Instagram introduces desktop uploads because nothing is sacred anymore

For years, the photo sharing app only allowed users to upload photos and video from a smartphone.

Young man looking at the camera while working late in his home office
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Instagram will now let you upload photos and videos from your desktop computer. The photo-sharing service has begun rolling out a new “+” button on its web app that opens an uploader where you can drag and drop whatever you’d like to share.

No sacred cows — It’s a major change for the social media platform, which for years limited uploads to just smartphones — early on, you couldn’t even upload from your camera roll and had to take pictures as you shared them. Instagram’s purity, if you could call it that, was what made it unique. The requirement that you only share photos taken with a smartphone created a low barrier to entry; you weren’t competing against people with DSLRs and fancy editing software. Instagram was supposed to be a casual place where you share things that interest you. Filters were the most you had in the way of editing, and everyone was empowered by them.

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But Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app. That’s what Adam Mosseri, the head of the platform, recently said in a video. The company is looking to lean into entertainment and video to better compete with the likes of TikTok, so everything once sacred about Instagram is basically out the window. Just like its original founders, both of whom long ago left after infighting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Whatever it takes to keep people on Instagram and away from competitors is what matters most. Instagram can no longer be what it once was.

Not all bad — Granted, desktop uploads are still limited to a degree. Photos and videos remain set to a fixed aspect ratio, most notably. That’s important because a feed with content of all different sizes could be difficult and frustrating to scroll through — you can image how annoying it would be if people were uploading really long images that take forever to scroll past.

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The desktop editor is otherwise what you’d expect from Instagram on mobile. You get the option to add filters as well as to crop, resize, and make other adjustments. Then you add your caption and other information before sharing.

People already upload professional content to Instagram these days, so it doesn’t seem like much will change with regards to the type of content that appears on the service. At least tablet users or people who don’t want to have the app on their phones will be able to pop in and share photos from desktop, where one is free from the notifications that try and lure you into coming back.