No doubt, you’ve already heard how mobile applications have taken the world by storm. But did you know that this so-called storm is actually getting bigger and bigger every year?
The Mobile Boom: What The Numbers Say
According to socialmediatoday.com, one of the internet’s most savvy websites when it comes to social media and technology articles, there are over 175 billion smartphone application downloads annually. It’s no surprise that we spend 20% of our media time using, browsing, or even meme-ing with these applications with friends and family. Doing the math shows us that that’s about 2.3 hours of online daily activity!
One of the biggest contributors of this mobile application frenzy is the rise of social media applications. Wearesocial.com estimates that over 3.26 billion people use social media via their smartphones. Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and of course, Instagram. Launched in 2010, Instagram is one of the biggest online platforms for image sharing. It has eventually evolved to its lean structure of sharing, liking, and commenting to messaging, sending of videos, and sharing daily updates through Instagram stories.
Surprisingly, Instagram can be used via your own desktop devices like PC and Mac! Now you might be thinking… “Why would I want to do that, again? I have a perfectly functional one on my phone, thank you very much!”
Why Even Consider Using Desktop Instagram?
Well, social media user. If you are an avid content creator, businessperson, or just want higher-caliber posts for more likes and internet points, you have to step up your game! Using the mobile application is all well and good. Sometimes though, you might have experienced limitations with it. Based on personal usage, the app restricts your workflow especially if you use a computer for other edits, especially in video and photo media retouches. With Instagram on PC or Mac, you can do the following (and more!):
- Have MORE control over your raw media and content: I know that smartphones are really good in taking images currently. In Instagram, you just need to snap a picture, put a quirky filter, and BAM, likes and comments all around. However, sometimes, you simply need to add in more seasoning, and the mobile phone app version suffocates your creativity.
As an amateur photographer, I like to snap random pictures of food and street photography. In the heat of the moment, however, I sometimes lose the technical aspects of my shots. I have the wrong exposure, get random blurs, or I just need to add a splash of color and vignetting using Adobe Lightroom. But if I were to do that, I would have to 1) upload the image I took using my DSLR via cable (I know, what year is it?), 2) edit it to my heart’s content, then 3) send it back to my phone via cable to preserve the quality, and 4) THEN can I publish it on Instagram.
Case in point: I had to stack over 300 images of this moon shot before I could finally post it in social media sites. In all seriousness, can your phone do that?!
With desktop Instagram, you can just copy pictures directly to your computer, edit as you wish, then upload! And of course, that’s just one of the many things you can do on the platform.
- Faster interface for digital marketing engagement: If you’re maintaining brands or businesses, we’re sure you’re already aware of the power of connecting with your target market through the Discover feature. That means following, commenting, and liking; sometimes, all in one image!
The Instagram mobile app has a rather annoying limitation. Basically, it can only show a limited amount of content (without cramping your fingers from constant scrolling). If you use Instagram on your desktop, you can view photos in a cleaner 3-by-3 grid. I’m talking about something like this:
This makes scouting your target market’s content more efficient. And you have your keyboard to type comments!
- You can directly download images: This nifty trick can be done with Instagram in desktop mode. With the desktop app, you can download images to share with your friends instead of sending messy screenshots. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility! Just make sure that before you use any downloaded public content (especially for commercial or business purposes), you should ask for the owner’s permission.
Now that we have that out of the way, we hope you’ll consider checking out Instagram in Desktop mode for Windows!
Desktop Instagram: What To Do Next?
Worried that the process might be a little too complicated? Fear not, because it’s not!
In fact, there are three easy ways to access Instagram in Windows or Mac, depending on your desired functionality and intended purpose.
- Using the default desktop Instagram: This one is the easiest, but the most limited one in features. The following are the steps to use the in-browser support for the site:
- Open your browser.
- Access https://www.instagram.com/ through the web address or through the google search.
- Log in with your credentials.
It should look something like this:
You’ll also love the Discovery window. (To see it, click the compass in the upper right corner of your screen.)
And once you click on image content, this is what you’ll see.
You can like, share, and bookmark content. Most importantly, you can type comments! With an actual keyboard!
What else can you do with the default desktop version? You can also:
- Search for Content: Click the Search box above to get started.
- Follow back and follow new users: After manually searching for users, you can also follow them. You can also follow new users through the suggested users that pop up while you scroll.
- View and Delete your own posts: Click the profile icon on top to check out your content and delete, edit captions, and view comments.
- Edit Profile: While in your profile’s page, simply click the Edit Profile button. You may change passwords, authorize third-party applications, manage contacts and notifications (through email and SMS), check out your privacy and security concerns plus your login activity. You can also change your personal details in this window!
