Wondering if you can post to Instagram from desktop?
YES YOU CAN! Instagram enabled the Instagram Graph API in January 2018, which allowed scheduling IG posts for automated publishing.
This time-saving service only applies to business accounts, and only when you use one of their approved Marketing Partners.
Yes, there are workarounds that I’ll share, but be sure to check my cautions.
This article was originally published October 2014 and has been updated 10 times, most recently October 2020.
There are several ways to post to Instagram from PC or Mac:
- Schedule your posts and have them automatically published for you.
- Schedule your posts and get a reminder to post on your phone.
- Schedule your posts and have them posted for you via mobile devices or emulators.
- Post right on your desktop browser with an emulator.
- Post from your Chrome desktop browser using their Developer Tools.
Of these, the first group is definitely sanctioned by Instagram because they’re approved partners.
The second group should be OK with Instagram because you do the actual posting from your own device. Definitely OK if you’re using an approved partner without the direct publishing feature.
The third group is not sanctioned by Instagram and could get your account closed. DO NOT USE.
Browser posting should be okay with Instagram. I can’t guarantee it, though.
I’ll share more options if you just need to get stuff from your computer to your mobile device for posting.
Disclosure: I’m an affiliate for some of these products and may receive a referral fee if you purchase.
What are the best Instagram schedulers for PC and Mac?
No question about it – you MUST use an Instagram Marketing Partner to schedule your IG posts. Any of these that you like is the best for you.
These approved partners have enabled automatic posting to Instagram:
- Zoho Social
I provide details on these below.
Or, you can set up posts on your computer and have them sent with a reminder to your phone. You manually complete the post inside Instagram.
You can use the “reminder” method on business or non-business Instagram accounts.
Auto-posting with a non-approved service is not okay with Instagram and could get your account closed. Additionally, non-partner tools are using the old API that’s being phased out… so beware.
According to reader John Krootez:
The worst thing about all those apps is that now Instagram has some kind of a ban for ones that use third-party apps and services with their accounts. I think they fight mass-following and time-posting tools that help people organize and automate the growth of their accounts. They said using third-party would definitely put a negative effect on the ranking of such accounts on the recommended and hashtag feeds etc. Another reason, they say, the third-party provide lots of IG users’ personal information to the Big Data collecting companies.
Just say NO to apps that hack into the Instagram API.
Why Use an Instagram Scheduler?
Instagram was created as a share-the-moment social media network. Its intention was sharing moments as you’re experiencing them. But it’s evolved and expanded as new communities and marketers have come to love Instagram.
With these tools:
→ Brands can keep a constant and cohesive presence.
→ Photographers can easily post dSLR photos from their computer.
→ Designers can use their favorite desktop tools and share on IG.
→ Videographers can edit on desktop and share directly to Instagram.
→ The visually creative can plan a kick-ass profile page.
The tools that include scheduling allow you to plan a consistent look to your account, as well as to post when you’re busy working – or even off-grid.
Many of these tools allow you to post even if you don’t own a smart device.
One recent feature of Instagram: Now you can open an account via instagram.com – no need for a smart device.
Instagram Scheduling Tools Approved to Auto-Post
Schedule Instagram posts for your business account – and have them automatically published!
If you don’t want to (or can’t) use the auto-post feature, you can use one of these to send a notification when it’s time to post.
Reasons to use these tools:
- Automatically publish photo or video and caption to a business account.
- Get images and video from computer to your phone to manually post.
- Plan a constant and cohesive presence.
- Set a schedule and not forget when to post.
- Browser-based, or use the mobile app version.
- They’re approved Instagram / Facebook Partners!
Here are a few reasons why you might want to use these tools with notifications instead of auto-posting:
- You have a personal, not business, Instagram account.
- You want to post a multi-image or carousel post (not yet supported).
- You like to use Instagram filters.
- You simply prefer to post live.
Still, these tools are your best bet as they’re approved partners! They have access to the latest API and features, and won’t put your account at risk.
