How to Post Photos on Instagram from a Desktop Computer or Laptop

Instagram is designed for mobile devices. But that doesn't work for everyone. So here are some options for posting to Instagram from your computer without using the mobile app.

In early 2018, Instagram revised their API to allow third-party apps to post to Instagram in some circumstances. While it adds the ability to schedule posts, not all of the usual Instagram features are available. Several social media management services like Buffer, Sendible, and Hootsuite offer this functionality now.

Instagram is first and foremost designed as a mobile app. You’re really supposed to upload from your phone, using photos you took on the phone, and in real-time (or at least, non-automated).

But that doesn’t work for everyone. Maybe you like to edit your photos in something like Lightroom first. Maybe you want to upload photos or video taken on a camera that’s not your phone. Or maybe you just don’t like typing long captions on your phone and would prefer to use a real keyboard.

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Sure, you can email the photos from your computer to your phone, save them on your phone, and then upload through the Instagram app. But that’s pretty cumbersome and tedious. You can also use something like Hootsuite to schedule your Instagram posts, but their approach really only gets you halfway there and doesn’t bypass the need to use your phone to do the actual posting–it’s more like a reminder service. Buffer and Sendible tackle it basically the same way.

But other options do exist that might work better for some Instagram users, whether you’re using it for social media marketing or sharing photos privately with friends and family.

Here are several other ways to post from your PC directly to Instagram without needing to use your phone. They include third-party apps and browser tricks. Some are free; some are paid. Some work on both Mac and Windows; some work on only one or the other. Each app or service and hack works a bit differently, and each has its own pros and cons.

Two things to note. Firstly, Instagram very strongly encourages users to upload images from their mobile devices, and it’s not unheard of for accounts to be flagged or even closed when uploading from other sources, especially when it involves multiple images. So if you choose to use a third-party app to upload to Instagram, it’s worth doing so with some caution.

Secondly, to interact with Instagram and post on your account, some of these apps and services require your login details. Unless otherwise noted, I have used the apps and services listed here and haven’t come across any adverse consequences, but you should still be cautious before handing over login details to third-party services. The safest options are ones like the user-agent spoofing method where you don’t hand over your login details to third-parties.

Via a Web Browser

Normally, when you open the Instagram site in your desktop’s web browser you get a stripped-down version of the site. It allows you to do some things like comment on photos, but it doesn’t include a way to create new posts.

Several newer browsers have a function that can be used to make the Instagram site think you’re accessing it with a mobile device so that the posting feature becomes available. It’s called user agent spoofing. You can do it yourself–I’ve put together a detailed guide on how to use user agent spoofing with Instagram with major browsers–or you can use a browser plugin that does the heavy lifting for you, such as Desktop for Instagram or User-Agent Switcher for the Chrome browser.

Advantages of this method are that it’s free and doesn’t require installing a third-party app or plugin (unless you’re going the browser plugin route, of course). It also doesn’t require you to hand over your login credentials to a third party. But there are also disadvantages–not all Instagram features are available through the website. So you might run into limitations on features such as in-photo tagging, multi-photo posts, or stories. And there’s no way to schedule posts using this method.

Uplet

Uplet is one of the simplest options if you’re using a Mac. It’s a third-party paid app available at the Mac App Store.

It’s very simple, but it gets the job done. I’ve found it to be lightweight, easy to use, and to work as advertised.

Its core is a drop panel. Simply drop the photo files onto it, fill out the caption info, and hit send. You can upload multiple photos or videos at once (each posts as a single post). It doesn’t have any filters or advanced editing features, but that simplicity is a big part of its appeal. One feature that has been recently added, though, is the ability to work with multiple Instagram accounts and toggle between them.

So if you’re on a Mac and looking for something straightforward, it’s well worth a look.

I’ve put together a more detailed guide on using Uplet to post to Instagram that includes more screenshots.

Deskgram

This is a desktop app for interacting with Instagram. There are versions for PC and Mac.

The reason I say “interacting” is that there are two versions that allow different things, although that’s not as clear as it could be in the app’s documentation.

The free version acts as an Instagram viewer, so you can do things like view images, add comments, and like images. To actually upload images or videos and tag them you’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version for $2.99 a month. (Video upload is not available in the Windows version.)

It’s straightforward enough to use. The screen looks like the older version of the Instagram mobile app and works basically the same way—it’s essentially an emulator without needing to install a separate emulator host. It doesn’t have scheduling or batch uploading options.

You can download it here: PC | Mac.