Protip: There’s a quick access to the options area; simply click the round gear icon (you’ll know it when you see it) when you’re on your profile page.
- Installing the Desktop for Instagram Plugin (Windows /Mac Users)
This option has more steps, but you can genuinely get the Instagram-on-smartphone feels. You’ll be using Google Chrome and some Google-fu for the extension, (but we’ll share the link here for faster installation). Here are the steps:
- Open (or download) Google Chrome first.
- Search for the Desktop for Instagram extension (Or better yet, just visit this link: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/desktop-for-instagram/nlhjgcligpbnjphflfdbmabbmjidnmek?hl=en)
- Install the extension on your browser.
- In the upper-right of your browser, click the D icon (for Desktop Instagram).
- Enter your login credentials in the window. If you’re using a personal computer and are on a private connection, you can set your computer to automatically remember your login information. This makes your use of desktop Instagram faster and more convenient.
- Voila! You should now be able to access the mobile-esque version of Instagram through the comfort of your laptop. Impressive, isn’t it?
And just like that, the laptop becomes the smartphone. Talk about irony.
It’s kind of cool that you imported the mobile app via the extension. You can now do what you can normally do in the app, but this time, you can also upload pictures from the laptop directly. Also, see the paper airplane logo on the upper-right corner of your screen? You can now directly message people through the extension, too! The red number on the airplane corresponds to your unread messages.
A Closer Look At What You Can Do
Let’s check out the new features with this extension:
- Download images directly from the posts: No more screenshots! Share the images directly you see from the source. Simply hover your mouse in the image then click the red down arrow. Again, make sure that you inform the user if you’ll be using this for commercial use.
- Like, comment, and share content. You can do this with any of the options presented here.
- Send Direct Messages (DMs) to your contacts. To start, click the paper airplane logo then choose the users you want to message. You may also view old message threads here!
- Upload videos longer than 60 seconds via IGTV. Just click the Upload video (IGTV) button on the right. You’ll be brought to a separate page where you can customize your video before you upload it. You can personalize your IGTV content with a cover, add your title and description, and select where it will appear (you may link your Facebook page if you want to simultaneously upload to both for efficiency), like so:
- Using third-party account emulators: You might have heard of emulators. These are often used by gamers or programmers to check how certain programs would run in different hardware, usually through the computer. You may also download emulators to basically simulate how apps would operate in their natural state in smartphones.
There are many emulators that can support these, but the top-of-mind ones are BlueStacks, Nox, and KOPLAYER.
Think of emulators as copy machines, except they copy actual apps. Emulators are usually tricky to use, but gives that much needed space when viewing images when viewed through monitors versus your small tablet or phone screens. Be careful though; using emulators to publish images to instagram may possibly cause errors and account hangups. Just make sure that when you use an emulator, you are using the actual Instagram application.
Our personal pick is Nox. I have personally used this emulator to play games (heavy ones like Ragnarok M Eternal Love at that) and emulate battery draining apps that run in the background for my work. It goes on without a hitch as long as you fulfill the minimum hardware requirements as seen below:
- Windows XP(32)SP3/Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10
- AMD or Intel CPU(with Virtualization Technology support preferred)
- At least 512MB RAM GPU with OpenGL 2.0+ support
- At least 1GBof free disk space under installation path (for saving the data of the apps you may install) and 300MB under system disk
Great, now you’re ready to emulate! But what do you do next?
Using An Emulator For Desktop Instagram
If you think an emulator is the best for your workflow, then follow the steps below to install Nox. You may also try out bluestacks if you want, but I find the interface fidelity of Nox better.
- Download Nox through their website, https://en.bignox.com/. Click the download button to get started.
- Log in your credentials (your Gmail credentials) and fill out the required details. It’s just like logging in to a new Android phone.
- Go to the Play Store and download Instagram for Mobile.
- Log in your credentials, and voila! You can now have the same features Instagram mobile has!
Which Option Is The Best?
Now that we’ve discussed these top three methods to browse online, we hope that at least one has piqued your interest. The thing with desktop Instagram is that you’re never really out of choices regarding how to get it running.
Take note that all three of these are good and have their own merits. For example, the desktop website is the fastest to learn and adapt (but also has the least features). Meanwhile, the plugin is dependent on Google Chrome and you might have to make Chrome part of your processes. And last but not least, the emulator is the most complicated of the three. However, it gives you the best possible control through your app.
If we were to be honest here, our personal favorite is the Desktop for Instagram Plugin. The reason’s simple: It’s because it’s the least complicated option among the three. Admittedly, it is rather small compared to Nox and the default Instagram website, though.
Whichever method you decide to employ, browse responsibly. Most importantly, take advantage of how using desktop Instagram can improve your workflow and make your life easier. Start using this incredible app on your desktop today!