Not everyone owns a smartphone. As popular as these phones have become, they’re not very affordable, and they’re definitely no everyone’s cup of tea. But just because you don’t own the right smartphone doesn’t mean you have to give up on apps like Instagram. It’s not ideal, but you can get an Instagram account and upload photos to it without owning a mobile device. Curious? Let’s see how it’s done.
Important note: Instagram does not support these solutions in any official way. The company wants you to use mobile only to register and upload, and therefore, you may be facing random issues when using these methods. If you don’t own a mobile device and really want to use Instagram, these will work, but a mobile device is always the best option when it comes to Instagram.
BlueStacks App Player (Windows, Mac)
BlueStacks is an Android emulator for your computer. This means it lets you run Android apps right on your PC or Mac. You can use BlueStacks to run any Android app (we’ve shown you how to use it for chat apps in the past), and Instagram is no different.
To start using it, head over to the BlueStacks website and download the program. Once you’re in, there are two ways you can start using Instagram. Either search BlueStacks for Instagram and download it directly, or download an APK from a website such as apktrain.com or any other website you trust. APK files should open automatically with BlueStacks.
Either way, you should now have Instagram installed in BlueStacks, which is almost like having it on your phone.
Once installed, all of Instagram’s options are available to you, just like on a mobile device. You can register for a new account, log into an existing one, browse your timeline, and also upload photos. It’s not always convenient to use — imagine a mobile interface within windows — but it gets the job done.
If you’re having problems with BlueStack’s online installer, you’re not alone. The best thing to do is to uninstall it and try downloading and installing again at a later time. There are some offline installers out there too, but not all of them will install the latest version. If BlueStacks doesn’t work for you no matter what you do (it is in beta, after all, so problems are to be expected), there are some other options you can try.
InPic (Windows 8)
InPic, or InstaPic, is a fully-fledged Instagram client for Windows 8. It lets you create an account if you don’t have one, upload pictures, and even use multiple accounts in the same client. I won’t get into the entire interface here, but the app is free (although ad supported), so you can give it a try and see for yourself.
First time you launch it, you’ll have the option to register for a new Instagram account or sign in with an existing one. Once you do either one, you can add more accounts, if you own more than one. InPic lets you view everything you need on Instagram: your timeline, activity, followers, followees, and also follow or unfollow users.
Click the camera icon to upload a new photo to one of your accounts. InPic lets you choose an image from your computer or take one using your webcam. It also comes with a built-in editor that offers many more editing option that Instagram itself.
From here, all you have to do is upload the photo and you’re done. I did notice that hashtags I used in the caption did not become actual hashtags on Instagram, so don’t be surprised if that happens.
Another issue I encountered had to do with cropping. When you edit your photo using InPic, it will suggest an automatic square crop for you to make your life easier. However, when I used that crop and tried to upload, the app claimed by photo wasn’t square. I had to go into the Crop menu again and choose “square” manually in order to make it work.
Small issues aside, InPic is a great option for Windows 8 users, and a very easy one to use. If you dislike Modern, you don’t have to use it as you’re regular client — you can use it just to sign up for an account and to upload, alongside another client such as Pixsta by Pokki — a very good Instagram client with no uploading capabilities.
Gramblr (Windows, Mac)
If neither of these options work for you, Gramblr is a workable yet limited way to upload photos to Instagram. It certainly lets you get your images out there without the use of a phone, but it doesn’t offer any additional features besides that. This means your photo needs to be cropped and edited by the time you upload it.
The first step in using Gramblr is signing into your Instagram account. You’ll need to have one already in order to use Gramblr, so make sure you create one using BlueStacks, InPic, or someone’s phone first.
You will also need to pre-crop your photos to exactly 650×650, and apply any edits or filters you want to use before you hit that “Choose File” button. From there on, it’s all pretty obvious. Well, almost.
If your file doesn’t meet the requirements (e.g., it’s a PNG instead of a JPG file), nothing will happen. No error. No nothing. You’ll be hitting that “Upload” button over and over again, and Gramblr will just sit there. If that happens, you did something wrong. If your file satisfies all the requirements, Gramblr will let you write a caption for your photo, and will then upload it for you.
Gramblr isn’t free of annoyances. First of all, the app’s window is always on top, so you need to manually minimize it if you want to get rid of it. It also takes an absurd amount of CPU (15% on my Windows 8 laptop) for such a small app. In addition, neither share buttons worked for me. However, it does get your photo on Instagram as promised.
It’s not the best option out there by any means, but it’ll do when no other option is available.
Important note: according to some users, uploading photos using Gramblr could cause an indexing problem with Instagram hashtags. According to some reports, when you add a hashtag using Gramblr, your image will not be seen by other users who look for this hashtag. This doesn’t always happen, but it’s a possibility. If you’re a heavy hashtag user, you may want to avoid Gramblr.
Know of any more methods or tricks for using Instagram without a smartphone? Share them in the comments.
Image credit: PlaceIt