Note: The process below has been experiencing issues lately making it a hit-and-miss solution. One alternative (which offers more limited options) is using the app Gramblr (available for Mac & PC). Available here:

Being a youth pastor makes me feel like a social media schizophrenic*. If you’re like me, you’re constantly switching between personal and church accounts on Twitter and Instagram, always running the risk that pictures of your family reunion are accidentally plastered on the church Facebook page. What you need is an alternative way to post pictures on Instagram.

Managing multiple social media accounts is a necessary skill for most youth workers. The thorn in the side for this practice, however, has been Instagram. Unlike Facebook (with Pages and Groups) and Twitter (with in-app options to quickly switch accounts). Instagram has insisted that the only way to post is using an Android or iOS device, and the only way to switch between accounts is to sign out and sign back in.

However, a recent little package from Google has changed that, letting you run Instagram as an app on your computer and making it possible to post from a desktop or laptop to Instagram. This frees you from needing to sign in and out when it comes time to post pictures of the weekend service or promo an upcoming event. While it’s not the most ideal situation, I’ve found it’s a much handy trick for my social media workflow.


Here’s how to post to an Instagram account from your computer.

1) Use Google Chrome. [Link]

This process relies on the Google Chrome web browser. Chances are you’re already running this. If you aren’t, it’s worth upgrading your browser experience as well. Chrome is the top dog in the browser battle at the moment. You can get Google Chrome here.

2) Install Arc Welder [Link]

This is the program that will let you run Android apps on your desktop. It’s designed to let developers test their apps, but will serve our purposes perfectly.

After choosing a place to save files, ARC Welder will ask you for an “APK” which is the file package for Android apps.

3) Download the Instagram APK [Link]

4) Install the APK

Click “Add your APK” and navigate to the file you just downloaded.

5) Adjust Settings (Portrait/Phone)

I’ve found the app works best if you select “Portrait” for orientation and “Phone” for form factor.

6) Launch the App

After the app loads, you should see the screen to login.

7) Open a Photo & Post

This is the only odd thing about using Instagram on the computer. To open a photo, you need to choose “Gallery” at the top of the screen, and then “Other…”

This will open a normal window where you can navigate to the image you wish to upload. Once you’ve done that, you can edit and post using all the filters and options you are used to.

While the experience isn’t quite as seamless as using the app on a mobile device, it does offer some great perks. You can keep the youth group Instagram account on your desktop during the week and use it to post/like/comment without having to sing out on your phone. It’s also a simpler way to post Photoshop creations or other graphics/promos/info without transferring it to a mobile device first.

I’ve found it to be a handy tool, hopefully you will too.

And of course, feel free to follow me and my crew at @luketrouten and @northwoodyouth

*Technically, it would be dissociative identity disorder. Technically technically it’s neither because it’s social media we’re talking about.

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  1. Hey Luke (or anyone else that reads these comments), I’ve just stumbled upon your site here…love all the info. Thanks for taking the time to share.

    I would really love to be able to post on Instagram using my computer, but for some reason this is not working for me. I’ve downloaded both apps (ARC Welder and Instagram), and when I run the Instagram app I get the setup screen, select my options and then click on the “Test” button on the bottom. It tries to run, but then I get a puzzle piece with a sad face on it.

    Anyone have an ideal as to what I’m doing wrong here?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Luke

      Hi Warren, I’m running into the same issue. It’s possible Instagram updated and this method no longer works. I’ll post an update if I find a workaround