How To Go Live On Instagram On a Computer: Guide for PC & Mac Users

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12 mins

Learn the seamless way to go live on Instagram from your computer with our straightforward guide.


Reviewed by Chloe Bidle

Creative social media strategist, driving engagement and innovation.

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  1. Best Desktop Apps That Helps Go Live On Instagram On A Computer
    1. OBS Studio
    2. Streamlabs OBS
    3. XSplit Broadcaster
    4. ManyCam
    5. Wirecast
    6. Ecamm Live
    7. BlueStacks
    8. Loola
    9. YellowDuck
    10. Instafeed.Live
  2. Is There A Built-In PC Option For Instagram Live Streaming?
  3. Can I Use A Webcam For Instagram Live On My PC?
  4. Do I Need A Specific Operating System From A PC To Go Live On Instagram?
  5. Is Instagram Live on PC Available for All Account Types?
  6. Are There Any Limitations When Going Live On Instagram Via PC?
  7. Can I Schedule A Live Broadcast On Instagram From My Computer?
  8. The Bottom Line
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What steps are required to start a live stream on Instagram using a laptop?
    2. How can I participate in an existing Instagram live as a guest when using a PC or Mac?
    3. Is there a way to save Instagram live broadcasts to a computer after the stream?

Instagram has transformed the way you connect with your audience, offering a variety of tools to share your life and creations. Streaming live video is one of these powerful features, allowing you to broadcast in real-time to your followers. Typically, you might choose to go live using your mobile device, but sometimes the convenience and features of a computer—be it a PC or Mac—are preferable. Whether it’s leveraging the power of a desktop setup or simply wishing to interact through a larger screen, broadcasting live on Instagram from a computer introduces a new level of versatility to your social media presence.

To initiate a live video on Instagram from your computer, you need to use third-party software that provides the necessary capabilities to interface with Instagram’s live streaming functionality. This software emulates the Instagram app and sends your broadcast to the platform as if you were streaming from your phone. The process typically involves a straightforward setup where you log in to your Instagram account via the software and start your live session. With this setup, you can take advantage of your computer's advanced hardware, such as high-quality cameras and microphones, to enhance the production value of your live streams.

Connecting with your followers through an Instagram live session from your desktop could potentially engage your audience in more substantial ways. The stable internet connection of a home or office, along with the ability to organize your content more effectively, can lead to higher-quality broadcasts. This not only boosts the professionalism of your live sessions but also encourages greater interaction from viewers, helping to foster a stronger community around your content. Using a computer to broadcast live on Instagram thus combines the comfort of a desktop environment with the dynamic, engaging experience that live streaming offers.

Best Desktop Apps That Helps Go Live On Instagram On A Computer

To enhance your Instagram Live broadcasts from a computer, several desktop applications stand out for their robust features. These apps offer various functionalities such as camera and microphone integration, custom graphics, real-time alerts, and the capability to connect with your audience on Instagram Live using a stream key. The following software options provide a mix of utility for aspiring and professional broadcasters alike.

OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a free and open-source streaming and recording program. It supports camera and audio integration, allows for complex scene compositions, and can broadcast live to Instagram via a custom RTMP server. Download OBS Studio to get started with high-quality live streaming on your Mac or PC.

Streamlabs OBS

Streamlabs OBS is another popular streaming software that comes with additional features such as integrated alerts, graphics overlays, and a user-friendly interface. It provides a seamless video broadcasting experience with real-time interaction capabilities. To begin streaming on Instagram Live, download Streamlabs OBS and set up your stream key.

XSplit Broadcaster

A premium option for live streaming, XSplit Broadcaster offers powerful live production features. You can create professional-grade broadcasts with its myriad of functionalities that include scene transitions and audio management. Configure your stream's video and audio format with XSplit Broadcaster for a polished Instagram Live session.


ManyCam is versatile desktop software that allows you to connect multiple cameras, use virtual backgrounds, insert on-screen graphics, and include desktop screencasting in your live streams. Download ManyCam to enrich your Instagram Live videos with a wide range of effects and broadcasting tools.


With Wirecast, you gain access to a comprehensive broadcast software suite. This program offers a multitude of high-end features such as multi-camera switching, custom RTMP streaming, and pre-recorded video integration. For a professional live broadcast on Instagram, consider downloading Wirecast.

Ecamm Live

Exclusively for Mac users, Ecamm Live is a live streaming tool with a focus on ease of use. It allows for camera controls, offers a live preview of your broadcast, and supports real-time monitoring. It's a powerful solution for Mac users to connect and stream directly to Instagram Live.


