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 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.
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.
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 (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.
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 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.
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.
You can watch Websta for Instagram in action below:
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.
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
- Download this ISO image of Android. Download the first file in the list – the one with the most downloads
- 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.
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.
Select the second option “Create a Virtual HardDrive Now”.
Select the first option “VirtualBox Disk Image”.
Select the first option “Dynamically Allocated”.
You can call the new Hard Drive “Instagram”. Click Create.
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.
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.
Android will now setup automatically. Skip the WiFi setup and Google Account setup stages.
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.
First, go to Security and enable Unknown Sources. Click OK when the security warning pops up and Unknown Sources is enabled.
Then go back to the Settings screen and scroll down to Accessibility:
Deactivate Auto-rotate screen otherwise you’ll end up having to use Instagram with your Mac on it’s side!
Finally, go to the Display settings and Deactivate the Sleep mode:There 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:
Click on the Download button at the bottom:The download will start in the top left of the screen. Drag this down with the mouse and click on the downloaded file:When you click on the file, the Instagram installation process will start on your Mac:Then 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: The login page will be on it’s side at first: 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: 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:
- Search for Instagram and then install it as if you were installing it on a phone.
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.
- Search for “Instagram” and click on “Install”.
- You’ll then have to enable the AppStore. Just follow the instructions to set it up.
- 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.
- Then click “Proceed” when prompted setup 1-Click Sync Setup.
- Just click “Done” when prompted to setup a device.
- Select Instagram from the AppStore.
- Instagram will then install within Bluestacks.
- Click on MyApps and you’ll see Instagram is now installed on your Mac via Bluestacks.
- Click on it and you’ll be taken to the Instagram login page as if you were using it on a phone.
- You can view your feed as if you were using your phone.
- On your profile page, click on the “Settings” tab in the top right corner.
- Click on Advanced Features
- Deselect “Use Instagram’s Advanced Camera”.
- 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”.
- Select ES file manager in the App Store and it will install.Go back to your Instagram profile page and select the image or “take photo” button at the bottom.Select ES File Explorer.
- Select BST folder.You’ll then see your Mac’s image folders. In this case it’s the PhotoBooth folder.
Clicking on that gives access to your Pictures folder from which you can upload images to Instagram from your Mac.
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.
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.