Instagram for Mac does not exist but there are some excellent Instagram apps for Mac that allow you to view and upload photos to your Instagram feed from OS X. You can also install Instagram on your Mac using an Instagram emulator for Mac although this is far more time consuming and complicated. Here we take a look at the best Instagram apps for Mac, then we show you how to install Instagram on Mac.

How To Use Instagram On Mac

Since there is no official Instagram for Mac app, there are several Instagram apps for Mac that allow you to view your Instagram photo feed on OS X. However, there is only one that allows you to also upload photos to Instagram from Mac – Flume for Instagram. Flume for Instagram is a slick app which enables you to login into your Instagram account and upload photos from your Mac to Instagram.

We’ll first take a look at Flume for Instagram first before moving onto other apps which only allow you to view your Instagram feed.

Flume For Instagram (Free Mac App Store / Pro $9.99)

Flume is the closest thing to having Instagram for Mac on your OS X desktop and easily the best Instagram app for Mac we’ve tried. Flume is the only app that genuinely allows you to upload photos and videos from your Mac to Instagram. However, it should be noted that you can only upload photos in the Pro version of Flume which you can upgrade to in-app for $9.99. However, it’s definitely well worth it and there’s no other app like Flume that comes close to giving you full Instagram functionality on Mac. The Pro version also allows you to add multiple accounts.

You can do many things in Flume that you can in Instagram for iOS and Android including like, comment and share photos. You can search for users via hashtag or location and it’s even integrated with the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pros. Uploading photos is as simple as dragging and dropping them into the Flume interface.

instagram for mac - flume

The slight drawback is that the filters aren’t the same as in Instagram – for technical reasons it can only use the same ones as used in Photo Booth. You can read more about Flume for Instagram on the Flume website. You can also watch Flume for Instagram in action below:

Other Instagram Apps For Mac (View Feed Only)

There are other Instagram apps for Mac but none that allow you to upload photos to Instagram. You can of course follow your photo feed using the official web version of Instagram but again, the web version does not allow you to upload photos.

instagram for mac - instagram website

The following Instagram apps for Mac make viewing your photo feed a little more convenient, don’t require a browser, and add a few other useful little features. If you just want to follow your Instagram feed, then try one if these instead.

PhotoDesk ($6.99 Mac App Store)

PhotoDesk (formerly InstaDesk) allows you to view, like, comment and download Instagram photos and videos on your Mac. If you prefer doing all this on your Mac rather than your iPhone, then PhotoDesk is perfect.

instagram for mac - photodesk for mac

In the latest version, there’s also map support for searching images by Places and you can also create saved searches for specific topics. The interface is really slick and it’s as close to an official Instagram app on Mac as you’ll find. Of course, you can’t upload photos to Instagram from PhotoDesk.

Instamac ($4.99 Mac App Store)

Instamac is a very simple looking but feature packed Instagram client for Mac which is optimized for retina displays and supports a huge range of features – more than PhotoDesk in fact. These include enlarging of Instagram images, viewing people’s profiles, saving hashtag searches, viewing popular and trending images and bookmarking favorite searches. You can even turn photos into slideshows based on hashtags or your favorite searches. If you don’t like the look of Instamac you can also change the skin. Instamac looks deceptively plain and simple but it’s probably the most feature packed Instagram for Mac app available.

instagram for mac - instamac

Websta For Instagram (Free Chrome Extension)

If you’re already a Google Chrome user on Mac, then Websta for Instagram (formerly known as “Instagram Web”) is a plugin which allows you to check Instagram from your Chrome account. Once installed, just click on the Websta for Instagram logo in the top right of Chrome, log-in and you can view your Instagram feed. You can’t do much more beyond searching but it’s basically a slightly more convenient way to access Instagram than visiting the Instagram website.

instagram for mac - websta instagram chrome

You can watch Websta for Instagram in action below:

Gramblr (Free)

Gramblr is a simple photo uploader that doesn’t have the slick interface and flashy features of PhotoDesk but still allows you to upload photos to Instagram from your Mac – and it’s free. You simply install the Gramblr photo uploader, sign into Instagram, browse to the photo you want to upload, add a caption and click upload.instagram for mac - gramblr

These are the best apps to view Instagram feeds on Mac. These Instagram apps have stood the test of time whereas others such as Visual Grub for Mac and Carousel for Mac have disappeared. However, Flume for Mac is still the only one that lets you upload photos and videos to Instagram and generally, has the best overall interface so for a a few dollars more, we’d recommend going for that.