Tailwind for Instagram
Tailwind calls their service “The Most Intuitive Instagram Scheduler Available.” It serves up a lot of great features, including the incredible Hashtag Finder.
Tailwind lets you schedule posts with photos PLUS videos and carousel posts.
It offers Stories Scheduling with the posting prompt to your smartphone.
Tailwind for Instagram also offers:
- Smart Schedule to help you find the best time to post
- Automatically publish photo and caption to a business account
- Bulk upload on desktop
- 9 grid preview
- Manage multiple Instagram accounts
- Hashtag Finder + hashtags in the first comment option
- Reusable hashtag lists
- Easy regrams
There are even options to help with making posts, such as a stock photo library and graphic design tools.
Plus the link in bio tool lets you get the most from that single link.
This one really has everything you need – and they’re great people too! I ? Tailwind.
If you’d like to go in-depth to mastering Tailwind for Instagram, watch this video!
To sign up for a free Tailwind trial, click here. Cost after trial: $9.99 per month if paid annually, or $15 paid monthly.
Why I Prefer Tailwind for Instagram Posting
There are a few Instagram Partners which will offer auto-publishing to Instagram. Why choose Tailwind?
- Tailwind knows visual marketing! They’re experts in Instagram and Pinterest.
- Tailwind is your best buy if you need a paid posting tool for Instagram only.
- Tailwind analytics rock – no upcharges to access valuable stats on your IG performance.
- Tailwind Smart Schedule posts when your audience is most engaged.
- Hashtag Finder! Save time and increase engagement with a perfect collection of hashtags.
- Finally, Tailwind is a small business of dedicated, hardworking folks like you and me. I love to support small business, don’t you?
Try Tailwind with the Smart Schedule and Hashtag Finder – schedule 30 posts for FREE!
I may receive a referral fee if you invest in a paid plan.
Planoly is another approved Instagram partner that offers auto-posting.
You can post photos, carousels, and video posts as well as use the smartphone app to publish Stories.
It offers hashtags in the first caption and you can create reusable hashtag lists in the app.
There’s an easy 9 grid preview and you can drag and drop posts around the calendar.
Saved captions are also available.
There’s no free plan and prices start at $19 a month.
If you want a scheduler that posts to Facebook and Twitter in addition to Instagram, Later is a budget-friendly choice. You can get a plan for as low as $9 per month!
On the $19 plan, you’ll enjoy added features like hashtag suggestions, analytics, and best times to post.
Later even has a Free plan that includes autoposting, but you can’t schedule or post video or Stories on this plan.
Free is limited to 30 posts a month and email support only, but if it’s the only one that fits your (non-existent) budget, then learn more about Later here.
Hootsuite is a full-featured social media management tool.
They’ve added Instagram scheduling to their lineup of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As an Instagram partner, Hootsuite can post directly to Instagram.
Direct photo publishing is also supported on the Hootsuite mobile apps.
Hootsuite includes loads of helpful account management features. Watch the video below to see how you can easily follow and interact with targeted accounts, hashtags, and locations. Very useful – in addition to managing your own accounts.
To sign up for a free 30 day trial of Hootsuite Pro, click here. Current cost after trial: $29 a month billed annually, for 10 social profiles and unlimited scheduling with 1 user.
Hootsuite also offers a limited Free plan for 3 social profiles with a maximum 0f 30 scheduled messages.
Buffer is a well-known social media scheduler that’s also an approved marketing partner with direct posting to Instagram.
Schedule single image and video posts on desktop or mobile to any of your Instagram business profiles, and Buffer will publish for you at your preferred times.
If you’d like to schedule gallery images, or use Instagram’s native posting features, like filters, they’ll send a notification to your phone at your scheduled time. Your post will be automatically loaded into Instagram with your pre-written caption, ready to be pasted, and you can customize and publish.