BlueStacks is an Android emulator for PC that lets you run mobile apps on your desktop. If you prefer to use the Instagram app for live streaming, BlueStacks is your go-to software. Download the emulator, install the Instagram app, and go live just as you would from a mobile device.

Loola offers a web-based platform to stream live video to multiple social media platforms, including Instagram. By logging in with your Instagram credentials, you can broadcast your live feed from your desktop in real time using Loola's intuitive interface.


If you require a straightforward solution to stream on Instagram from your desktop, consider Yellow Duck. It provides an RTMP URL and stream key to broadcast live on Instagram. Just enter your Instagram login information in YellowDuck and get the necessary details to start streaming.


Another web service, Instafeed.Live, enables you to stream from your desktop directly to Instagram Live. You'll need to authenticate with your Instagram account to retrieve your unique streaming URL and key. With Instafeed.Live, starting your live video feed is simple and efficient.

Is There A Built-In PC Option For Instagram Live Streaming?

Instagram, primarily a mobile platform, has extended some of its features to the desktop environment. However, when it comes to live streaming, does not currently offer a built-in option for hosting live streams directly from a PC or Mac desktop interface.

Your options for live streaming are originally designed to be accessed through Instagram’s mobile app. This app encompasses the live feature that allows you to broadcast video in real-time to your followers. While Windows, Linux, and Mac users can browse for viewing content and performing standard actions like posting pictures or messaging, the ability to stream live content is not natively provided in the desktop version.

Here's what you should remember about Instagram's live feature availability on different platforms:

  • Mobile: Native support for live streaming through the official Instagram app.
  • Desktop (PC/Mac/Linux): No official support for direct live streaming on

To host live content from your desktop, you'll need to use third-party software that mimics a mobile broadcasting environment or leverages API access provided by such services. Keep in mind that Instagram's terms of service should be reviewed to ensure compliance when using these software solutions.

Can I Use A Webcam For Instagram Live On My PC?

Yes, you can use a webcam for Instagram Live on your PC. Instagram primarily caters to mobile users, but with the right tools, you can navigate this limitation and live stream using a webcam via your computer.

When preparing for an Instagram Live session on your computer, ensure your webcam is properly installed and recognized by your system. This can usually be verified through your computer's camera settings or the webcam's software application.

Next, you'll need to use streaming software compatible with Instagram. Certain apps, like Yellow Duck or other third-party services, enable your PC to generate the necessary stream key and server URL to connect with Instagram's servers.

Here's a quick guide:

  1. Install and open your chosen streaming software.
  2. Connect the software to your Instagram account, input the stream key and server URL.
  3. Select your webcam as the video source within the application.
  4. Adjust your audio and video settings to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Once set up, you're ready to go live using your webcam on Instagram directly from your PC or Mac with your video appearing clear and professional to your viewers.

Remember to abide by Instagram's live streaming policies and guidelines to ensure a successful broadcast.

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Do I Need A Specific Operating System From A PC To Go Live On Instagram?

To go live on Instagram from your PC or Mac, compatibility with your operating system is critical. Thankfully, desktop software available for live Instagram streaming tends to support the most commonly used operating systems.

For Windows users, as long as your system is running a relatively recent version like Windows 10, you'll have access to a range of streaming software options. Likewise, Instagram Live is accessible on Mac computers with modern versions of macOS. Here is a simple breakdown of operating system compatibility:

  • PC (Windows): Windows 10 or newer is preferred for compatibility with streaming applications like OBS Studio or Streamlabs.
  • Mac: macOS 10.14 (Mojave) or later is advised for optimal performance and support.

While Linux systems are less commonly supported directly by Instagram Live services, tech-savvy users can still find workarounds using additional software that emulates Android or iOS environments.

It's important to note that regardless of your operating system, you will likely need to use third-party software, such as:

  • OBS Studio
  • Streamlabs
  • Yellow Duck (to retrieve stream keys)

These applications facilitate streaming to Instagram Live by providing a stream key, which you'll enter into the Instagram Live Producer if you have access to it.

In summary, ensure your PC or Mac is up-to-date to avoid compatibility issues with the streaming software necessary to broadcast live on Instagram.

Is Instagram Live on PC Available for All Account Types?

Instagram Live is a feature that allows you to broadcast live videos to your followers -- a powerful way to engage on a personal level. Whether you're using Instagram for personal or business purposes, it's essential to know if you can access this feature from your PC.

  • Personal Accounts: As a user with a personal account, you can go live on Instagram from your smartphone without any restrictions. When it comes to doing the same from your PC, this is not supported directly through the Instagram website or official application. However, third-party applications enable this functionality. It's imperative that you use these tools carefully and adhere to Instagram's terms of service.

