How to Post on Instagram from Mac

If you’d rather post on Instagram from your Mac than from your phone, here are the best options, including free and paid Mac apps and using a Mac’s web browser.

How to Post on Instagram from Mac
How to Post on Instagram from Mac
Last Updated:
Filed Under:

This post may include affiliate links. Read more.

Instagram was created for mobile devices, and Facebook has always been reluctant to make it easy to post to Instagram from a desktop or laptop computer. Ideally, they’d prefer you upload from your phone, using photos you took on the phone, and in real-time (or at least, non-automated).

Except that doesn’t work for everyone. As much as I love the convenience of the camera built into my phone, most of the photos I want to post to Instagram were taken with other cameras and processed on a desktop computer in good image editing software such as Lightroom.

I also don’t like writing captions using the phone’s keyboard–I’d much rather use the keyboard on my Mac, especially for longer captions (with less risk of autocorrect snafus). And you only have to look at some of Instagram’s most popular accounts for accounts that clearly aren’t posting from their phones. National Geographic isn’t posting mobile snaps, for instance. And those action shots of Christian Ronaldo were definitely not taken with a mobile phone.

Big brands like that use high-end social media management services to post to Instagram. For the rest of us, the most obvious workaround is to email the photos to yourself as attachments from your Mac, open them in your phone’s email app, and then upload them from your phone. It works reliably, and it’s pretty much foolproof, but it’s a pain to do that all the time. And it doesn’t solve the problem of typing captions on the phone (I will often include the caption in my email and then copy and paste it).

But there are better options that are much less cumbersome. So here’s a roundup of how to post on Instagram from Mac.

I’ve included third-party apps and browser tricks. Some are free; some are paid. There’s no official Instagram desktop app, and none of these has all the features of the Instagram mobile app, but these will all work on your Mac without having to break out your phone.

How to Post to Instagram from Mac’s Web Browser

This option is free and straightforward and doesn’t require installing anything on your computer or messing with settings. And it has recently gotten a lot easier now that Instagram has added posting tools to the Instagram.com website.

There used to be more steps to making the Instagram.com website accept uploads. Specifically, it’s known as spoofing the user agent. It fools the Instagram.com site into thinking that you’re accessing it via a mobile device rather than your Mac, so the website will serve up the version it gives to mobile devices, which is different from the layout and features it gives desktop computers. And that’s crucial, because up until recently, only the mobile version had the post feature.

But, after years of resisting such a move, Instagram has recently quietly introduced new tools that let you skip this step, and you can now post directly to Instagram from a Mac using a standard desktop web browser, no tricks or plugins required.

Now, when you log into Instagram from your Mac through Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, or another web browser, you’ll see a new upload icon in the top right. It’s not the camera icon–it’s a square with a plus sign in it. And it’s not particularly conspicuous, but it’s there. (Note: you’ll only see it when you’re logged into your account.)

How to Post on Instagram from Mac - Web Browser

You can’t do everything using this method. For instance, you can’t post Reels or Stories. But you can upload photos and videos (including multiples) to post to your Instagram feed. You can also apply filters and have some basic editing tools available. I have more details on this feature here.

How to Post to Instagram from Mac Apps

So you can use a web browser much more easily now. That’s a quick, simple, and free way to do it.

But there are also some Mac apps that can post photos and videos from a Mac to Instagram. Some are Mac-only; some have versions for PC or Mac. And they can offer their own advantages, especially if you’re posting regularly from your Mac.

Grids

This is my all-around favorite for posting to Instagram from my Mac. In addition to solid uploading features, it’s especially strong for viewing your feed.

Grids is a Mac-only app for posting to Instagram. It gives you similar functionality to what is available when using the Instagram.com website with a web browser while also getting extra controls for customizing the viewing experience.

How to Post on Instagram from Mac - Grids Mac App

Features

The first thing that you notice is the beautiful large viewing area. At the upper right corner is the menu bar that includes the upload button and more tools such as links to your Instagram profile.

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

Viewing Your Instagram Feed with Grids

Where Grids really excels is with the viewing experience, and while this post is about how to post to Instagram, I do think Grids’ tools for viewing Instagram posts are worth a special mention here.

The large grid layout is not only beautifully elegant, but it’s really useful for moving through large numbers of posts. So if you’re following a lot of Instagram feeds and find the endless scrolling of the Instagram app to be painfully slow, this is a great option.

