10 Ways to Upload to Instagram Using Your Computer
Instagram is a great way to reach out and connect with people - and potential buyers if you own a business. Not only can it give you exposure to a network of more than 600 active million users (Source: bStatista, Dec 2016), if you have a brick-and-mortar business, you can gain the attention of customers in your local area. For those users who don’t own smartphones and want to use Instagram, there are a few alternatives – some are more user-friendly than others. While there is not a way as of yet to post photos or videos from a computer via Instagram directly, there are quite a few workarounds.
Here, we have compiled a list of programs we found on the Internet to assist you in finding an app right for you. It is not an exhaustive list and we admit that we only tried one of the apps - Hootsuite - as we based our experimentation requirements on user reviews. The information below may not be up to date when you read this article, as software developers are constantly improving their products. With this in mind, we encourage you to visit each site and draw your own conclusions before trying a product. It is always good to research and review before trying any new product you are not familiar with.
Hootsuite has been around since 2008 and evolved over time. When we first tried the platform back in 2009, they offered a free desktop version which allowed a single user management of an unlimited number of accounts. Hootsuite eventually discontinued the desktop platform and stopped offering support. Today, the company offers only a web-based application and browser extensions for Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
We tried this and found that we were unable to directly post to Instagram from the app. While the developers claim that the app provides scheduling capabilities, the manner in which it does so is counter-intuitive. While you can post information into the app, it requires a mobile device to finish the process.
Installation of both the mobile versions of Hootsuite and Instagram apps are required. After registering your mobile number, the software will push the information to the Hootsuite app, which will send the user a notification at the scheduled time specified to post to Instagram.
Publishing is ultimately accomplished by copying and pasting the information from the mobile Hootsuite app into the mobile Instagram app. Unfortunately, the process becomes tedious when multiple apps are involved and manually transferring information can become time-consuming when you have several posts scheduled.
On the positive side, the developers have obtained a partially feasible method as a workaround to Instagram's strict API policies. Other items can be managed within the app's Instagram feed such as custom searches, contact, followers, and posts. So, the program can be useful - though not for scheduling or uploading directly from a computer. The best attraction is that the online and mobile app are free with many features and can include up to 3 accounts. (Additional accounts and features require an upgrade.)What's more, because Hootsuite is a notably reputable service and has been around for a while, support, updates, and security are much more reliable and likely to be up-to-date. And, due to its application being web-based, you are less likely to obtain a virus as you might downloading software to your computer.
Price: Free and Paid with free trial
Bluestacks is an Android emulator that works by installing an app player onto your computer and permits you to download the Instagram mobile app from Google Play Store for use on your desktop or laptop. Because you are using the actual app, all the features on from the official app are available for use. It is free and available for both PC and Mac. Step by step instructions can be found here or here for a video tutorial.
Price: Free and Paid
ARC Welder is a Chrome extension that was designed as a developer tool. Like Bluestacks, it allows you to run Android apps if you're using Chrome OS or Chrome browser. Because it is a developer tool and used for testing, there is no guarantee that any of the apps you try will work or be usable. Some users have reported that the app has stopped working at times.
Another drawback is that you can only load and test one app at a time, so if you plan to use it for say, Twitter after installing Instagram, it will remove it. It also requires installing an additional component - APK. If you're not sure what this is, head over to the documentation and get spun up. Otherwise, we recommend skipping this one altogether. But, if you're feeling frisky, click here to download the ARC Welder extension from Chrome Web Store.
There are a few different Chrome extensions available on the web to access Instagram. For most of them, we found that they typically allow users to view their feeds, search for photos, and like - though they don't actually permit uploading from a computer. This is probably due to Instagram's API policies. Although, we did find one that actually lets you upload and manage images from a computer, working similar to the Instagram app.
The app, ARChon Runtime, requires an APK package and appears to work like an Android emulator. Unfortunately, we could not find much information and while a few users claimed to like it, others reported that it did not work - though it is possible that it could be due to configurations within their own computer. There is a very descriptive tutorial with screenshots here and it can be downloaded from Github. However, as user information is limited, we suggest using with caution. There are versions for both PC and Mac.
Deskgram is a Chrome extension which uses the Instagram API and works much like an emulator. There are two versions - free and paid with a short trial. The differences between the two sites are a mite confusing, so you should compare both and then determine which is better for you. Both versions appear to permit likes and comments on posts, follow unfollow profiles, and check news feeds.
