Instagram, owned by Facebook, is one of the most popular photo sharing services. The app is available on multiple platforms including iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Unfortunately, even after all these years, there is no official desktop client for Windows or Mac.
There are many funny-named third-party programs that try to include “insta”, “gram” or “pic” somewhere, but after trying many on their own, I suggest staying away from them. None of them work as expected, probably because Facebook really wants people to use their own Instagram viewing apps.
Luckily, you can use the web interface to find and view Instagram on your Windows PC, Mac, or Linux. For me, being able to view images on my desktop is more pleasing to the eye than on my small smartphone. Viewing Instagram images on a tablet like iPad is also much better than using mobile apps.
Unfortunately, since most people use Instagram from their mobile devices, the web version hasn’t improved much in recent years. The biggest problem is that the web interface still displays images at an awfully low resolution (600×600). Fortunately, there is a trick you can use to view a higher resolution version of the image (1080 × 1080), which I’ll cover below. Note that the original image may have a much higher resolution, but the full resolution photo is not even saved.
Browse and search Instagram
When you log into Instagram from the Internet, you see images from your personal feed (people you follow).
In the upper right corner, you will see three small icons. The first icon with a diamond in the center is the Explore function. It works differently from the Research tab in a smartphone app. There you will see a lot more images and videos that are popular or that their algorithm thinks you might like.
On the internet, it seems like the research function is just showing you content from people you might know. Besides, it really is nothing more than just new users and that’s it. Overall, this is a rather poor search and exploration tab.
The best way to use the web interface is to search for what interests you. You can search in one of three ways: by people, by place, or by hashtags. If you’re looking for someone specific, just enter their name in the search box or enter their Instagram username.
The list of results is not random. It will try to show you the people you follow first, and then famous or verified people. These users have a small blue star with a check mark in the center (a verified icon).
To find places, just enter the location. Note that you should see a map icon instead of a hastag icon for the actual location in the results.
When you click on a result, you will see a map at the top along with the best posts for that location. If you continue scrolling, you will also see the most recent messages.
Finally, you can search by hashtags, which are the primary way people tag their Instagram photos and videos. Just start with the hashtag symbol (#) and enter your interest.
As you type, you’ll receive a variety of suggestions to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Again, on the results page, you will see the most popular posts and the most recent ones below them.
The only problem, as I mentioned above, is that when you click on the image, the display size is tiny! Even beautiful high-resolution photos are displayed in a small frame.
It would be great if you could just click the image again and it would appear in full screen or at max resolution, but that just doesn’t happen. Luckily, there are some quick tricks you can use to get the highest resolution image stored on Instagram.
View HD photos on Instagram
To get the best quality image from Instagram, you need to view the source code. This is not the most elegant and as they say the easiest way, but at the moment it is the only way. Fortunately, the instructions are really simple and you don’t really need to understand anything in the code. All you have to do is click a few times and copy / paste.
The first thing you need to do is click on the image so that it looks like the screenshot above in the lightbox. Now right-click the image and select View Source or View Page Source. This option should be available in all major browsers. Please note that if you do not see this option, please try right-clicking again in a different part of the page.
You will see a whole bunch of code that might not make sense, but that’s okay. Press CTRL + F on your keyboard to open the Find in Page search box.
You will probably get about 15 results, but the only one you are interested in is the one where the line starts with
You should now see the entire image at a maximum resolution of 1080 × 1080 in your browser window. You can right click on it to save if you like. If that doesn’t work, there is another way to find the URL. First, you should use Google Chrome. When you right-click on the lightbox image, choose Check instead of View Source.
Again, you will see the source code in all its technical beauty. If you right-clicked the image while selecting Validate, the inner DIV should be highlighted on it. Right above it, you should see a DIV with class = “_ jjzlb”. Expand it and you will see the same link I mentioned above.
You can click the
Overall, using the web interface is the best way to view Instagram from your computer. Hopefully in the future, Facebook will update the web interface so you can view higher resolution images without being hacked. Enjoy!