How To Install Instagram on Mac

If you want all the functionality of the mobile version of Instagram on your Mac, then the only way is to install it via an Android emulator. Please note that setting this up is far more time consuming than installing one of the apps featured above. The easiest way to install Android apps on Mac is by using Google Arc Welder extension for Chrome. You can find full instructions how to install Android apps on Mac here using Arc Welder.

However, there are a few other ways too. The first method we look at here uses Virtual Box which allows you to install an Android emulator on your Mac and even Windows applications on Mac. The second involves using Bluestacks although Bluestacks is no longer officially supported on Mac anymore and we don’t recommend using it.

How To Install Instagram on Mac Using Virtual Box

  1. Download this ISO image of Android. Download the first file in the list – the one with the most downloads
  2. Download Virtual Box for Mac. Virtual Box allows you to run other operating systems – such as Android and Windows – on your Mac. Download the file that says “Download Virtual Box for Mac Hosts”.

Install VirtualBox on your Mac and then when you open it, click “New” in the top left corner.whatsapp for mac - virtualbox

In the Name field, you can write “Instagram” and in the Type just select “Other” as Android is not on the list.

Move the Memory slider somewhere in the middle.whatsapp for mac - virtualbox memory

Select the second option “Create a Virtual HardDrive Now”.whatsapp for mac - hard drive

Select the first option “VirtualBox Disk Image”.whatsapp for mac - hard drive type

Select the first option “Dynamically Allocated”.whatsapp for mac - memory allocation

You can call the new Hard Drive “Instagram”. Click Create.install instagram on mac - virtual box

You’re now ready to setup Android on your Mac. You’ll see your new Instagram Virtual Drive in the left menu. Make sure it is selected and click Start. You’ll then be prompted to select a Virtual Disk which is the Android ISO you downloaded earlier. Browse to the Android ISO file and click Start.install instagram for mac - virtualbox setup

When you see the Virtual Box mouse warning, just click capture and then simply hit “Enter” as the option you need “Run Android -x86 Without Installation” is selected by default. Once your mouse is inside Virtual Box, it is “locked” in there but if you need to get it out to use it in OS X again, simply press the left CMD key next to the spacebar to release it.install instagram for mac - android

Android will now setup automatically.install instagram for mac - android startup Skip the WiFi setup and Google Account setup stages.instagram for mac - wifi

Once setup has finished, you are on the main Android screen. Select the Home Menu button as you would if you were using an Android device. You must first access Settings to disable some features to enable Instagram to work in Virtual Box properly. instagram for mac - android apps

First, go to Security and enable Unknown Sources. Click OK when the security warning pops up and Unknown Sources is enabled.instagram for mac - unknown sources setting

Then go back to the Settings screen and scroll down to Accessibility: instagram for mac - accessibility setting

Deactivate Auto-rotate screen otherwise you’ll end up having to use Instagram with your Mac on it’s side! instagram for mac - auto rotate screen

Finally, go to the Display settings and Deactivate the Sleep mode:instagram for mac - sleep settingsThere are then two ways to install Instagram on your Mac. The first one is the only one that definitely works at the moment. The second method used to work but at the time of writing, is affected by a bug:

Method 1: By Downloading Instagram Directly

Open the Android browser and go to the following address:

https://app.box.com/s/caf0o4w6vmkokza7ua5o

Click on the Download button at the bottom:instagram for mac - downloadThe download will start in the top left of the screen. Drag this down with the mouse and click on the downloaded file:instagram for mac - downloadedWhen you click on the file, the Instagram installation process will start on your Mac:instagram for mac - installationThen simply follow the installation process. There will be a non essential warning about Google security settings which you can Accept or Decline – whichever you prefer. At the end of it, Instagram will be installed on your Mac. Just click open to start using it:instagram for mac - app installed The login page will be on it’s side at first:instagram for mac - login But don’t worry, with some clever mouse work, try click “Login”, at the bottom and Instagram will revert back to the normal horizontal view:instagram for mac - login details At the time of writing, this is the only way to install Instagram on Mac that definitely works.

Method 2 below is also supposed to work – and is the way you normally install Instagram on an Android device – but due to a known bug with Android devices, does not work properly anymore due to a “device incompatible” error message. However, at some stage, Instagram will be updated to fix the bug so if the above method doesn’t work or you’d rather go via the Play store, here’s how to do it.

    • Method 2: Using the Google Play Store: Use the Back button at the bottom of the screen to go back to your Android desktop. Click the dots at the bottom of the screen to reveal your apps and open the Google Play Store: instagram for mac - android apps
    • Search for Instagram and then install it as if you were installing it on a phone.

instagram for mac - play store search

Just follow the installation instructions. As mentioned earlier, at the the time of writing you will probably receive a “device not compatible” error. This is a bug that Instagram is looking into with Google and until it is fixed, Google suggests a temporary fix for some users is to clear your Google Play Store data cache by going: Settings > Application Manager > All > Google Play Store > Clear data. If this does not work for you, try method 1.

How To Install Instagram for Mac Using Bluestacks

Important Note: Bluestacks for Mac has been discontinued and this workaround no longer works properly. We cannot provide any guarantees for the following method using Bluestacks to install Instagram on your Mac. This tutorial is only provided for reference and legacy purposes only.

Here’s how to install Instagram on your Mac using Bluestacks:

  • Download Bluestacks. Double-click on the DMG file and drag the Bluestacks icon into your Applications folder.
  • Open it and click on the search magnifying glass in the top-right corner.instagram for mac 1 - search bluestacks
  • Search for “Instagram” and click on “Install”.instagram for mac 2- bluestacks
  • You’ll then have to enable the AppStore. Just follow the instructions to set it up.instagram for mac 3 - enable appstore
  • You then need to add your Google account to access the store. When you’ve entered your Google account details (such as your Gmail account and password) click “Finish Setup” in the bottom right corner.instagram for mac 5 - finish setup
  • Then click “Proceed” when prompted setup 1-Click Sync Setup.instagram for mac 6 - sync setup
  • Just click “Done” when prompted to setup a device.instagram for mac 7 - select device
  • Select Instagram from the AppStore.instagram for mac 8 - instagram mobile 1 store
  • Instagram will then install within Bluestacks.instagram for mac 9 - installing instagram
  • Click on MyApps and you’ll see Instagram is now installed on your Mac via Bluestacks.instagram for mac 10 - bluestacks my apps
  • Click on it and you’ll be taken to the Instagram login page as if you were using it on a phone. instagram for mac 11 - instagram login
  • You can view your feed as if you were using your phone.instagram for mac 12 - feed
  • On your profile page, click on the “Settings” tab in the top right corner.instagram for mac - 12.5 settings
  • Click on Advanced Featuresinstagram for mac 13 - advanced features
  • Deselect “Use Instagram’s Advanced Camera”.instagram for mac 14 - advanced camera setting
  • Now you need to install an extra application so that Instagram can browse and find pictures on your Mac to upload. Go back to Bluestacks App Store and search for a utility called “es file manager”.instagram for mac 16 - es file manager
  • Select ES file manager in the App Store and it will install.instagram for mac 16 - es file manager mobile 1 storeGo back to your Instagram profile page and select the image or “take photo” button at the bottom.instagram for mac 17 - upload imageSelect ES File Explorer.
  • instagram for mac 18 - es file managerSelect BST folder.instagram for mac 19 - bst folderYou’ll then see your Mac’s image folders. In this case it’s the PhotoBooth folder.instagram for mac 20 - folders

Clicking on that gives access to your Pictures folder from which you can upload images to Instagram from your Mac.instagram for mac 21 - pictures folder

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you use Instagram on Mac. In summary, we highly recommend Flume for Instagram as it offers the easiest way to both view and upload photos and videos to Instagram from Mac. As you can see, installing Instagram on Mac is messy and complicated and even then, is not guaranteed to work properly especially with new updates to OS X.

