You Can Now Post Directly to Instagram from a Desktop or Laptop–No Tricks or Apps Required!

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.

How to Post to Instagram from a Computer
How to Post to Instagram from a Computer
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UPDATE: After years of making it harder than it should be to post to Instagram from a desktop or laptop, Facebook has quietly enabled the option on the Instagram.com website. So you no longer to need to use the tricks mentioned below to circumvent the old restriction.

I’ll leave the original section below for the moment but have added a quick update to the top of this post outlining the new feature. I aim to update this whole post soon once I’ve had more of a chance to experiment with it.

But here’s an overview of the new functionality for posting directly from a computer to Instagram.com.

You Can Now Post Directly to Instagram from a Desktop or Laptop (without Tricks or Apps)

Instagram has quietly added a new button to their website. After you log into your account through a web browser, you should see a new + button in the toolbar. (And to be clear, this is just the standard web browser window without resorting to spoofing a mobile user agent.)

It looks like this:

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop 1

You’ll then get the magic words:

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop 2

And, thankfully, they’ve implemented this properly, with the usual feature set.

For example, you can upload multiple photos at once. In this case, I’ve uploaded a series of 10 images for a single post. You can see the left/right arrows on either side, the multi-image icon at bottom right.

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop 3

You can select the display crop:

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop Crop

You can apply filters:

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop Apply Filters

And make image adjustments:

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop 7

You can add a caption, tag (click within the image), specify a location, add accessibility ALT information for photos, and turn off comments.

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop 8

Woot!

Instagram Post from Computer or Laptop 9

So far it’s been working as expected for me. I can see myself sharing more photos on Instagram now that there’s less friction going from the photos on my computer to Instagram posts.

What You Can’t Do

There’s no facility to schedule posting. For that, it seems you’ll still need to use one of the services outlined below.

There does not seem to be a way to post stories or reels, but I’ll keep playing with it and update here as necessary.

Hat Tip

Hat tip to reader Black Tulip for alerting me to this.

If the Post Button Isn’t Showing Up

  • This is a new feature. It’s might be rolling out to accounts gradually. Facebook/Instagram don’t publish how they determine the order of rollouts of things like this.
  • Try clearing your browser cache then closing and re-opening your browser.
  • I haven’t tested this yet on a wide range of browsers. It’s working for me on Chrome, Brave, Safari, and Firefox.

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.

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.

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

If you’re only posting to Instagram occasionally from your computer, this is a very good option. It’s free and straightforward. But some users report that their computer’s web browser setup doesn’t refresh to the mobile version of Instagram for some reason.

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. I’ve also put together a more detailed post on how to post on Instagram from Mac that includes other Mac apps and methods.

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.

It’s available directly from the developers, or a great way to get it is through the Setup subscription, which has a 7-day free trial. Setapp gives you access to a couple of hundred great Mac for a flat monthly fee.

Uplet Instagram Uploader-2

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

Other Alternatives

If you’re using a Mac, another good option I like is Grids. I have a more detailed writeup on it here.

And there are some 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 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 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 may have been abandoned.

Things Worth Knowing

Is there an official Instagram desktop app?

No, there’s no official Instagram desktop app. There are some third-party apps that can interact in various ways with the Instagram service, but none of them has the full feature set of the Instagram mobile app.

107 thoughts on “You Can Now Post Directly to Instagram from a Desktop or Laptop–No Tricks or Apps Required!”

  1. It would appear that Instagram has finally cracked. I just went into it on my laptop as usual, and the ‘+’ icon had appeared, along with a pop-up message to the effect that I could now load photos direct from my laptop. Just tried it, and it works. Not sure if it allows multiple pictures in a post, but the option to apply a filter is there.

    Reply
    • Ha! You’re right! Just took a look, and it’s appeared there now for me too. Great news–thanks for the tip! I’ll experiment with it to see what you can and can’t do with it and update above.

