Social Media

4 Easy (and Legit) Ways to Schedule Your Instagram Posts

Rob Nightingale 10-08-2016

Though many people don’t know it, there are a few ways you can schedule Instagram posts in advance. This is perfect if you don’t want to bombard your followers with 20 posts all at once, or if you want to post images from your hard drive or a URL.


Keep in mind though, that there are only a few quality, legitimate apps offering this feature. This is because Instagram is notoriously strict when it comes to allowing other apps to interact with the platform. While the Facebook and Twitter APIs allow third party apps to perform pretty much any task, Instagram keeps its third party integrations to a minimum.

This is one of the reasons why Instagram hasn’t yet been overrun by stupendous amounts of spammy, brand-oriented content.

What Instagram Allows You to Do

Instagram is crammed with cool features 10 Instagram Tricks You Didn't Know Existed Instagram is constantly evolving and updating, and things change quickly. Let's find a few more cool hacks to rock the photo-based social network! Read More  and hidden tools 15 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do on Instagram If you're looking to do more with Instagram, these handy tips and tricks will help you discover more things to do on Instagram. Read More .  But when it comes to scheduling Instagram posts via a third party app, there are some pretty tight restrictions. The main one being that when you schedule an Instagram post, it’s still you that has to share the photo on the app when the time comes. The app can’t do it for you. All the app can do is remind you to post the image.

With this in mind, be wary of companies such as Schedugram, Onlypult, and Instapult, who claim to post to Instagram on your behalf. The services offered by these companies may be fantastic, and they tend to work (usually by using emulators and in-house software). Yet the most likely outcome is that Instagram will one day cut off access to these apps. Worst case (and pretty unlikely) scenario; your account could be punished for using these apps.

When you hear the term “Instagram Scheduling” then, this is what it (legitimately) means — sending you a reminder to post the image. There are a number of reputable apps that offer this function. The top four are detailed below.


As a word of caution: if you manage more than one Instagram post, always double check you are signed into the correct Instagram account before clicking Share within the Instagram app.


Buffer Intagram

An incredibly intuitive but powerful app, Buffer allows you to automatically schedule your social media updates to all the major social networks (including Instagram, obviously) in advance. If you’re using the free plan, you can schedule up to 10 posts for each social network. If you want more, you’ll have to upgrade.

If you find an image you want to post to Instagram, you can schedule this via Buffer’s web app, mobile app (iOS, Android), or Chrome extension.


Upload your photo or video to Buffer, write out your caption, add some popular emojis Instagram: Why You Should Be Using Popular #Emojis More than half of comments and captions use emojis, according to Instagram software engineer Thomas Dimson. So, let's not pretend you're not using those smiley or sad faces in your daily conversations. Read More and hashtags, then schedule the post. When the time to post comes around, you’ll receive a notification from the Buffer app on your smartphone. Hit Open in Instagram, and the image along with the caption will be copied to Instagram ready for you to edit, tag people, and post.

Publish (Formerly TakeOff)

Publish instagram Scheduling

Once you’ve prepared a post in Publish and selected which accounts you want the post to be sent to (Twitter and/or Instagram), you’re then given three options. You can either publish the post now, schedule it for a specific time, or have Publish pick a time for you. Publish claims its automatically-picked times are geared toward when most of your followers are online, though I was unable to verify how accurate this is.

When the time comes to post, you’ll be sent a reminder on your phone (provided you have installed the app). Click on the reminder, and Instagram will open, displaying your image. Your caption will have been copied to your clipboard ready to paste to Instagram.


Later (formerly Latergramme)

Later Instagram Scheduling

Later is a platform more aimed at the professional marketer or Instagram power-user than the layperson.

On the free and paid accounts, you can bulk upload tons of media at once (including from Dropbox or Google Drive) ready to deal with later. Note that you can only schedule 30 posts per month on the free account.

From within Later, you can also search for other Instagram posts based on username or hashtag. Any posts you like can be saved to your media list, ready to be scheduled on your own account (get the authors permission first!)


Once you’ve scheduled your posts on the visual web calendar, including crafting a caption designed to increase likes and comments How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science Read More , you’ll receive a notification on your phone when it’s time to publish. You can then post the image via Instagram.


