How to post to Instagram from your computer or laptop

One of the most frustrating things about using Instagram as a marketer or a blogger is having to transfer all of your images and descriptions from your computer or your laptop to your phone before you can post them to Instagram. It used to take me AGES to get everything moved over properly.

Another one of my pet peeves is typing lengthy chunks of text into my mobile – mostly because it is SO much slower than typing with a keyboard.

Luckily, I found out that there IS a way to upload to Instagram from a computer without needing to do all the transferring of photos and videos to your phone first.

and… it's FAST!

It takes less than a minute (and only 7 mouse clicks) to get set up and the good news is that you can probably use software that's already on your computer.

Basically, all you need to do is tell your computer browser that you'd like it to pretend to be a phone browser instead – so when you go to Instagram, Instagram thinks you're using a phone and not a computer. It's a setting that web developers use all the time to check out how their sites look on different devices.

It's easy to change the settings and the step-by-step instructions are below.

After a bit of trial and error trying a few different browsers, I do my posting to Instagram from my Safari browser because I’ve found that it looks simpler in developer mode than Firefox or Chrome do.

If you're not on a Mac, or if you are on a Mac but you don't like using Safari, I've included the instructions for posting to Instagram using Google Chrome below, but really, just about every browser out there will have a developer mode that will let you change your ‘user agent' and pretend to use a phone browser while you're actually on a computer.

Let's do this!

Posting to Instagram from your computer or laptop using Safari as your browser

First, go up to the Safari menu, click on it and go down to Preferences.

post to instagram from your computer safari settings

Once you’re in preferences, go across to the ‘Advanced' tab and click on ‘Show develop menu in menu bar’. This adds the ‘developer menu to your top Navigation menu.

Instagram from your computer - Safari Developer Settings

Next, click on the new Develop menu and go down to ‘User Agent’. Change your user agent from ‘automatically chosen’, which should be selected by default, to ‘Safari for iPhone’. This tells whatever website you are viewing (whether its Instagram or something else) that you’re viewing on an iPhone rather than a computer.

Safari change user agent

You should be able to see the bottom Instagram menu that you usually only see on your phone, and now you can click the plus button to add new images and videos directly from your computer, without needing to transfer anything over to your phone.

You'll notice that you can also copy and paste text into your post description, which will save you heaps of time.

If you ever need to change the Safari view back again, all you do is go through the same process in reverse.

Go up to the develop menu, go to ‘user agent’ and re-select the automatically chosen option. Your screen should automatically go back to looking like a computer screen. You don’t really need to, but if you want to, you can go back to the Advanced Tab in the Safari menu and deselect the ‘show develop menu in menu bar’ checkbox, and it’ll disappear.

Posting to Instagram from your computer or laptop using Google Chrome as your browser

Setting up Google Chrome to post to Instagram straight from your computer only takes 8 clicks. The end result isn't as pretty as Safari, but it'll still save you heaps of time.

In Google Chrome after opening up your Instagram, go to the ‘View' menu in the top left hand corner. Go down to ‘Developer' and across to ‘Developer Tools'

On the Developer Tools menu that opens up select the ‘Network' tab.

instagram from your computer Chrome developer settings

Click on the three dots in the upper right corner then choose ‘More Tools' > ‘Network Conditions'.

instagram from your computer chrome settings network settings

Down the bottom, uncheck the ‘Select Automatically' box.

instagram from your computer chrome settings select user agent

Underneath the ‘select automatically' checkbox (you may need to scroll down if you can't see it) choose a mobile-based user agent from the list eg. ‘Chrome – iphone'.

instagram from your computer chrome user agent list

You'll notice that your Instagram now has the bottom menu bar and the plus button so you can post just like you are on a mobile.

It's important to note that the user agent only applies to your current tab and while the developer tools are open. To close the developer tools, click the ‘X' in the top right corner of the developer tools interface and everything should go back to normal.

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 How to post to Instagram from your computer

Remember, just reading about ways to be more productive won't actually make you more productive – you need to take action and implement it to actually benefit from the results!

Blue skies!

P.S. If you tried this tip out, would you please let me know? I'd love to find out how you went and see if there's anything that needs updating on this post.

I'm an online marketing strategist who has been building websites and wrangling social media since 2009. I share tips, tricks, techniques and tools that save you time, money, and/or sanity in the online space.