      Reply
  2. Lots of good information in this article, thanks for sharing. I had posed the question through Instagram over a year ago and was informed that only mobile pics could be uploaded. I found that restrictive. I am glad that there have been a few options open up for those of us who use DSLRs for their real pics. The quality of pictures taken on the mobile devices has gotten so much better over the recent years (recent models). I find that I use my mobile to get “quick pics” like the polaroid shots of a few decades ago. This helps me create ideas in my mind, ideas that get shot with my DSLR. If the idea ends up being a video, then it would get posted on YouTube. As for my individual pics, they get posted on another site.
    I realize that Instagram is really popular for some but not for me. I will keep checking in,. I hope that the process for computer-to-instagram posting gets smoothed out.

    Reply
    • Yes, it’s always been possible. Many of the biggest Instagram accounts—think National Geographic or the Department of Interior—are not posting photos taken with mobile phones. In many cases, they’re posting images that were scanned from film or prints. But it’s never been as easy as it could be, particularly if you’re not using a social media managing service like they do.

      Reply
    • Good question, but I’m afraid I don’t have a good answer. I haven’t been keeping up with the latest laptops on the market and their capabilities. A place I often start for recommendations are the roundups at B&H Photo and NextEgg. I also find Verge helpful, but they tend to have more specific reviews of individual models.

      Reply
  3. Hello,

    I am an excellent artist, designer, and writer, but when it comes to tech I am the General of the Luddites.

    I am desperate to use Instagram, but not by mobile phone, too much private paperwork on there. The problem I find with the tips and tutorials is that they are too fast, drop quickly in IT speak, as though all viewers and readers know just what a toggle device toolbar is, and at that point, it starts talking about chrome, like that was essential to use, but no initial mention of this. The Inspector view I got, but it does nothing. I am proepared to pay someone to teach me this, in plain English so I can get it. Can you help.

    Reply
  4. Hello everybody,

    Unfortunately, none of the mentionned ways work now… i’ve tried all the free tricks, apps and so on, and no one is working.
    Trick from the browser to set it as a mobile doesn’t work anymore
    Bluestack works… if we are ready to wait 10 to 15 minutes for each upload
    The Instagram official app doesn’t let you upload anything
    Desktop for instagram doesn’t let you upload aswell
    Same problem with user agent

    Reply
  5. I’m glad it’s not just me! The way I find easiest is to upload my images to Flickr. once that’s done, I open the Flickr app on my phone & it allows you to share the image to Instagram. I’ve noticed that sometimes the images aren’t sharp when uploaded.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the tip. I wasn’t familiar with Blisk, but it looks like a handy tool for web development.

      For others: Blisk is a web browser with a heavy emphasis on developer tools. The part that’s relevant here is that it has built-in features that let you quickly view a website as it would appear in a whole range of other devices and browsers. That is, it features user-agent switching prominently and makes it easy to do. (User-agent switching is one of the methods for posting to Instagram that I outline on this page.) You can also do that in most other web browsers, as detailed above–Blisk just has a much more polished way of doing it.

      Reply
      • Why can’t you make Instagram interface with a PC. Anybody who is serious about photography does not want to use unedited snapshots from a cellphone. I agree with Noel and others and find using Instagram very cumbersome. My usage of it has been minimal because of this
        .

        Reply
        • The option to share photos directly to Insta from a laptop / desktop vanished when FB took over Insta, and I suspect the reason is that FB wants our phone numbers (and other information).
          A few months ago I downloaded the free, open-source “Windowed” which worked at the time… I haven’t used it since, and tonight when I tried to use it to upload to Insta, it’s no longer working. I can’t find anything about that online (I found this page while searching!), so I emailed the guy who created it (his email is on the Windowed website) and am waiting for a response. I’m guessing Insta has blocked Windowed.

  6. I’m totally bemused here!

    Instagram is fundamentally (or at least I thought it was when I opened an account yesterday) for photo sharing/viewing/commenting?? i.e. I assumed, as would any half-sensible person, that you could simply upload images from your PC (Why would Instagram care whether they originate from your desktop or cellphone?)

    So yeah, I open Instagram up – and am immediately confronted by hundreds of photographs in which I have no interest whatsoever – they’re not mine and not even particularly interesting – simply cluttering up the screen. I want to see MY photos there (just in MY account)_- that’s it!