Hootsuite INstagram Scheduling

A powerful social media management suite, Hootsuite is used by over 10 million professionals. With their free account, you can manage up to three profiles, including Instagram. If you need to manage more accounts than that, you’ll have to upgrade to the $10 per month plan.

Once you’ve signed in, add your Instagram profile to your dashboard. During this process, you’ll give permission to Hootsuite to send push-notifications to your phone (from the Hootsuite app). You’re now ready to compose and schedule your photo or video post.

When the scheduled time comes, click on the push notification. This will open the Hootsuite app where you can make any final changes to the post. Then click Open in Instagram to copy that information across to the Instagram app. The image will display automatically, the caption will be copied to your phone’s clipboard ready to paste. make any final adjustments (such as applying a filter How Instagram Filters Work, And Can You Tell the Difference? Here you'll find everything you need to know about what each Instagram filter does, what it's best used for, and some great examples for you to look at. Read More ), then publish the post.

Hootsuite is great, but if you’re a social media manager looking to manage a large number of profiles, an alternative is Agorapulse. It’s slightly more user friendly, offers similar features, but comes in at a hefty $50 per month.

Making Instagram Easier to Manage

I’ve tested each of the apps mentioned in this article, and they all worked like a charm. Which you choose to use will of course depend on your budget, how much of an Instagram-power user you are, and how many social media profiles you want to manage.

Between these options though, you should easily be able to find what you’re looking for. This will allow you to focus more of your efforts on getting your Instagram posts the attention they deserve These 10 Tips Will Help You Get Noticed on Instagram If you only have a handful of followers on Instagram and aren't receiving the likes or comments that you want, these tips will definitely help. Read More ,

Are there any other Instagram scheduling apps you’d recommend?

Related topics: Instagram, Photo Sharing.

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  1. Mikko
    January 19, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks Rob, great help, I'm sure I'll find one that suits my small company needs. One thing worth mentioning here is Zapier. With zaps you can automate tasks, e.g. I've made three zaps that automatically tweet and create Facebook and LinkedIn company page updates of my every Instagram post. So I only need to schedule my Instagram posts. Ok, FB and Twitter (Tweetdeck) allow scheduling so why not the other way round. Well, because, as Rob mentions, Instagram allows only so much through their API and posting isn't included. So I can't zap an Instagram post.

  2. Tulan
    June 18, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    One simple and easy , but based on their features seems to be interesting... I'll keep to check it, and maybe will update here.


    • Rob Nightingale
      July 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      What did you end up using, Tulan? I'm exclusively using Buffer now.

  3. Rohan
    March 24, 2017 at 6:13 am

    I'd like to add another tool to this list (a pretty great one at that!). Check out Viralwoot and it's new Instagram scheduling functionality and see if it'd suit your user's requirements.


    • Rob Nightingale
      April 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks Rohan. I'll check it out!

  4. Cecily
    December 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    And I recommend one another scheduler

    • Rob Nightingale
      December 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

      I'll check this out, thanks!

  5. vlada
    August 30, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I use and this really happiness

    • Frank
      June 10, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Yeah, It is strange not to see Onlypult on this list, it is an amazing tool. I have almost 40 accounts of my clients to manage, and without it I would be completely lost. Because I can delegate my work to my managers, and I do not have to reveal the passwords to the clients' accounts, that is safe. Another very useful thing about Onlypult is that when I schedule the posts, there are no push notifications, everything is fully automatic. And of course the guys took care of the most of the new Instagram features.

      So it is definitely worth to check out, I recommend it to everyone.

      • Eunice
        November 7, 2017 at 1:38 pm

        is this onlypult free?

  6. ken
    August 11, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    I used to schedule using Later but I'm offline most of the time to preserve my phone's batter life, so I'm not able to get any of the notifications. It's a good thing I found They send you automated SMS messages to remind you that you have an Instagram post to publish. And their calendar-based scheduler is an added bonus, too!

    • Rob Nightingale
      August 21, 2016 at 4:13 pm

      An automated SMS is a great feature. Nice find, Ken!

  7. Andrew
    August 10, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I do this because there are also particularly good times to post photos if you want them to be seen.

    Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays around 4pm EST are quite fruitful times to post...some people are still messing around at work, and some people will get home soon and take a look through Instagram.

    Sundays late afternoon and early evening are good times to post too.

    • Rob Nightingale
      August 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

      Excellent point! Thanks, Andrew!