Let’s talk about how you can use Instagram to post images and video all from your desktop or mobile device.
It’s no secret that Instagram is one of, if not the most, wildly used social media platforms in the world. It’s not hard to understand why either—there are several different ways to share and create content all through this one app.
With Reels basically rivaling TikTok in popularity, it’s safe to assume Instagram is going nowhere. So, let’s talk about how you can use the platform to post images and videos all from your desktop or mobile device.
Instagram Video Resolution and Length
Right away, let’s just make it clear that the supported file formats are mp4 and QuickTime. So, if you’re not sure whether your video is mp4 or QuickTime, check out our breakdowns for exporting in the most popular editing programs.
Let’s look at the specific upload requirements for your videos on Instagram.
- You can upload a video with an aspect ratio between 1:1, 1.91:1, and 9:16.
- Videos should have a minimum frame rate of 30fps (frames per second) and minimum resolution of 720 pixels.
- The maximum file size for videos that are ten minutes or less is 650mb. The maximum file size for videos up to sixty minutes is 3.6GB.
Upon updating this article, Instagram has recently announced that IGTV is no longer a thing. Instead, the longer form content that was meant to be hosted on IGTV can now live directly on your feed.
The max length for videos is now sixty minutes. So . . . that kind of changes everything about user experience on Instagram’s feed.
Aspect Ratios to Choose From
You can also upload in a variety of different aspect ratios, such as:
- 1:1 Square aspect ratio: Standard square format on the Instagram feed.
- 1.91:1 Landscape aspect ratio: Similar to 16:9 widescreen format.
- 4:5 Portrait aspect ratio: A slightly taller format than the standard square.
Many content creators prefer the 4:5 Portrait aspect ratio (864 pixel width by 1080 pixel height) because it takes up the most onscreen real estate on the Instagram feed. The larger view also helps the perceived quality of the video.
If you’re wondering about cover images, or thumbnails, Instagram has listed their recommended sizes as 420px by 654px (or 1:1.55 ratio). Right now, you won’t be able to edit your cover photo once you’ve uploaded it.
In addition, the video codec required (if you need this information) is as follows:
- Progressive scan (no interlacing)
- High profile
- 2 consecutive B frames
- Closed GOP—GOP of half the frame rate
- Chroma sub-sampling: 4:2:0
Uploading from Your Mac or PC
Thanks to a recent update, you can now post photos and videos right to your feed . . . drum-roll please . . . natively, right from your desktop! I’d like to tell you that there’s a difference between uploading on a PC vs. Mac, but the truth is, they’re exactly the same! Wait, that’s a good thing. Well, alrighty then.
So, if you’re wondering how to upload a video from your desktop, it pretty much works in the exact same way as uploading a photo. You just pick the video that’s already located somewhere on your desktop or hard drive. Once you select the video and hit “Upload” this is what you can expect to see, once you’ve uploaded the video to Instagram.
Video uploaded to Instagram.
You have options to choose a “Cover photo” based on the images throughout your video. Be mindful of this when editing this social-friendly video to make sure you have an image somewhere that could work as a good cover photo.
However, you still have the option to choose a cover image from your desktop or hard drive. You also have the ability to trim down the video if it’s too long, or you need to start or stop in a different place.
There’s also the option to turn the video’s sound off. This is in case the video features audio, or a song you might not want or hasn’t been approved by the third party who created the video or music.
Instagram Reels is the app’s latest and most popular feature. Think of it as their own version of TikTok. You can record, edit, and add effects to your video right within the app. It’s a fantastic inclusion to the already growing platform. At the moment, you can’t upload a “reel” from your PC, so you’ll be limited to using this feature on your phone.
Going live on Instagram is a simple, straightforward process. By going to the “plus” sign at the bottom of your screen, just like normal uploading practices, you’ll find the option to go “Live.”
One of Instagram’s most popular features allows other users—or “friends”—to join in on the live stream with you. You can use this for interviews or conversations for your followers to watch. You can also title the live stream so your audience knows what they’re getting into before they tune in.
So, can you go live on your computer? Yes! But, first you’ll need to download two apps.
The first is called Yellow Duck. Once you download this free software, it essentially produces a RTMP URL that you can enter into your encoding software—in this case, OBS.
So really, this process is as simple as entering your Instagram account into Yellow Duck, then taking that RTMP URL and copy and pasting into OBS. This allows you to use your laptop or webcam to stream from your computer directly to Instagram!
A couple of quick side notes if you’re uploading edited videos to Instagram Stories . . .
The Instagram Stories aspect ratio is 9:16 (1080 px width by 1920 px height). Videos uploaded to Instagram Stories will automatically break into fifteen second sections when played back by viewers, and there will be a slight pause between each section.
If you’re looking to upload stories from your PC, as of right now, you’re only able to do so through third-party apps. These apps are both paid and free, and they’re primarily for scheduling and managing your account.
Be sure to look through their features to make sure they have everything you need before you give them your money.
Third-party upload & scheduling apps:
How to Upload a Video to Instagram from the App
In order to upload an edited video through the Instagram app, you’ll first need to transfer the video onto your mobile device. The Dropbox app is the easiest, free method available for both PC and Mac users.
Alternatively, Mac users can also use the AirDrop feature to transfer files between iOS devices.
Image via Dropbox.
First, create a free Dropbox account (if you don’t already have one), then upload your edited video to your online Dropbox folder. You can do this by uploading the file directly to the website or by installing the Dropbox desktop app on your computer.
The desktop app is simply a file folder that automatically uploads all content added to the Dropbox platform. Simply drag-and-drop the video file to start transferring. Dropbox will notify you when your file has uploaded (synced), and you should see a small green check mark on the file.
Next, you’ll need to install the Dropbox app on your mobile device. Open the Dropbox app and navigate to the edited video file. Click the three vertical dots to the right of the file name. This will open up the options menu.
Scroll down the options and select Export.
You’ll then be asked where to export the file. Select Save to device. Afterwards, you might have the option to rename the file. From there, the video file should save to the camera gallery or camera roll on your mobile device.
You can now post the video to Instagram, just as you would any other photo or video from your phone. Launch Instagram, and select the add photo icon.
You should see your video in the gallery. If you don’t see your video in the gallery, check one of the other folders, such as: Video, Instagram, Camera, or Downloaded.
Depending on the aspect ratio of your video, select the crop button to ensure your video displays correctly before posting.
Top image via Faenkova Elena.