How To Post From Desktop To Instagram and Stay Out of Hot Water

If you are one of the thousands of people that would LOVE to post from Desktop to Instagram, listen up. 

There are ways to do it easily (one of them might shock you!), while keeping Instagram happy. 

Nobody wants to get in Hot Water with Instagram!  Use these tools and you'll be sorted!  

How to Post from Desktop to Instagram and Stay out of Hot Water

Firstly, one of the tools I have to share with you below might just Blow Your Mind.  It's the secret way you can post from Desktop to Instagram…. without any 3rd party tool!

Not. Even. Joking.

Secondly, there are reasons why you need to be choosy about the tools you use to post to Instagram, and here's why:

Don't Do This on Instagram (Seriously, Don't!).

Instagram has strict terms of service about how you post to the app.

This means that Instagram's API is highly prohibitive to certain actions including auto-posting and posting directly from desktop computers or laptops.

Any tool that gets around the API puts you (and your employer or client or business) at risk of being shut down.

You can read more about why tools can't post directly to Instagram here.

If a tool claims that it can

  • post automatically by emulating a mobile phone without pressing any buttons OR
  • post directly to Instagram from a desktop (by emulating Instagram in some way)

then it's possible you are contravening Instagram's Terms and Conditions.

Don't do that. Your account may be shut down.

There are only two methods that I recommend if you want to post from Desktop to Instagram:

  1. Posting legitimately from your computer – laptop or desktop.   Until now has not been possible. But now it is!  You just need to have the right device, which I will show you below.
  2. Setting up your post using a 3rd party tool on your laptop or desktop and then receiving a reminder to post the final image and description from your phone.

Below are the tools I use to post to Instagram from a Desktop.  I'll also share how I follow up to engage with comments.


How Do You Post from Desktop to Instagram

1  Use a Microsoft Surface Device to Post from Desktop to Instagram

This is huge.  It's the secret way that you can post from a laptop to Instagram without ANY 3rd party tools.

It's Instagram, pure and simple, just like on a mobile…only on your Surface Device.

In 2016, I switched to using a Surface Pro 4 laptop from my MacBook Air, and this where the magic happens.

On a Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book (or even, I believe, the Surface Studio Desktop) you can post natively to Instagram using the Microsoft Instagram App on Windows 10.

Completely legit!  You're using an official INSTAGRAM App so there is no third party tool or hack required to get this to work.

Other than the device, which is key.


Here's how it works:

You simply open the Instagram App and that's it.  Use it just like Instagram (seriously, it's almost that simple!).

But yes, there are a few things to know:

Open the Instagram App on your Surface Device - How To Post From Desktop To Instagram and Stay Out of Hot Water


It only works on Microsoft devices running Windows 10 with a touch screen.

Boom!  The Surface devices (yes, laptops and desktops) have touch screens.

Is your mind blown yet?  

Now, before I show you “how” to post from desktop to Instagram,  full disclosure that I am a Surface Ambassador. It had been about 6 years since I had used a PC when I agreed to test out the Surface Pro 4 for Microsoft.   I can say that a great deal of thought and consideration occurred before changing operating systems and devices.

One of the deciding factors for me was that Microsoft Surface devices have a touch screen.  Little did I know that the Surface touch screen was going to bring this Instagram “hack” into my life.

(Note:  It's not really a hack.  It's a real thing).

The user interface that you see has everything you normally see on your Instagram Mobile app – from Instagram Stories to your camera (front and back facing) to your messages, notifications, comments and likes.

This is what I see when I open the app (just like on my mobile phone!).

The Instagram App on the Surface Device has all the features of your mobile app - How To Post From Desktop To Instagram and Stay Out of Hot Water

You can do everything you would normally do on your mobile phone:

  • Watch and record Instagram Stories, add text, draw on the screen and add stickers
  • Comment, like and follow
  • Search
  • Check, send and comment on messages
  • Upload photos and post to Instagram …… whaaaaaaaaaaat???

The Instagram App on a Surface Device will allow you to click on the camera icon to use your device's inbuilt camera. You can also click on “Your Stories” to start an Instagram Story with pictures or video.

Just like this:

Instagram Stories on Surface Pro

or if you like it better in reverse, go face-to-camera:

Face to Camera on Instagram Stories on Surface Pro

And… ta dah… you can use your existing images from your saved images or camera uploads!

This is huge for those Instagrammers that want to take photos with an DSLR Camera or something other than a mobile phone (or do bulk uploads.

It's also great if you want to have more control over photo editing before uploading to Instagram.

There is just one thing to remember:  You can upload previously taken photos but they need to be stored in your Pictures >> Camera Roll folder. 

Which works perfectly if you are uploading from a camera or external device.

You just need to click on the + button at the bottom of your screen and you'll come to the usual screen with active camera, and an option for Library, Photo or Video.

Choose between Library, Photo or Video on Instagram to get content


After that, it's just a matter of either taking a photo, making a video or choosing a photo to upload.   If it's a photo you are after, you simply upload it your Camera Roll via the Library (or Pictures or Screenshots).