For viewing, the default view is a grid of square images without the captions, but there are various ways you can change that–you can add space between the tiles, include a summary caption, or add the full captions. The stories links are along the top of the screen, just as they are in the Instagram app for mobile (you can remove them if you like in the preferences). You can change the size of the tiles and the background color.

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.

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

Where to Get Grids

You can find it in 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). And if you want to try Uplet and Grids side-by-side, signing up for the Setapp trial will give you access to both.

Uplet

Uplet is very simple and straightforward. While it lacks functionality that is in other options here, its strength is in how quick and simple it is to use.

Uplet is a third-party app dedicated Mac app specifically for uploading photos and videos to Instagram. It’s lightweight, easy to use, works without fuss. It’s bare-bones, but that also means it couldn’t be much simpler to use. If you’re on a Mac and looking for something straightforward, Uplet is well worth a look.

Features

Its core is a drop panel. Simply drop the photo or video files onto it, fill out the caption info, and hit send. It will then upload the photos and/or videos to the Instagram site.

How to Post on Instagram from Mac - Uplet Mac App

What you can do with Uplet:

  • Bulk upload of photos and videos (Note: each image becomes its own post, so it’s not using the carousel post feature).
  • Add caption and hashtags
  • Change crop from square (fill) to rectangular (fit)

What you can’t do with Uplet:

  • Schedule posts
  • Posting to Reels or Stories
  • Edit images or videos or apply filters
  • Add location
  • Tag accounts

You can upload multiple photos or videos at once. It’s important to note that each image/video posts as a single post–it doesn’t combine up to 10 into a carousel that’s a multi-image carousel in one post.

And I’ve found that the photos can often take a minute or two to appear on your feed.

Uplet doesn’t have any filters or advanced editing features, and in that respect, it’s even less functional than the website. But that simplicity is a big part of its appeal. It’s quick and straightforward.

Where to Get Uplet

It’s available directly from the developers.

My preferred the way to to get it is through the Setup subscription, which has a 7-day free trial. I’m a paying subscriber myself.

I’ve put together a more detailed guide on how to post on Instagram from Mac with Uplet that includes more details and more screenshots.

Deskgram

Deskgram offers features that aren’t available in other methods of posting to Instagram from Mac. But there are a few reasons it’s not my top recommendation.

How to Post on Instagram from Mac - Deskgram Mac App

Features

Of the Mac apps here, Deskgram has the most built-in features. There are versions for PC or Mac. It’s free, although it supports itself in some way by advertising (more on that below).

What you can do with Deskgram:

  • Upload photos and videos, including batch uploads
  • Very basic video editing (most adjusting the crop)
  • Post Instagram Stories
  • Post Instagram Reels
  • 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)

What you can’t do with Deskgram:

  • Scheduling posts to Instagram

Despite having the most features on paper, it’s not automatically my top choice for posting to Instagram from Mac. I have three main concerns:

  • I find the interface a bit clunky. As some examples, when you use the multiple upload tool, you can only select one image at a time. And for each image, you have to manually adjust the crop before proceeding–it doesn’t automatically choose the entire image. Once you’ve added an image, you can’t go back and edit its tags. And the video editing functionality is extremely basic, mostly consisting of adjusting the crop.
  • I’d like more clarity about how it complies with Instagram’s terms of service. Particularly the Reels and Stories features.
  • It’s unclear to me what this app does to support development. There’s no fee, and it’s advertised as “100% free.” But if you go digging in the terms of service, you’ll find this part, which I’m uneasy about:

This Service is supported by advertising revenue and will display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Deskgram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.

So while Deskgram looks promising on paper and has functionality that the other methods of posting from Mac to Instagram don’t have (i.e., Reels and Stories), it’s not one I’m personally continuing to use or recommend.

Where to Get Deskgram

You can download it directly from the developer.

Other Alternatives for Instagram Apps on Mac

Here are some other alternatives that are available but that I’ve found less useful for one reason or another.

Instagram on PC via Bluestacks. Bluestacks is an Android mobile emulator that runs on your desktop. You can then install and run mobile apps inside it, including the Instagram app. I’ve never been able to get this to work properly on Mac, but your mileage might vary.

Flume Pro is a Mac Instagram client that I found to work well some time ago, but I no longer use or recommend it. I’ve received several reports from readers more recently that it is no longer working as expected with full functionality, and it appears to have been abandoned.

Social Media Manager Services

There’s another method of posting to Instagram from Mac (or any other computer, for that matter). And that’s with a dedicated social media management service. These operate as online services, and therefore the type of computer you’re using doesn’t matter.