Measure the performance of your posts with Buffer’s key metrics. See how your audience is growing and how your followers are engaging with your content.
There’s no cropping tool in Buffer like there is in Tailwind, so if your image posts are not within Instagram’s 4:5 to 1.91:1 aspect ratio, they can’t be auto-published.
Yes, you can auto-publish to Instagram business accounts on the Free plan! The Pro plan is $15 per month, and the Premium plan jumps to $65/month.
Zoho Social is a complete social media management platform for businesses and agencies. Manage multiple social channels, schedule unlimited posts, monitor keywords, and collaborate with your team—all from a single dashboard.
Direct publishing to Instagram is available in all the plans offered by Zoho Social, including the Free plan.
Check out the 15-day free trial of Zoho Social here.
PostCron offers direct publishing to Instagram, as well as Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Facebook events, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Want to learn more, or sign up for their 7-day free trial? Click here.
Start posting photos or videos directly to Instagram from Sendible, without having to use mobile app notifications!
You’ll be able to post directly to Instagram by setting up your Instagram Business Profile as a new service within Sendible. Note: Instagram currently only allows the following formats for direct scheduling: single photo (.JPG and .PNG files) or video (.MOV and .MP4 files).
To schedule carousel posts, meaning multiple photos or videos, you can continue to publish through the push-notification process with their mobile app.
Currently, the “Micro” plan is $29 billed monthly.
Iconosquare is another Instagram Partner scheduling tool that’s enabled auto-publishing.
For a 14-day free trial, click here to try Iconosquare. This one is also $29 per month billed annually, or $39 on monthly billing.
IG Scheduling Tools That Send a Reminder to Your Phone
These tools aren’t smartphone-free solutions. They send a reminder to your mobile device at the time you scheduled your post. You still need a mobile device to complete the posting.
Need Instagram post ideas and a way to create them, in addition to a scheduler? PromoRepublic offers all 3.
Create stunning posts in seconds with 100,000+ handcrafted templates, ideas, and visuals.
It’s really a brilliant idea generator! You’ll never be at a loss for ideas. Every time I log in, I find graphics that I can’t resist to pop my logo on and schedule to either Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Spend an hour or two once a month, and check content creation and scheduling off your list!
To try PromoRepublic for free, click here.
If you purchase a plan, I may receive a referral fee.
Here’s a full-featured tool that lets you manage all your visual content in one place – not just for Instagram, but also Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Bulk upload and editing tools included.
- Create original content with their Canva integration.
- Customize your message, image dimensions, and posting time for each social network.
- Add multiple RSS feeds, Instagram, and Flickr accounts to curate content easily.
- Chrome extension to pick images from any site in an instant, and schedule them in bulk.
- “Recycling” feature that automatically recycles your top-performing evergreen content.
- Collaborate and plan your social media with your team on a shared marketing calendar.
- Organize your content from Dropbox, Google Drive, Flickr, and social media in your custom dashboard.
- Measure the success of your content with Viraltag website traffic and social analytics.
- Learn best times to post and which content drives more engagement.
This looks like a great tool and I hope to find time to give ViralTag a test run. Current cost after 14-day trial: $24 per month, and up.
If you purchase a plan, I may receive a referral fee.
CrowdFireApp allows you to schedule Instagram photos at the best suggested time to get the most likes and engagement with your picture. Or choose to post immediately, or at a time you specify.
They suggest hashtags to use. You can “add all” hashtags, but most are irrelevant to your image, so don’t.
There’s also an app for iOS and Android to schedule via your phone. Free version available: maximum 10 posts per month and no support.
Schedule posts to Instagram via the Socialdraft dashboard and you’ll receive an SMS (no additional mobile app needed).
Socialdraft puts all of your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into one easy to read calendar.
Pro plan cost after 14-day trial: $19 per month. Plus, there’s a Free version allowing up to 50 posts per month.
Non-Partner Scheduling Tools That Post for You
I no longer suggest any non-approved tools that post for you, as Instagram has warned us not to use them.
