How to post to Instagram on your Mac

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Post photos direct to Instagram from Safari on your Mac.
Post photos direct to Instagram from Safari on your Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you know the trick, you can use Instagram on your Mac. And I don’t just mean viewing your timeline in Safari. I mean uploading pictures, adding filters, the lot. What’s more, it’s dead easy. Interested? Here’s how it works.

How to post to Instagram from the Mac

Instead of using a separate Instagram app for Mac, this trick relies on a built-in — but usually hidden — feature of Safari on the Mac. You can tell regular Safari to masquerade as mobile Safari, whereupon it will load the iPhone version of the Instagram site and allow you to use all the tools available on the iPhone. This tip comes from Matt Haughey of A Whole Lotta Nothing.

Show Safari's Develop menu.
Show Safari’s Develop menu.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Note: This doesn’t work on the iPad. The iPad can load desktop or mobile versions of a site, but it can’t pretend to be an iPhone. You could try a third-party browser like iCab, which should make this possible.

The first step is to enable this behavior in Safari. Go to Safari’s Preferences, click the Advanced tab, and then check the box next to Show Develop menu in menubar. It’s at the bottom of the window.

Use this setting to masquerade as an iPhone.
Use this setting to masquerade as an iPhone.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Then, head to Instagram.com and sign in. Now comes the cool part. You’ll see that Safari now has a new menubar item: Develop. Click this, and then pick iPhone Safari from the User Agent submenu. The page will reload, and you can now post your photos to Instagram from the Mac desktop.

Use all Instagram filters on your computer

Use Instagram's filters in Safari on the Mac.
Use Instagram’s filters in Safari on the Mac.
Photo: Cult of Mac

To post a photo, click the + button and follow along as usual. You can crop/uncrop the photo, and also apply any of Instagram’s filters.

Posted!
Posted!
Photo: Cult of Mac

You can also view and use your Instagram direct messages, access your settings, and do pretty much everything you could do in the iOS app. This is pretty great for photographers who do a lot of work on the Mac. Now you can post directly to the photo-sharing service, instead of having to transfer your pictures to your iPhone first.