They’re paid services and geared (and priced) more toward business use. And they can be very powerful, adding features like sophisticated post scheduling, consolidating multiple social media accounts, support for team access, and so on. They also offer features like detailed analytics and publishing tools.

Their features vary from service to service, but if social media is an important part of your business–and especially if you’re playing the role of a social media manager overseeing multiple social media streams–these are well worth a look:

  • Tailwind. Social media dashboard specializing in Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Free trial.
  • Hootsuite. Full-featured social media dashboard. Free 30-day trial.
  • Later. Full-featured social media dashboard. Free 14-day trial.
  • Sendible. Full-featured social media dashboard. Free 14-day trial.
  • Later. Full-featured social media dashboard. Free 14-day trial.
  • Buffer. Sophisticated posting queue that works across social media accounts. Free-forever basic account / free 14-day trial on more advanced Essentials account.

Things Worth Knowing & FAQs

Will using these apps lead to my account being banned?

I can’t give a definitive answer to this, but it’s a good question and a perfectly valid concern. Instagram is notorious for suspending or closing accounts for reasons that aren’t always clear.

In general, it seems to come down far more often to how you’re using it rather than a specific tool or method. Misusing even the official Instagram app or the official Instagram.com website will get you banned if you go against Instagram’s ever-growing and ever-changing and not-always-clear list of offenses. So no posts showing nudity, talking about weight loss, stealing others’ content, spamming, cross-posting to multiple accounts at once, and so on.

There are some general rules of thumb:

  • Don’t overdo it. Many of these apps have the facility to bulk post rapidly. But if you overdo it, at best, Instagram will throttle your new posts; at worst, it could lead to a suspension or ban. You don’t want Instagram’s AI gatekeepers to see your enthusiasm for posting and interpret it as spam. Just because tools make it possible to upload hundreds of posts a day doesn’t mean you should.
  • Don’t IP address-hop. Quickly posting from different devices or IP addresses might trigger an Instagram red flag. So, again, moderation is key. This kind of behavior might be interpreted as spam.
  • Follow the normal rules for posts. Pay particular attention to the Instagram Community Guidelines. Those rules aren’t always as clear as they could be, are often open to interpretation, and enforcement can sometimes seem arbitrary, but they are enforced (albeit with a varying degree of effectiveness and vigor).

What is the Best Size to Use to Upload Photos to Instagram?

The photos you upload should be at least 1080 pixels on the shortest side. The images won’t display that large anywhere on the site.

You can post square images, rectangular images, or panoramas.

How do you use Instagram on a Mac?

There’s no dedicated Instagram app for Mac (or Windows, for that matter). And the mobile app is still the most feature-rich option for posting to Instagram (aside from scheduling).

For viewing and posting photos to your Instagram feed, the simplest option is to use a web browser. Instagram has recently added basic posting functionality to the website that’s accessible through a desktop web browser without any fancy tricks. It allows you to upload photos and videos without installing anything.

If you’re posting more regularly from your Mac, a third-party app or social media management service might be a good option. For a simple Mac app to post to Instagram, Uplet is a good choice. The main appeal is less about functionality than its clean interface.

If you want to schedule posts to Instagram from your Mac, one of the paid social media management services–such as Hootsuite, Buffer, Sendible, Later, or Tailwind–give you a lot of flexibility for scheduling manually or by using recommendations on the best time to post to Instagram.

Do I need to upgrade my Instagram account to a business account?

For most of the methods outlined on this page, you don’t need to upgrade your account to an Instagram business account.

But that is something that’s required for the scheduling feature of social media manager apps such as Hootsuite, Sendible, Buffer, or Tailwind.

How do I post on Instagram from my Mac with Safari?

Until recently, if you wanted to use Safari (or any other desktop web browser) to post to Instagram, you had to jump through a few extra steps to set up the developer tools.

That’s no longer the case. Instagram has recently added tools to upload photos and videos directly through the main website. So you can just log into your Instagram account through a Safari browser window, and the upload button will be in the menu bar at the top right corner of the screen.

The desktop version still doesn’t have all the functionality of the official mobile app, but it’s a big step in that direction.

Is there a mobile app for iPads?

No. You can use the regular iPhone app, but there’s no special version for iPads to view or post on Instagram.

Wrap Up

There’s frankly no perfect option for Mac users who want to post to Instagram from their desktop. None of the available options has the complete set of features of the official Instagram mobile app.

So it’s a matter of choosing a method based on your priorities. All of them allow you to post images and videos, but once you start getting beyond that, their features differ.

Leave a Comment