This crafty workaround lets you post to Instagram from a Mac or PC

It's not obvious, but Instagram isn't just for phones. We'll show you how to post photos from your computer to the social network.

Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani
Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read

Posting to Insta from your computer is easy peasy. 

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Earlier this year,  Instagram  announced that you could send and receive direct messages from your computer while browsing your feed. It's a welcome addition, and undoubtedly more convenient to use a full keyboard, but the social network is still missing a key feature: Officially supporting the ability to post photos from a Mac or PC.

That's all right, though, because there's an unofficial trick that makes it possible to post photos to your feed directly from your computer. The process takes a little bit of effort to get set up, but once you do it, it's pretty simple to keep going. 

Note that you won't be able to use this trick to post videos. For now, it's a photo-only tip.


Yes, you can even edit and apply filters from your computer. 

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The key is changing one little thing

Most web browsers have a way of letting you change the "user agent" -- the thing that tells a website what kind of device you're on -- to make it look like you're on a different device. For example, you can tell Chrome to load a webpage as if you're viewing it on an iPhone or Android, giving you the mobile version of the site. And that's exactly what we're going to do to trick Instagram. 

Below are the steps you'll need to follow to post from Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari browsers. 

Watch this: iPhone SE: 5 cinematic camera tricks

Use Google Chrome, Firefox and Edge to publish Instagram pictures

These steps can be used to post to Insta from Chrome, Firefox and the new Microsoft Edge browser. I'm using Chrome as the example below, but the process is nearly identical for all three browsers. 

Open Chrome, visit Instagram.com and sign in to your account. Right-click anywhere on the page and then select Inspect (Inspect Element in Firefox) from the list of options. 


Uploading photos to Instagram from Chrome only takes a few clicks of the mouse. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

A window with a random text will show up at the bottom of the page. The only thing we care about is the small tablet icon in the top-left corner of the Inspector tool. In Firefox, that icon is on the top-right of the inspector tool. 

Click on the icon that looks like an iPad with an iPhone next to it. The Instagram interface should refresh, giving you the mobile website, complete with the + button to create a post. If you don't have the post button, refresh the page until it shows up. It may take more than one refresh.

When you're done posting your photo, click on the tablet icon again and close the Inspector tool. 


Find the option to enable Develop options in Preferences under the Advanced tab. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Post Instagram photos from the Safari browser

Open Safari and click on Safari in the menu bar at the top of your Mac's screen. Next, click on Preferences and then select the Advanced tab. 

At the bottom of the page will be a checkbox labeled Show Develop menu in the menu bar: Check it. 

Next, open a new Safari window or tab and go to Instagram.com. It'll be the normal Instagram site, but that's about to change. Click on Develop in the menu bar at the top of your screen, then go to User Agent > Safari -- iOS XX -- iPhone. The "XX" part of that will change based on the current version of iOS, but the gist of the option will remain the same. 


Click on the + icon to select your photo. 

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Refresh the tab or window with the Instagram site loaded, and as it reloads you'll now find a + icon at the bottom of the page. Click on the + sign to pick a photo on your Mac and then go through the steps just like you were on your phone, including selecting filters, editing and all of that fun stuff. 

When you're done, make sure you change your user agent back to the Default setting to avoid viewing all websites in their mobile state. 

Pretty easy, right? And now that you know how to quickly switch between the desktop and mobile version of Instagram's website, you can effortlessly post photos without having to wait for edits you make on your computer to sync to your phone.

If you're tired of your PC running slow, odds are you can fix it yourself with just a bit of effort. Same goes for Mac. We also have a guide for some hidden Mac features that are just plain fun


Once you master the process, you'll be able to post with just a few clicks of the mouse. 

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