There are plenty of Instagram Partner scheduling tools listed above to choose from!
Instagram Tools That Post Directly from Desktop (No Scheduling)
These might be a lifesaver if you don’t own a smartphone or tablet. That said, these can tend to be buggy. But, they’re free, and are an option if you don’t have a smartphone.
Read on for a way to post directly from your Chrome browser!
NOTE: I can’t guarantee that these methods are sanctioned by Instagram.
One way to run the mobile app on your computer is through software called BlueStacks. BlueStacks App Player lets you run your favorite mobile apps fullscreen in your browser and on PC. Since you’re running the mobile app, you can open a new account via BlueStacks.
BlueStacks is an emulator. You can give it a try, but I’ve heard it’s a bit quirky and requires some patience. However, it is free!
To upload a photo from your desktop, click the camera button, then select the polaroid icons in the lower-right of the app window. This will prompt you to select a photo from your drive. (If you use Instagram on Android, this entire process will be familiar.) Then, edit and upload the photo as usual. source
InPic (formerly InstaPic)
Another way to Instagram on your computer – including being able to register an account – is using the app InPic (formerly called InstaPic) on Windows. If you want to give this one a try, you can find it here.
Unfortunately, this one’s only available for Windows.
Gramblr not working
I recommended against using this one, or any tool that has you share your password. That breaks the Instagram Terms of Service.
However, it isn’t working any more so pick a Gramblr alternative. There are many options on this page, plus a completely app-free way to post outlined below.
How to Post to Instagram from Chrome Browser
This is 100% free, and since you’re on instagram.com, should be safe to do.
Open Chrome Developer Tools (F12, or Ctrl+Shift+I on PC, Cmd+Opt+I on Mac).
Make sure you’re in mobile view. Select a desired phone or tablet layout.
Refresh the page if you don’t see the icons along the bottom (home, search, upload, engagement, profile).
Tap the center “upload” button and navigate to your photo.
Re editing, you’re limited to 11 filters, image shape, and rotating. That’s it.
Here’s a video that walks you through:
Low Tech Options to Get to Instagram from Computer
If you simply need to move dSLR photos or graphics you created on your computer to your phone, you can bypass the tools mentioned above.
Easiest solution for Apple users.
I simply right-click the item on desktop and choose Share > AirDrop.
Open your mobile device and it should pop up on the AirDrop screen.
Select on your computer, and accept on your mobile device.
Don’t know how to set up AirDrop? This video walks you through.
Mac Photos App
Have an iPhone, and using the Photos desktop app on your Mac? Simply right-click any photo and choose Share > iCloud Photo Sharing.
If you haven’t already, create a shared album and you’ll see it as one of your photo albums right in the Instagram app. Easy-peasy.
If you’re not all Apple, or you’re retouching or creating images in Photoshop, then use Dropbox. It’s a free app that you’ll install on both your computer and your smart device. Then simply copy the items on your desktop to a Dropbox folder (mine’s named IG – clever huh?).
To copy files on a Mac, go to your Finder, open the folder containing the image(s), and option-click on the one(s) you want to copy. Drag to the Dropbox folder and you’ll find them on your phone app instantly. Tap on the image and save it to your camera roll.
If you sign up for a FREE account, I’ll get more storage space on mine. So go ahead, do it, you know you want to!
(Did I mention it’s FREE? And very useful!)
The lowest tech option of all is to email yourself a photo from your computer. This is cumbersome if you’re using high resolution photos, as you’ll be emailing yourself often!
Which Instagram Posting App is Best for You?
As Instagram pursues businesses and advertisers, they’ve updated their API to make posting from desktop easier for business accounts – but only through an approved partner.
I gave you loads of other options that don’t include auto-posting, too! If you do the actual posting yourself, it shouldn’t cross Instagram’s Terms of Service, but I can’t guarantee that.
Will you try one of these tools to post to Instagram from desktop?