Grids – An Instagram Desktop App for Mac Test & Review

Grids is a third-party Instagram desktop app for Mac that offers a great way to view Instagram feeds as well as tools to upload photos and videos to Instagram directly from your Mac. Here’s how it works.

Grids Instagram Desktop App for Mac
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:

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Instagram is, first and foremost, a mobile service. They’d prefer that you upload from your phone, using photos you took on the phone, and in real-time. And they want you to scroll and scroll so that you get to see plenty of ads in your feed.

But that doesn’t work for everybody. While it’s super-convenient to have a good camera built into my phone, most of the photos I want to post to Instagram were taken with y other cameras and processed on a desktop computer in good image editing software such as Lightroom.

Using a phone’s keyboard is also tedious for long captions–and prone to autocorrect freakouts. I much prefer to type long captions on a proper keyboard.

You can, of course, email the photo and caption to yourself and then copy & paste it into the Instagram mobile app. It’s a reliable way to do it, but it’s also slow and tedious. But there are some other better options.

I’ve previously written a guide on how to post on Instagram from Mac that includes a range of good alternatives. It’s one of those that I’m focusing on here: the Grids app.

Grids Mac App for Instagram

Grids is a third-party Instagram desktop app for Mac. Grids is a paid Mac app that’s available as a standalone app in the Mac App Store or as part of the large suite of great apps in a Setapp subscription.

It’s been around a while now–the first version was released in October 2014–but it seems to have mostly flown under the radar. It has only been fairly recently that I’ve taken to using it regularly. But, for me, the appealing part of Grids isn’t the posting part–although that’s useful to have–but the viewing part.

Grids is an especially good way to browse your Instagram feed.

Viewing Your Instagram Feed with Grids

Where Grids really excels is with the viewing experience.

At the core of the app is a big, beautiful window of posts.

Grids Instagram Desktop App for Mac - Viewing Grid
This feed is from Salzburg-based architectural photographer Dirk Obracay. You can follow his Instagram @dirkobracay.

The default view is a grid of square images without the captions, but there are various ways you can customize that.

Grids Instagram Desktop App for Mac
The photos in this feed are by London-based Selaru Ovidiu, one of my favorite photographers. You can find his Instagram @ovidiuselaru_ and his website here.
Grids on Instagram @dcinbnw
This is one of my Instagram accounts: @dcinbnw.

For example, you can increase the padding between the tiles, display a shortened version of the text information, display the full captions, or change the layout to rectangular images. You can also switch the background color between black and white.

Grids Instagram Desktop App for Mac - Preferences Screen

Stories are available along the top of the screen, just as in the Instagram mobile app. (You can also disable them for a cleaner screen.)

Grids Instagram Desktop App for Mac Layout Screen

And there are some options to enhance the viewing experience. You can turn off ads, for example, so they’re not cluttering up your feed. I’m not sure how Instagram feels about that feature, but it’s there, and I like it.

Overall, I find Grids a really nice way to view Instagram.

Uploading to Instagram from Grids

In addition to viewing your Instagram feed, you can also use Grids to upload to Instagram from your Mac. It doesn’t have all of the features of the official Instagram mobile app–none of the third-party apps do–but it can still be a very convenient method for posting directly from your Mac without breaking out your phone. That includes uploading multiple photos and videos, adding captions and locations, and so on.

Grids Instagram Desktop App for Mac Upload Photos and Videos from Mac

What you can do with Grids:

  • Upload photos and videos, including bulk uploads (up to 10 photos / carousel posts)
  • Post Instagram Stories
  • Adding a custom cover image for videos and reels
  • Works with any account (your Instagram account doesn’t need to be upgraded to a business account)
  • Cross-post to Facebook
  • Switch between multiple accounts
  • Add location
  • Tag accounts

What you can’t do with Grids:

  • Scheduling posts to Instagram
  • Instagram Reels
  • Edit photos or videos or apply Instagram filters

Where to Get Grids

You can find Grids in the Mac App Store. You can download it for free, but to unlock the full functionality, you will need to use an in-app purchase to get a license for $2.49/month or $12.99/year. UPDATE: As of July 2023, it appears that the app has been removed from the Mac App Store.

It’s also available as part of the Setapp service, which gives you full access to a couple of hundred great Mac apps for a flat monthly rate (free for 7 days, then $9.99/month).

Profile photo of David Coleman | Have Camera Will Travel | Washington DC-based Professional Photographer

Text & Photos by David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.