This article originally discussed Instagrille, a free Windows program for using Instagram on your desktop. That app isn’t available anymore, so we’ve updated the content to instead discuss the best ways of accessing Instagram on Windows.
For all of Instagram’s popularity, its desktop experience is pretty limited. This makes sense considering the service is geared towards sharing photos and video clips of everyday life. Of course, it’s easier to capture these moments with the phone that’s always in your pocket than to upload them from your PC.
But if you want a great Instagram experience on Windows, you’ve got some options. Here are the various ways to share and view photos right from your computer.
1. The Instagram Windows Store App
While Instagram hasn’t made an official Windows desktop program, it does have a Windows 10 Store app. Install it and log in with your account, then you’ll see an interface similar to what’s on your phone:
Just like the Android and iOS versions, you can watch Stories of those you follow, send direct messages, and scroll through your feed. The tabs along the bottom let you search for users, view your activity, and make changes to your profile if needed.
When you click the camera icon in the upper-left, you can upload photos, but there’s a catch. Unless you have a touchscreen device, you can’t add photos from your PC. On my desktop, the app asked me to Enable Camera Access even after I confirmed it was enabled. Since I don’t have a webcam, I can’t upload pictures at all using this app.
Thus, the official Windows Store app is a good solution if you just want to browse Instagram on your computer occasionally. Those who want to post pictures as well should continue to another solution.
Download: Instagram on the Windows Store (Free)
2. Swap to the Instagram Mobile Website
You probably know that you can visit Instagram’s website on your desktop to browse your feed. This doesn’t let you view Stories, so it’s even more limited than the Store app. By default, the site also won’t allow you to upload images from your computer. But you can fix that by changing your user agent.
If you didn’t know, your browser sends a snippet of information whenever it connects to a website. This tells the site which operating system you’re using, along with your browser and its version. By default, this happens automatically, but you can adjust it to fool Instagram into thinking that you’re visiting from a mobile device. Do this, and you can upload pictures from your PC!
It’s easy to switch to a mobile agent in Chrome, so we’ll focus on that solution. First, open Instagram’s website and sign in. Then, press the F12 key to open the developer console. Use the shortcut CTRL + Shift + M or click the Toggle device toolbar button to instantly swap to the mobile version of Instagram.
Here, it looks just like your phone. You can even click and drag to scroll like using your finger. Click the camera icon in the bottom-middle of the revamped screen and you’ll get a prompt to add a photo from your computer. If you want to blend in with other Instagram users, check out desktop apps that can apply similar filters.
To do this in other browsers, follow our guide to switching your user agent.
3. Try an Alternative App
If you’re a hardcore Instagram user and the above options don’t cut it for you, your best option is to try third-party Instagram clients.
Many clever developers have made unofficial Instagram apps for Windows, plus Mac and Linux. These will let you browse your feed, upload photos, apply filters, and search trending hashtags in sleek interfaces.
Perhaps someday, Instagram will make an awesome official client and make these unnecessary. It’s unlikely, but we can dream!
4. Emulate Android on Your PC
Some combination of the above three ways to use Instagram is probably fine for most people. If you don’t need the more powerful clients, you can browse with the official app and upload via the mobile workaround when you have to.
But maybe nothing less than the pure mobile experience of Instagram will work for you. If that’s the case, you can emulate Android on your desktop using a few free tools. We don’t necessarily recommend this since it’s a pretty clunky way just to access Instagram. But it will work!
BlueStacks is the best tool for this method. It’s an easy-to-use Android emulator that lets you search for and download Android apps, then run them right from the program. Download the tool and run through the installation, then you’ll need to sign in with a Google Account to access the Play Store.
After this, search for Instagram and tap Install to download it just like you would on an Android phone. Jump back to the BlueStacks Home tab, where you can open the app and sign in with your Instagram account. Since this is the mobile version, you can do everything you would do with a real phone — including adding photos and applying filters.
How Do You Access Instagram?
We’ve shown you four great ways to get your Instagram fix on Windows. Casual Instagram users — or those who want to join the fun without a smartphone — won’t feel less equipped on your desktop than mobile. Armed with powerful desktop photo editors, you might even create better photos than on your phone!
No matter how you use Instagram, make sure you’re taking advantage of all its new features.
Have you ever used Instagram on your desktop or do you prefer to keep it mobile? Is there another method we missed here? Tell us in the comments!
Image Credit: kathayut kongmanee via Shutterstock.com