In a recent edition of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, I indicated that it was necessary to copy photos to a smartphone in order to share them on Instagram. Thankfully, many of my readers wrote to let me know that there are in fact a variety of ways you can post photos to Instagram directly from your computer, without the need to use a smartphone or the Instagram app.
One of the options that I think is especially convenient is to simply have your web browser simulate the browsing experience of a mobile device, which in turn will cause the Instagram website to provide you with all of the feature normally found in the Instagram app, including the option to share photos to Instagram from within your computer’s web browser.
Safari on Macintosh
If you are a Macintosh user, the Safari browser makes it especially easy to access all of the Instagram features from within the web browser. First, you’ll need to make sure that the Develop menu appears on the menu bar. To enable that option, go to the menu bar and choose Safari > Preferences. In the Preferences dialog go to the Advanced tab, and turn on the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” checkbox. Then close the Preferences dialog.
You can then navigate to the Instagram website (https://www.instagram.com), and sign in to your Instagram account. Finally, go to the menu bar and choose User Agent from the Develop menu. On the User Agent submenu, choose the Safari option for iPhone or iPad. For example, as of this writing the current iPhone option is “Safari–iOS 11.3–iPhone”.
Once you have selected a User Agent option that corresponds to a mobile device your web browser will behave as though you were using a mobile device rather than a computer. As a result, among other things you will see the “plus” (+) button at the bottom of the Instagram page, which you can click on to initiate the process of posting a photo from your computer to your Instagram feed.
Chrome on Windows or Macintosh
With the Chrome web browser the process of simulating a mobile device is a little more complicated than with Safari, but the advantage of this option is that the same approach works on both Windows and Macintosh computers.
The first step with the Chrome browser is to navigate to the Instagram website (https://www.instagram.com) and sign in to your Instagram account. Then right-click in any empty area of the web page and choose “Inspect” from the popup menu. This will open a set of panels on the right side of your web browser. At the top of these inspect panels you will see a series of tabs including Elements, Console, Sources, and others. To the left of those tabs you will find a button with an icon representing mobile devices, which enables you to toggle the Device Toolbar. Click that button to reveal a set of controls on a toolbar above the Instagram website.
The popup at the left side of the Device Toolbar will initially indicate “Responsive”. You can click this popup and select the mobile device you would like to simulate. For example, selecting the “iPhone 6/7/8” option will simulate the user of a web browser on an iPhone even though you are using a computer.
To finalize the effect and enable you to work with the mobile browsing experience at a larger size, first click the Refresh button to the left of the address bar in the Chrome browser. Then click the “X” at the top-right of the Inspect panels to close those panels. Because you are now simulating a mobile web browser on your computer, you will have access to all Instagram features, including the use of the “Plus” (+) button at the bottom of the page to post a new photo to your Instagram feed.
Mobile on Your Desktop
By using a web browser feature that enables you to simulate a mobile device browsing experience in the browser on your computer, you can gain access to features not normally available on a computer web browser. In the case of Instagram, this little trick enables you to post photos to your Instagram feed without having to use the Instagram app on your mobile device.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram! You can find me with my user name of @timgreyphoto, or by pointing your web browser here: