While social media platforms are generally available in just about every shape and size, Instagram has never fallen into that category. It was an iOS exclusive when it first launched in 2010, before heading to Android in 2012, and despite climbing to incredible heights of popularity since, the social network doesn’t have an official app for Mac.
But while there’s no official Instagram for Mac app, there is a way to not only scroll through your Instagram feed on your Mac, but upload photos and videos too.
There may not be an official Instagram for Mac app - we’re still waiting for an iPad app! - but there is a way to access the popular social network from your Mac: Instagram Web.
The basic web app provides access to your main Instagram feed, allowing you to scroll, like and comment to your heart’s content, along with the ability to view Instagram Stories and, most recently, the ability to access Direct Messages.
These are all welcome additions, making Instagram Web a more viable way of accessing the site, but there’s still one huge omission: the ability to upload content directly from your Mac. It’s available on iOS and Android via the web app, so why not Mac? There’s no official explanation from the Facebook-owned company, but thankfully, there is a way to upload photos and videos to Instagram from your Mac - it just requires a bit of know-how.
How to upload photos and videos via Instagram Web
There is a way to upload photos and videos to your Instagram feed via the Instagram web interface, but you’ll first have to trick the site into thinking you’re on an iPhone. It’s entirely possible to do this on a Mac, although you’ll have to use Safari to do so.
To make Instagram think you’re using an iPhone, follow these steps:
- Open Safari on your Mac.
- Head to www.instagram.com
- On the toolbar, head to Safari > Preferences > Advanced.
- Select ‘Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar’ if it’s not already enabled.
- Then select the new Develop drop-down menu and select User Agent > Safari - iOS 12.1.3 - iPhone.
Once you’ve enabled the new User Agent, the Instagram website (via Safari, of course) should reload. Once reloaded, follow these instructions:
- Tap the + icon on the toolbar at the bottom of your Instagram feed - it’s in the same place as it is on the official iOS app.
- Browse for the image or video you’d like to upload to your feed, select it and click Choose to upload it.
- You can now go through Instagram’s suite of editing tools to tweak the appearance of your post. When you’re ready, hit Next.
- Add a caption to your post, select the social sharing options (if any) and hit Share to post the image.
It’s worth noting that while you can upload content to your main Instagram feed, you can’t post photos or videos to your Instagram Story via Instagram Web right now. Here’s hoping that the social network rolls out full functionality to the Instagram Web experience soon.
Third-party Instagram apps
While the company is slowly adding new functionality to the Instagram Web experience to match that of iOS and Android, it’s still not quite there. And, like with most things, if a company won’t do it then someone else will. There are currently a handful of third-party Instagram apps available for Mac, offering a mixed range of features at a variety of price points - just make sure the one you choose does everything you need it to.
Uplet offers a much simpler approach the web-based Instagram experience, focusing only on the uploading of media to the site rather than browsing it, but there are features available that may interest power-users and businesses.
Like the Instagram app, Uplet lets you drag-and-drop photos and videos and upload them in bulk to your feed. You can edit each photo and add individual captions too, although without the ability to stagger posting, you may end up spamming your followers. You’ve also got multi-account support, allowing you to easily switch between personal and business accounts without logging out.
While Uplet supports bulk uploads, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t actually support multi-photo posts, although the developers say that is in the works. The only downside is pricing: while the app was originally available for a one-off payment of £9.99, it's now only available as part of the Setapp Mac app suite at $9.99 a month.
Bluestacks Android emulator
If you prefer to use the native Instagram app for mobiles, there is a way to run it on a Mac. The secret? Emulators.
More specifically, Bluestacks Android Emulator offers a reliable way to run Android apps and games on a Mac, and that includes Instagram. It achieves this by emulating an Android device on your Mac, allowing you to access the Google Play Store and all its apps as if you were using an Android smartphone. There are very few differences between the iOS and Android variants of the app, so there shouldn't be any learning curve when using Bluestacks to access Instagram.
You can download the Android emulator from the Bluestacks website, and the best part is that it's completely free to use - no IAPs or subscriptions here.