Windowed: This disguised browser allows Instagram uploads from desktops

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Instagram stays true to the “insta” by only allowing uploads from the mobile app or a mobile browser, an often frustrating hurdle for DSLR photographers. But a photographer and engineering student has developed a workaround that tricks the system — Windowed is a free, open-source software that allows for uploads to Instagram from desktop computers.

The idea behind Windowed isn’t entirely new. Since Instagram allows uploads from mobile web browsers, a bit of coding can trick the platform into thinking that a desktop browser is, in fact, a mobile one, effectively disguising the upload (a similar trick can be used to save Instagram photos). Windowed is based on the same concept — it is actually a web browser with mobile code, so sites like Instagram think you are using a smartphone.

Windowed was created by Felix Sun, a photographer that was frustrated with the process of getting photos from a computer to a smartphone to upload. He used his experience as an engineering student to develop a workaround, then decided to share the tool with other photographers.

Windowed is a mobile web browser for desktops — that means, according to the developer, that Windowed does not collect your Instagram information and does not have access to your account. The platform also isn’t affiliated with Instagram in any way, which also means there is no guarantee that Instagram won’t develop a way to block Windowed from uploading.

Instagram’s mobile website doesn’t have all the same functions as the app, though the mobile browser version is closer than before thanks to an update launched earlier in 2017. The feature to view and post Stories is also expanding the mobile browser options.

Instagram is growing at a fast pace — and if the growth continues, the platform will have users in the billions next year. Instagram is focused on instant sharing, which means the platform has traditionally made it difficult to schedule posts, features available for Facebook Pages and even Twitter through third-party apps like Hootsuite, as well as limiting uploads to mobile devices. While getting a photo that was not shot from a smartphone is possible through a camera’s built-in Wi-Fi, AirDrop and file-sharing tools or emailing it to yourself, the workaround means non-smartphone photos are even less instant.

Windowed is a free, open-source download for both Mac and PC.


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