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PhotoDesk puts Instagram on your Mac

Sleek yet fully functional, PhotoDesk lets you interact with Instagram when you are off your phone and on your Mac.

If you need Instagram access while your phone is charging or when you are otherwise separated from your phone, PhotoDesk brings your favorite photo-sharing service to your Mac. And at the time of this writing, the app is discounted for $2 Tuesday.

With one large exception, PhotoDesk lets you do everything you can on the proper Instagram app, and even some things you can't. What you can't do with PhotoDesk is post photos, but Instagram restricts its API so that no third-party app can be used to upload photos.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After installing the app and logging into your Instagram account, you'll encounter a two-pane layout with menu buttons along the top and bottom edges. In the narrow left pane, you can choose to view your feed, popular photos, tags, news, places, and any pending requests. The wider right pane shows you photos of whichever feed you are viewing. From the bottom you can select two different sizes of thumbnails, or a layout that shows more information, including the comment of the photo's originator. There is also a map view. Next to the map button is a button to filter your feed to show only photos or only videos, only those with geo information, or those that meet a minimum threshold of likes or comments.

Hit the "+" button in the lower-left corner to create an album. Albums show up in the left pane and you can then drag photos from the right to an album to easily populate it. You can also collect your favorite tags for easy perusing, but when I tweaked the list, the two default tags -- "colorful" and "apple" -- remained in the left pane, even after restarting the app.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Double-click on a thumbnail to expand the photo and see more information including likes, comments, and the location. You can then cycle through expanded shots by clicking on the arrows or using your Mac's arrow keys. Thankfully, no matter which type of thumbnail grid you choose, you can like a photo without needing to open it; just hover over the photo and click the heart button. You can also preview a photo by highlighting its thumbnail and pressing the Q key.

At the top of PhotoDesk are buttons to download, share, or print photos or videos. You can also start a slideshow, if you want to sit back and watch your Instagram feed go by.

Lastly, the PhotoDesk supports multiple accounts. Click on your profile in the upper-left corner and select Manage Accounts to add or remove an account.