    No matter – I shrug my shoulders and look for the photo-uploader….nothing but four meaningless symbols up there…you even have to click them to see what they are – options irrelevant to anyone wanting to upload pictures. No “Help” tab, no instructions for anything anywhere….obviously a billion plus people globally don’t care!

    I have to fall back on Google to find HOW to upload photos from a PC, Basically you can’t, without inordinate trouble and complications. I have still to find instructions how to upload even from a mobile device – which I rarely use either and since 95% of my photos are on my PC it’s hardly relevant anyway.

    Maybe a stupid question but why does Instagram not have its own photo-uploader that hundreds of other sites manage to offer (not of Instagram’s ilk and purpose admittedly) It would have made life so much easier…but of course that isn’t the way of things in 2020 is it?

    Noel Bailey

    Reply
    • Yes, Instagram is fundamentally a different kind of beast than, say, Flickr. It’s designed first for sharing photos taken on your phone from your phone.

      Reply
    • Yeah, same problem with me, Noel. Not everyone is phone crazy!
      Plus, it never used to be that way, you used to be able to just download what you wanted.
      Really disappointed!!

      Reply
    • I agree with Noel Bailey’s comments. I don’t use my mobile for serious pictures. I use my DSLR camera. I would like to post pics from my computer files to Instagram however the process does accommodate that. I was able to post a picture but , in the upload, the top was cropped. It took quite the exercise to delete that pic.

      I have chosen certain guitar related accounts to follow which is fine. As far as posting my pic, I am not enthusiastic at all about Instagram any more. I get better satisfaction out of other sites.

      Reply
    • When I first was on Insta, you could upload from computer. I could upload for my profile pic, but nothing else. Weird. I don’t understand why they disabled that feature. I have an old phone and don’t want every app under the planet on it, and sharing my info with the entire cyber world.

      Reply
    • I bought a 3rd party app – Flume.
      It no longer works and three months on, there is no response to requests for technical support.
      Presumably this great little app was banjaxed by Facebook’s World Domination Gremlins @Instagram, and the developer has had to abandon it. It’s now no longer on the app store. Nice while it lasted though

      Reply
  7. What kind of sense does it make that something works only with a phone? You can’t even see the tiny pictures. Of course I have a rule against paying for applets so I’m speaking of free software only. If it really works there’s no reason for a price tag because you’re only paying for future support, or in some case paying for ads and spam.

    Reply
  8. 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…

    Reply
  9. 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!

    Reply
    • You are a star!!! I just downloaded the Chrome extension, and it works exactly like Instagram mobile app… I love that all basic features are free forever, however to schedule, analyse, get insights & multi-accounts features then you’ll need to upgrade to PRO… which humble me doesn’t really need. Thanks once again.

      Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
    • Update on Uplet: I purchased a single-user license for Uplet ($19.95 in the U.S.) and have been posting, pretty much, one image a day. It works well, no problems, easy to use.
      So, at least one person’s experience.

      Reply
  11. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  12. 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. :(

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
    • You can get a hand-me-down smart phone (android) and not a plan. As long as the operating system is new enough, login to your wifi and use that for internet access on the phone to download Instagram, then move photos from linux (desktop) to the quasi phone and upload. It’s an extra step but a way for me to still carry a dumb phone, keep my Linux desktop and have an instagram for my business.

      Reply
  13. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  14. 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

    Reply
  15. 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!

    Reply
  16. Thank you for this, very helpful. Suggestions I’d come across elsewhere had no effect whatsoever, but I installed Desktop for Instagram and it did the trick.

    Reply
  17. Why does Instagram go out of their way to stop you from uploading from your computer? Especially when it’s so easy to circumvent. That doesn’t make sense. Why is nobody asking this question? Why is nobody answering it? surely I can’t be the only one who notices this makes no sense from a business standpoint. Does Instagram just hate money?

    Reply
    • Up until a month ago or so I was able to choose from a number of places to upload, such as Facebook, which I don’t use, when i went to Share. Now the App logo no longer appears. It used to be so simple! What happened?

      Reply
  18. You can also use the User-Agent extension on Google Chrome and choose mobile browser mode that, at least let you upload photos, not vids.