Other Alternatives

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 computer. You can then install and run mobile apps inside it, including the Instagram app. I couldn’t get this to work properly on Mac, but your mileage might vary.

Instagram from Computer: This is a Chrome browser extension. I haven’t tried it and can’t vouch for it. UPDATE: It appears that this extension is no longer available.

Gramblr offers a lot of features, and I initially found it to work well. But I no longer use or recommend it. While I never encountered any unwanted behavior, too many other people have reported problems.

It works a little differently to the other options on this page. There are two parts to it, an app that you install on your computer and a web service. They work together in getting your photos from your desktop to posting on Instagram. The desktop app part of it is a utility app that really just runs in the background. Once you’ve installed it, you open it to launch the main Gramblr screen and then it just quietly takes care of things behind the scenes. All your main interactions are with the web service. There’s also a full suite of image editing tools like exposure controls and sharpening. There are also features like filters, frames, stickers, adding text overlays, and redeye correction. It also offers scheduling.

LR/Instagram integrates with Lightroom, allowing you to upload directly. As of the the beginning of 2020, LR/Instagram is no longer a viable way to post directly to Instagram. The developer’s note on their website says: “Service Note: Instagram has updated their protocol and currently plugin does not work. We are investigating the issue and the plugin will be updated when a fix is available.” That note has been there since at least the summer of 2019.

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

View Comments

  • Thanks - a really useful article.
    I paid for Flume Pro last year.
    It worked great until about three months ago, now just freezes at 80% of upload.
    I've contacted their tech support twice but have heard nothing.
    I guess Instagram is now blocking it?
    Seems wrong that they are still advertising and taking money for it...

  • Hey!
    Thanks for the great information. I'd like to suggest one more alternative - inssist. A little Chrome extensions that allows posting photos & videos from your PC directly to Instagram without needing to use your phone.
    I honestly believe it's quite helpful tool and it's free!

  • Your link to Uplet on the Apple App Store no longer works, as in, the app appears to be no longer available on the App Store. I have downloaded it directly from https://mac.eltima.com/ and it seems to work as you advertised — no real features beyond drag-and-drop and image (the Open… menu command probably works, too), type a caption, and click whatever the "post" button is. (I don't recall what that button is called or labeled because, thankfully, they give you 5 free postings before you need to drop $19.95 (+ VAT in some countries). They have a family pack (five users) and a business license, plus for an extra $9.95 you can get lifetime upgrades. I'll choose my 5 (now 4) postings carefully and, if it continues to work, spring for it.

  • Desktop for Instagram worked like a charm for me until a couple days ago (March 2020). Now it's sending me on a repeated loop of "sign in" requests where I can't upload anything from my laptop. I've cleared my "all time" cookies & cache to no avail. Ugh. Such a bummer. Was great while it lasted though!

    • Yep, same here. Good to see that in the current situation Facebook has nothing better to do than stop people using its stuff! As you say, it was good while it lasted.

  • Great. I am running a 15+ year old desktop with ubuntu linux. I don't have or want a smart phone (my flip phone is fine). I guess I won't be able to list my teespring store on instagram. :(

    • It has been a while since I used Linux, but the method above for spoofing the user agent should work in Firefox for Linux and other browsers. It won't give you the full functionality of the dedicated mobile app, but it might have enough to cover the basics. Another option is to use one of the social media managers like Hootsuite, Sendible, or Buffer. They're often paid services--at least, to get full functionality--but you can use them through a web browser without the need to install anything.

  • DO NOT buy Flume, their carrousel posts have not worked for months and after several attempts to support, no one answers. They continue to advertise their features which don't work. I consider this false advertisement. Only postings of single pictures work. Thats it

    • Thanks for the tip. I haven't used it for a while, but you're now the second person who has raised issues with it, so I'm going to add a note to the top of this post.

  • Hi David,

    I purchased Flume Pro after reading your post and it worked beautifully until it didn't. I was using it mainly for single photo posts, did a carousel post that worked, did single posts then tried to do another carousel post which it wouldn't do. I tried resetting Flume, uninstalling it then reinstalling, etc, etc,. Now it won't open at all. When I try to login, a white window flies open then shuts quickly. Have you experienced this or heard of it? Is there a fix? I'm on a MacBook Pro OSX 10.13.6. Thanks fo any help you might be able to share. Best, Greg

  • Desktop for Instagram worked like a charm on my PC - it was very quick to install and easy to use. Thank you so much for this information!

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