How to . . . upload photos to Instagram without the app (mostly)

Want to ditch the Instagram app? Now there’s an option

Instagram recently made a change that opens up the photo-sharing site to mobile web users at least.

Instagram recently made a change that opens up the photo-sharing site to mobile web users at least.


Once upon a time, the only way to get your photos uploaded to Instagram officially was to use the app. Sure, you could get a third party service to help, but do you really want to add yet another service to the growing list? And then there’s the trust factor of allowing a third party access to your Instagram credentials.

The good news

But Instagram recently made a change that opens up the photo sharing site to mobile web users at least. Now, when you go to on your phone or tablet, you’ll have the option to upload pictures there rather than having to install the app. The caveat: it’s limited. On the iOS version, you don’t get the option to edit, beyond changing the orientation of the image. That means no filters: no Lo-fi or Hefe to make sure you get the perfect look. And no tweaking the image before you share it with the world, unless you run i through other image editing software first.

There are several reasons you might not want to use the Instagram app. Maybe you’ve borrowed someone else’s phone for an Instagram emergency (if such a thing exists). Maybe you’ve run out of space on your phone so you’ve stripped the apps back to the essentials and are using mobile web for everything you can. Either way, the option is there for users, and more choice is probably a good thing.

The bad news

The bad news is that if you want to upload photos from your PC, you still have to rely on third party services, or face having to transfer photos from your PC to your phone and upload them via the mobile web or the official Instagram app. There’s a Windows 10 app for Instagram, but like the desktop website, you can only view photos rather than share them.

Yes, we get it: the future is mobile. The PC is supposedly dead (but it’s not quite done yet). And Instagram was created as a way to share photos you took on your phone. But occasionally, you want to upload photos you took on a regular camera. Or you want to tweak your images a little and your mobile apps don’t offer quite the same option.

If you want to upload photographs from your PC, there are a couple of options though. The first is to use an Android emulator, such as Bluestacks, which is available for PC and Mac. You can install all your favourite apps there, including Instagram, and upload photographs directly from your PC or Mac to your Instagram feed.

The second option is to use cloud storage services for your photos that can share images between your phone and desktop. Dropbox is is the obvious choice here, unless you have a lot of photos that you plan to send to Instagram and don’t feel like paying for an account. Install the desktop app for Dropbox on your Mac or PC, and the mobile app on your tablet or phone. You’ll be able to send images between your devices in minutes.