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Browse Instagram from your Mac's menu bar with Instastack

Put Instagram on your Mac with Instastack, a well-designed app with a few holes.

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Matt Elliott/CNET

Instagram is still stubbornly mobile only. Until Instagram releases a desktop app, you are left to use third-party apps or access Instagram awkwardly through a browser if you want to see your feed on a computer. I wrote about PhotoDesk earlier this year, a third-party app which brought Instagram to Macs, and now I've got another Mac app that is a closer approximation to the Instagram you have grown familiar with on your phone.

It's called Instastack, and it's currently discounted from its usual $4.99 price to $1.99 as part of $2 Tuesday. Unlike PhotoDesk, which provided a big window with a grid of photos to browse, like, and comment on, Instastack delivers the familiar single-column feed of photos.

After launching the app and authorizing it to access your Instagram account, you will be able to access Instastack from a small target icon in your Mac's menu bar. The app opens a narrow, floating window with your Instagram feed. It shows the same basic information as you get from Instagram's mobile app with a few exceptions.

Instastack does not show any comments below the photo other than the comment made by the author of the photo. To see comments from others, you must click the triple-dot button in the upper-right corner above the photo. You can comment or like a photo by clicking on either icon below a photo. You can't like a photo by double-clicking on it, and I could not find a way to view a list of people who liked a photo (only the number of likes).

Another piece missing is location information. Instastack does not show the location in blue letters above a photo as Instagram itself does when a person adds a location when posting a photo.

Lastly, you cannot post photos with Instastack because Instagram restricts its API so that third-party apps can be used to upload photos.

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Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

One thing Instastack can do that you can't do with Instagram on a phone is expand a photo. Just click on a photo in Instastack and the app opens a larger version of the photo. And right-clicking on a photo lets you download it.

Instastack features navigation buttons along its left edge. Your profile picture is at the top, which lets you view your own photos or edit your profile (using your default browser). The home button is next and returns you to where you left off in your feed (if you have drilled down to a particular user's feed). The heart button shows you a feed of the photos you have liked, and the star button shows a feed of popular photos. There is also a keyword search function.

In settings, you can choose how often Instastack should auto refresh your feed (if at all), and manage notifications. The app does not support multiple accounts.

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