Further Reading

If you found this guide on how to use Instagram on Mac useful, you may also be interested in:

If you have any other problems or questions using Instagram on OS X, let us know in the comments below.

About The Author

Author

MacHow2 is devoted to helping you get the most of of your Mac. We’re passionate about all things Mac and OS X whether it’s helping users with software recommendations or solving technical problems on Mac. If you’ve got any comments about this article, get involved by leaving a comment below. You can also contact us directly using the contact form at the top of the site. Please note that in the interests of transparency, MacHow2 may sometimes receive compensation from link clicks or vendors.

40 Responses

    • MacHow2

      It may be that you’ve moved the folder somewhere else on your Mac. Just create a new folder in your Pictures folder on your Mac and use that instead.

      Reply
  1. gracenande123

    I have problems, Looks like the Bluestacks takes hours to load and if I try to search it doesn’t show “instagram”. I have used this for one day and the next day it doesn’t work why?

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      Do you mean you managed to install Instagram for Mac using the instructions above but the next day when you opened Bluestacks, Instagram had disappeared?

      Reply
      • gracenande123

        No this was last week after following the steps with a friend that showed me this. I did quit after noticing it wasn’t working so I cam back and found out about the older version of Bluestacks.
        I did use it yesterday, it was working but as I try today it doesn’t work(It’s slow like the new version of Blustacks, yesterday it was fast).

      • MacHow2

        It sounds like it may be a problem with Bluestacks servers which sometimes can be slow.

  2. nate

    i followed all of the instructions but when i click install it just says searching app stores. it just keeps on searching.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      Uploading from iPhoto to Instagram on your Mac is not possible because iPhoto images are stored in an Apple iPhoto Library which Bluestacks can’t access. The easiest way of getting iPhoto pictures into Bluestacks is to simply take a screenshot of them and then save them in your Pictures folder and upload them to Instagram on your Mac that way.

      Reply
  3. Decapandapus

    They haven’t updated it for Macbooks for awhile and/or it doesn’t work on my Air. Please help!

    Reply
  4. Guy Bradley

    Thanks so much, your work is so helpful and easy to follow. I explicitly followed your instructions but the bluestacks search button doesn’t work. I get an error the app is not responding. I then tried going to “my apps” and using the “app search app”. Sometimes I get the same error. Sometimes it works. When it does work instagram downloads but doesn’t appear in “my apps”.

    Reply
  5. Guy Bradley

    PS, the link you give to download bluestacks for Mac at the start of these instructions is linked to a PC version.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      Hi Guy, Glad it helped you install Instagram on your Mac. The link you mention simply links to the Bluestacks homepage but they have now withdrawn the Bluestacks download for Mac so it only goes to the PC version now.

      Reply
  6. Richard

    Using the Virtual Box method:
    When I go to install Instagram, the play store tells me “Your device is not compatible with this version.”
    is there a workaround for this?

    Cheers,
    R

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      Hi Richard, If you”re receiving that message, try going into the Play Store via the Android web browser instead and installing Instagram that way.

