Bigger than a stamp. Bigger even than a postcard please.
September 22, 2019 12:05 PM   Subscribe

I would like to browse through Instagram photos on my Mac and see big beautiful versions of photos. Instagram seems to think that no one should need to see anything bigger than a postcard. Huh?

Clearly I don't know how Instagram works. I thought the point (for users) was to see beautiful photos and maybe videos that other people have created and uploaded.

When I search for a tag on Instagram, I get back a grid of square photos, 3 across. Each photo in the grid is about 2.5 x 2.5 inches. This scrolls up and down.

If I click or double-click on one of the photos, an overlay is displayed showing the photo about twice as big: maybe 4x6 inches. The right side of the overlay displays information about the photo: tags, comments, likes, etc. Most of my screen is just background for this small area displaying the photo.

4x6 is very small. Many of the photos I'm looking at are wide angle landscapes and cityscapes. They're just not fun to look at when the photo is confined to a rectangle that only uses about 15% of the pixels available on my screen. It's actually actively frustrating, because I want to see larger versions.

I realize there is a way to chase down and display a larger version of a photo, by going to the account of the person who uploaded it, clicking on the photo there, and then modifying the URL. That is very cumbersome and not at all satisfying as a "browsing through photos" experience.

Is there any way to click through a slide show of large images, close to full screen, on Instagram? alternatively, if I'm looking at one image, is there a way to expand it temporarily to full screen without clicking through several intermediary web pages?

If this isn't possible on Instagram --- where should I go to look at beautiful crowd-sourced photos in large format? Is Flikr better? Tumblr? Something else?

(The particular thing I'm looking for is photos shot with the new iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. I want to see what people are doing with the ultra wide angle lens, the night mode, and the improved bokeh. )

posted by Winnie the Proust to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The max resolution for the longest side of an Instagram photo is 1350 (and the default is 1080x1080), so even if you could somehow get an interface that blows up all the images to "full screen" you'll be seeing highly pixelated and compressed images.

If you want to see full res large pictures in all its glory, I don't think Instagram is the right place for you. Try Flickr as you suggested.
posted by reformedjerk at 12:18 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Instagram is a native phone app; it isn't designed for tablets or anything bigger than a phone, and literally doesn't care about you and your tablet. Trawl Flickr!
posted by DarlingBri at 12:41 PM on September 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

Okay, I guess that's it. I managed to reactivate my Flickr account and it has just what I want.

Marking this as resolved.

Thank you!
posted by Winnie the Proust at 2:35 PM on September 22, 2019

My sister who doesn’t use a smartphone but uses Instagram told me about an app called Flume for the Mac - it’s beautiful if you have a Retina display. Check it out.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:41 PM on September 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

I know this exact problem and the way I solved it on PC was to use a bookmarklet called "instantgram". It's a bookmark that you drag onto your favourites, when you're at an instagram picture that you like, you click it, and it immediately displays the image at maximum possible resolution full screen.

This is useful to me because (I think) the preview on my PC isn't at max resolution. Anyway, I don't have a Mac so I don't know if it works for you, but other people on PC who have this problem might appreciate this solution.
posted by xdvesper at 5:01 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

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