    Reply
  19. I just want to thank you for posting this. I have an ipad that I used to use, but unfortunately it broke to the point I can no longer use it, so I’ve been searching for a way to post using a laptop for almost 2 years now. So thank you so much!!

    Reply
  20. i have Instagram installed on my android phone and it works fine. I also have instagram on my laptop it worked fine UNTIL a couple of days ago. Now I am not able to like or post a comment. What happened? I use the laptop when I am at home on wifi bc i like the larger screen. Plus I do not have unlimited data on my phone.
    How can I use instagram on my laptop they way it was with the ability to like and post comments?
    Thank you for your time and any suggestions you can offer.
    Enjoy your day!

    Reply
    • Sorry, but I’m not sure what you mean by a no crop app. If you mean one that preserves the full aspect ratio rather than forcing a square, most of these options have that available now.

      Reply
      • I am looking to upload the full image on Instagram from my PC. On my phone I use the No crop app or the Square Quick app. I am looking for such app on my PC
        .

        Reply
        • That functionality is built in to Instagram itself now–you don’t need a separate app to upload and display non-square images. You can toggle as part of the upload process using the button at the bottom left–it’s available on both the regular Instagram app and if you use the user agent spoofing method described above from a PC browser. Other PC apps above also have that same functionality built in one way or another as an option when you upload. More info here.

  21. If Chrome’s Developer/Mobile view method doesn’t immediately work, try setting it’s view to “iPhone 6/7/8” and refresh your browser. Maybe that’ll help, if your PC has a lot of Admin restrictions (e.g., at work). I always try to avoid downloading unnecessary stuff whenever possible as a matter of principle (i.e., security).

    Reply
  22. Thanks this finally worked. Desktop for Instagram extension.

    Only concern is that the browser reports it is Not Secure. Not sure what to do about that.

    Reply
  23. i still dont get it though. how is it possible that i cant upload my pictures with ma laptop. Geez! i havent seen worse.. i cant even upload my videos as well. why is it like this?

    Reply
  24. This just reeks tracking in its finest:
    “… Instagram very strongly encourages users to upload images from their mobile devices…”

    Reply
  25. Why TF is Instagram so popular? It seems almost useless. #1 for this reason that you can’t use your computer with it. That is a limitation! Why would people move from Facebook, which does the same things and more to Instagram which is a stripped down version of Facebook??? Also, unless I am mistaken, I am now discovering that you can’t put links in IG posts either so you can’t even promote your business!!! What is the point of Instagram????

    Reply
    • Man, I believe the point is: people seek for new social apps/sites to try to run away from their old and not so close friends and family (these social circles are, at least for me, veeeeery boring and complicated to accept our “real life”)
      Most of people dont want to create fake profiles in FB, e.g, cause their would feel like “cheating”, “being corrupt”.
      So they run away, first teens and early adults, to another app that most of people still dont use or dont know how to use.
      See the structure of instagram: your dont have real names, you can use whatever nick you want, change it whenever you like… it’s very “liquid”, you know?

      Reply
    • Less garbage filling up your feed, and its more easily consumable. Go from video to photo with half a screen swipe. Our generation prefers the stripped down version without the cumbersome complications.

      You can put links in your bio, and you can pay to promote a post which allows you to link to outside websites

      Reply
  26. Thanks for the tips.

    But the truth is the Instagram engineers are smart/young/clueless to think that people only use their phones for everything.

    Reply
    • No, actually people DO use their phones more now, even older people. A very small minority uses computers for everything nowadays, most use the phone mostly or even exclusively.

      Reply
    • Would someone please comment on this:
      When I go to install Desktop for Instagram on chrome browser it requires me to agree to this:
      “[App can] READ AND CHANGE ALL YOUR DATA ON THE WEBSITES YOU VISIT””
      WHAT??! Isn’t this a major security breach?

      Reply
  27. Hi David, I’m Max, we are building Storrito.com to create, post and schedule Instagram stories via a desktop computer. We also solved the hard parts like adding Instagram’s story hashtags, usertags and geotags. The normal Instagram feed posts described in your article will be supported soon. I would love to get feedback, if you find Storrito useful to share your beautiful photos as Instagram story. Best regards, Max

    Reply

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