks. One such app is called Instagram for PC.

Instagram FAQs

For more information and any changes to their platform I suggest you check out the official Instagram FAQs and User’s Guide on its website.

October 8, 2018