      Reply
      • Richard

        Thanks for this, but when i do that i get an error that brings me back to the play store that says the same as before.

        here is the workflow FYI:
        Android web browser -> play.google.com : Instagram site -> Install Now -> Choose Device “No Carrier innotech GmbH VirtualBox” -> Click install -> “Congratulations Instagram will be installed soon” ->Error comes up at top left “Error downloading ‘instagram'” -> Clicking the error brings me to the google play store app with the instagram page loaded and the same note as before “Your device is not compatible”

        Any thoughts?
        R

      • MacHow2

        Richard, Having looked into this now, it seems the “device not compatible” message is a bug that affects some Android users that Instagram is looking into with Google. However, Google suggests a temporary fix for some users is to clear your Google Play Store data cache by going: Settings > Application Manager > All > Google Play Store > Clear data. Hope it helps.

      • MacHow2

        Richard, There’s now a new way to install Instagram on your Mac which doesn’t require the Play store. The article has now been revised to explain how to do it. Let us know if you have problems.

    • MacHow2

      Hi Richard, Sorry this comment was missed. The problem is that OS X is probably recognizing the USB device before VirtualBox has chance to. You need to unmount it from OS X first so that VirtualBox can “grab it”. Try ejecting the USB device using Finder in OS X and then go to the Devices – USB Devices menu in VirtualBox and select the USB drive that you want to mount. Let us know if it helps.

      Reply
  7. Thaissa

    I installed virtual box and everything went well. For some reason when I click to upload a photo on instagram the app just shuts down. Please help

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      It may be because you haven’t allocated VirtualBox enough memory during the original setup process. You could also try closing any other applications that are running on your Mac and in VirtualBox as advised by Instagram.

      Reply
  8. Hannah

    Method 1 problem. Everything seemed to go according to plan using Method 1, and the Instagram icon showed up on the android screen, but when I click to launch it, I’m told “Incompatible device. Unfortunately, this device doesn’t seem to meet the minimum camera requirements.” Ideas? Workaround?

    Reply
      • Hannah

        Macbook air, OS X (Yosemite) v10.10.1. Thanks for this excellent post, BTW. It’s a truly useful labor of love.

      • MacHow2

        You’re welcome and thanks! This may be a problem between VirtualBox, Yosemite and your Mac’s iSight camera. If you have access to one, what you could try doing is connecting a USB webcam camera instead to see if VirtualBox and Instagram will accept that instead.

      • Hannah

        While the Chrome extension would certainly make life (much) easier, my impression is that it will only let me access an existing Instagram account, but not create a new one. Without a smartphone or tablet, I’ve never been able to create my own Instagram account (alas). If that’s truly the case, I’ll either try to get things to work via VirtualBox and a USB webcam (I think I have one lying around somewhere) — or I’ll see if I can create an account through someone else’s tablet!

      • MacHow2

        It used to be possible to create an Instagram account using Bluestacks Android emulator on Mac but Bluestacks no longer works on Mac. However, Bluestacks does still work for Windows so if you have a PC anywhere, it’s worth trying. Otherwise yes, someone else’s tablet will do it.

  9. Joey Marks

    Great rundown of options…been trying to figure this out for a while! Followed the Virtual Box / Emulator method and got all the way to done!! Only hitch is that even though I turned off the AutoRotate function in the Android emulator, Instagram runs sideways and I can’t figure out how to rotate it 90 degrees clockwise.

    As instructed, when I click the login button the page rotates to the appropriate position. But once in, it rotates back to it’s side.

    Any help would be appreciated! And thanks again for a great article.

    Reply
    • MacHow2

      Glad it helped you! Trying hitting F12 twice quickly and as long as screen rotation is enabled, it should rotate 90 degrees to the left.

      Reply
    • MacHow2

      Unfortunately there are little glitches like this that seem to affect some users and not others. The only suggestion is to try and reinstalling by following the tutorial again as something may have gone wrong with your current install.

      Reply
  10. flightdmtDee

    Thanks for the instructions. Used method 1 of Virtualbox and got all the way to the end. When I got to the login screen for Instagram it a window popped up that said Incompatible device, unfortunately the device doesn’t meet the minimum camera requirements. Option 2 didn’t work as it had the camera features problem too. What am I doing wrong? Does method 1 still work or are both methods now bugged?

    Reply

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