Comparable to the Instagram app, you cannot schedule or batch upload. Both have desktop uploads, but one version includes a fee and the other is free. (The Windows version does not currently support video upload.) The difference between the two may be the manner installation. You can learn more by going to each site and compare: www.deskgram.me and www.app.deskgram.com. Both are available for PC and Mac. Lear more by watching this video about how it works.
Price: Free and Paid with free trial
Available for both Mac and Windows, this app works similar to Hootsuite - except that it uses a web service in addition to an app installed onto your computer.
The two work hand-in-hand by retrieving images from your desktop, transferring a copy to the web service, then on to Instagram. Gramblr is packed with features and has a comfortable user interface. Images and videos can be uploaded, as well. It also supports multiple Instagram accounts and scheduling, although you must have your computer on and running since the app runs silently in the background. Best of all, it's free. While we have not tried this, it does appear to be the closest to an actual
desktop publishing version for Instagram - with the ability to schedule. Unfortunately, whether it will be a hit or miss appears to be on a case-by-case basis. Some users report using the software with no trouble at all, while others say that they run into problems using the software. Before making up your mind, you can read more reviews, users comments, and view screenshots here or here.
InstaPic is a free app available for Windows 8 and 10. Features include user searches, tagging, like and comment on images, find and follow Facebook friends, private direct messages, and capture, edit, and uploading photos from your webcam, picture and video libraries. InstaPic comes with a suite of photo editing features ranging from filters to adjusting brightness, saturation, contrast and several more.
While some users have had mixed reviews, most appear to be generally approving with the app rating 4.1 out of 5 stars as it provides an intuitive and elegant way to capture, edit, share and view images in a simple, but functional interface. Since Microsoft is a reputable company hosting the application, this app may be worth a try.
Price: Free with in-app purchases
Uplet is said to be lightweight and big on ease-of-use. However, it is only available for Mac, so you'll have to get it from the Mac App Store. It includes the capability of bulk uploading videos, high-resolution images, and emojis - with cropping, tagging, and caption features for images.
Like the Lr/Instagram plugin, it will upload all images at once without intervals and displays a status bar indicator. Operability is simple as selecting an image from your computer, right-click and select "share to Instagram", apply filters and publish. There is a fee for premium features with a trial, although a note on the website states that there is a free version available, which is actually a demo version limiting uploads to 5 posts at a time.
Read this note about terms for use and how-to before giving this one a go. To download the app, go to the Mac App Store.
Price: Free and Paid (one-time app purchase)
Postaddict is a paid program requiring a monthly subscription. Because of Instagram's strict API rules and the inability to predict whether an app or plugin will be rendered useless at any point, we don't recommend paid programs - especially subscriptions. However, if features are important to you, Postaddict has plenty - with probably the most robust offering we have seen yet. Here is a list of some of the features included in the plan:
- Portrait and landscape images and videos
- Fast support
- Scheduled posts
- Create timed posts that are published and deleted by the schedule you choose
- Multiple accounts
- Multiple users
Though this is a paid version, the app sounds promising. There is a one week free trial offer to test it out before committing. To find out more, you can read the FAQs section here and download from Github here.
Price: Paid with free trial
Uploader for Instagram (Mac)
Uploader for Instagram by Anobot LLC is available for download from the Mac App Store. The app works somewhat differently from many we've reviewed. To upload an image on the Mac, you simply select an image, right-click to open the context menu, click "Share to Instagram", choose a filter preset if desired, then publish. It's as easy as that. Be aware that some users have reported problems with getting the app to work; while others have sworn by its functionality.
The app was previously featured on CNN, TheNextWeb, CNET, ArsTechnica, iDownloadBlog, ProductHunt, and SlashGear. At one time, the owner pulled the app in the past due to API policy issues, however it appears to be currently up and running. At the going rate of $5 and the simplicity of use - as well as a method for Mac users it may be worth a look if other alternatives do not look appealing. The app is appropriately designed for personal use.
Price: Paid (one-time app purchase)
As with any app, there is no single perfect app that works for every person or situation. Some will perform better than others, but the most suitable app depends on your specific needs. The best contender we found was the Hootsuite, in our opinion, comes in a close second. However, it does involve the use of a mobile phone and the process is not fully intuitive. Posting can be done, but with great effort.
We want to emphasize that we did not test or use all of the alternatives mentioned in this article. There are many more out there. Quite a few of the apps we reviewed were no longer available or were reported to have problems, so we did not include them as viable alternatives. As long as Instagram continues to be less flexible and more stringent on API rules - such as prohibiting users the ability to upload from a computer, the choices of available programs will undoubtedly be limited. We encourage you to look more into each app, as features change, Instagram policies change, and more apps become available. There may be one that is better or more suitable for needs and purposes. •••