Choose a photo from your Camera Uploads, Screenshots or Pictures


You can also add filters or edit your images as you normally would on a mobile phone:

Edit features on Instagram App using Surface Pro

Cool, hey? 

As far as I know this is the first time Instagram has let the app work, fully-featured, in a way that allows you to post from desktop to Instagram.

If you are in the market for a laptop AND you are an avid Instagram user or photographer who needs to upload a lot of photos… I'm thinking the Microsoft Surface Pro or Surface Book is looking pretty sweet right now, don't you?

Or maybe you're like one of the readers of this post already who owns a Surface device and didn't know.  I bet you're currently sitting there, thinking whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?????


2   Schedule Your Posts with Later

I love to use the native Instagram app to post images spontaneously (and I'm excited now that I can use it on my Surface Pro laptop).

But when it comes to productivity, it's great to schedule ahead and batch my images.  That's where Later comes in.

Later is the tool I use for scheduling my images and videos ahead of time.

Once scheduled, Later sends me a reminder on my phone to post to Instagram. You can get started with a free account.

Here's an overview how it works from the Later team:


As you can see Later has some cool features, and more being added all the time.  Here's just a few of the things that I love about Later:

  • Plan, Schedule and Publish – You can schedule and post to multiple Instagram accounts (with a reminder to post the final image from your phone).  It's calendar-based with a grid preview tool to plan out your posts and you can schedule videos in the paid version. Later also posts directly to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Store and Organize your Media – You can organise your images in a media library with bulk image upload and the ability to organise your images with groups and labels.
  • “Link in Bio” –  I use this feature to send people to a special landing page where followers can click on any image and go to whatever link you allocate.  No more invalid links.  This makes Instagram clickable and shoppable.
  • Analytics and Team Members – You can add team members,  and Later's Analytics help you to understand the success of your images or campaigns.
  • Bulk post features –  this gives you drag and drop functionality so you can add images to pre-determined time-slots that you know will attract engagement.
  • Saved Hashtag Groups – save your best hashtags to use easily for any post – in a single click you have all the hashtags you need!  This is a time saver and one of my favourite parts of Later.

All in all, Later is one of the best tools for Instagram scheduling that allows you to (essentially) post from desktop to Instagram.

Even though you need to press a couple of buttons on your phone to post the final image, Later allows you to do most of your work on a desktop or laptop.

And in Part 3, I'll explain why I actually LIKE using my phone for the final posting process….



3  Don't Forget to Engage

There's a big reason why I like posting “live” or using Later to post my scheduled images (with a quick click of a button or two).

Most of your comments and likes will come up in the minutes immediately after you post. If you are using a tool that auto-schedules, you still have to remember to be there to respond.  When you use Later, you're ready and waiting for comments just after you post the image.

Again, I do NOT recommend that you use any tool that contravenes Instagram's terms.  Any tool that does the whole process including posting – puts your account at risk. 

To engage with my community on posts, I will either respond live or use the tool Agorapulse after the fact.  Agorapulse is my go-to tool for social media management and responding to comments.

Use Agorapulse to Engage on Instagram
Never miss an Instagram comment again with Agorapulse!


The advantage of Agorapulse is that it allows you to view more than the minimum 50 comments you see on Instagram.

So, if your comments move fast or you have a big account and usually get hundreds of comments, Agorapulse can be a lifesaver.

Be sure to check out Agorapulse as a way to manage your Instagram feed in your own time – and never miss a comment again!


Other Tools that comply with Instagram:

Using my phone, laptop and Later (with Agorapulse to engage) is my current workflow.

However there are a few tools you might consider that also post from desktop to Instagram (with notification to do the final post).  All use a similar method to Later:


Agorapulse also allows you to plan your content ahead of time and click to post on your phone when you are ready.  If you are looking for a great all-round tool for scheduling, posting and engagement, Agorapulse would be my pick.


Viraltag is a complete Visual Content management tool.  When it comes to Instagram it works the same way as the other tools. Viraltag will allow you to schedule an Instagram post and when it is time to post, you will be sent a notification on your phone with your Instagram photo and caption.  All you have to do is swipe and post to Instagram.


I have not used Hootsuite for some time but it's a popular tool, used by many social media marketers. Hootsuite also posts to Instagram using the the process of schedule => reminder to post on mobile.  If you are a Hootsuite user then definitely consider using it to post from desktop to Instagram.

Access Your Photos

Other than these tools, you really are left with the following labour-intensive options:

  • email photos to yourself on your phone then post to Instagram. This can become cumbersome if they are high res photos!
  • send photos to a Dropbox account – Dropbox is a great way to access your files from any device via the cloud.
  •  use your shared photos program in the cloud, to share between computers and your phone.

Or… if you are lucky to have a Surface Device, use Instagram just as you would on a phone, but on your laptop!

Over to You

How do you post to Instagram?  Will you be checking out any of these tools to post from Desktop to Instagram?  

Leave a comment below!  

How to Post from Desktop to Instagram and Stay Out of Hot Water

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.