  • Business Accounts: Business accounts have the same limitations as personal accounts when it comes to accessing Instagram Live through a PC. Direct support isn’t provided, but external software solutions do exist. Using these may require a little technical know-how and should be done in compliance with Instagram's policies.

Here's a simple way to understand who can go live on Instagram from a PC:

Account Type Live on Mobile Live on PC with Third-Party Tools
Personal Account Yes Yes, with third-party software
Business Account Yes Yes, with third-party software

Regardless of your account type, you need to ensure that any third-party software used to facilitate Instagram Live broadcasts from your PC does not compromise the security of your Instagram account. Be mindful of potential data privacy issues and only engage with reputable software providers.

Are There Any Limitations When Going Live On Instagram Via PC?

When you decide to go live on Instagram from your desktop computer, be aware that the experience varies slightly from using the mobile app. Below are several limitations you may encounter:

  • Resolution and Aspect Ratio: Instagram Live on mobile devices supports a portrait aspect ratio which differs from the typical landscape view on desktops. This could affect the visual experience, as the desktop version might not offer the same video resolution and aspect ratio.

  • Time Limit: Your live broadcast on a PC may be subject to the same time limitation as on mobile, where Instagram sets a standard broadcast time limit.

  • Feature Availability: Some interactive features may be restricted when streaming via PC compared to the full suite available on the mobile version. For example:

    • Viewer interactions such as comments and likes may not be as smooth.
    • Access to face filters and other in-app editing tools is generally limited or unavailable.
  • Broadcasting Tools: You often need third-party broadcasting software to stream on Instagram Live from your PC. Tools like Yellow Duck are used to obtain streaming keys, which can add an extra step compared to the ease of starting a live video directly in the Instagram app on your phone.

  • Ease of Use: The mobile app is optimized for a quick live streaming setup; however, initiating a stream via desktop requires navigating through a non-native interface, which can be less intuitive for some users.

Can I Schedule A Live Broadcast On Instagram From My Computer?

Scheduling a live broadcast on Instagram directly from your computer is not a feature that is currently available through Instagram's native interface or web client. However, Instagram Live Producer and other third-party applications may offer solutions to plan and launch your live event from a desktop environment.

When planning to schedule a live broadcast on Instagram from your PC or Mac, you'll want to consider the following steps:

  1. Identify a Third-party Tool: Select a third-party application that allows for scheduling live broadcasts to Instagram. This application should provide capabilities to generate a server URL and stream key.

    • Example Tool: One such tool could be YellowDuck or other similar services, which may provide the necessary integration to schedule and stream live events to Instagram from your computer.
  2. Event Notification: Ensure that the tool you choose has the option to notify your followers about the upcoming live event, as Instagram would do if the feature was native.

  3. Setup Process: Follow the specific tool's setup process for scheduling a stream. This will likely involve linking your Instagram account to the application and configuring your broadcast software with the mentioned server URL and stream key.

Remember to comply with Instagram’s terms and always safeguard your account information when using third-party tools to access your Instagram profile. While scheduling and streaming from a computer is an advanced workaround, always consider the direct approach first, such as using Instagram's mobile app for spontaneous or immediate live broadcasting needs.

The Bottom Line

Going live on Instagram from your PC or Mac is a powerful way to connect with your audience and ramp up engagement. Live streaming allows you to share real-time experiences and content, fostering a more personal connection. Here's what you need to know:

  • Audience Interaction: Engage with your viewers by responding to comments in real time. This boosts the interactive experience and sustains viewer interest.
  • IGTV: Share your live video to IGTV after the broadcast ends. This means your engagement can continue even post-live session as your content remains accessible.
Step Action
1. Preparation Ensure stable internet and check audio-visual setup.
2. Initiate Use IG-compatible software to start your live stream.
3. Engage Interact with comments and encourage viewers to participate.
4. Conclude Wrap up the session, addressing final comments and thanking viewers.
5. Post-Live Download the video and share to IGTV for prolonged engagement.
  • Benefits: This approach to Instagram Live via PC offers a stable setup for longer sessions, the potential for higher-quality video, and the comfort of a desktop environment.
  • Download Video: You have the option to download your live video after your broadcast, providing content for future use or analysis.

Remember, while Instagram is predominantly a mobile platform, incorporating PC-based live streaming can elevate the quality of your broadcasts and help you stand out. It's about providing a memorable experience that will keep your viewers coming back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Exploring live streaming on Instagram requires knowing how to start, participate, and save broadcasts. This section addresses common inquiries to ensure a smooth live experience on a computer.

What steps are required to start a live stream on Instagram using a laptop?

To start a live stream on Instagram using a laptop, you must navigate to the Instagram website and log into your account. Once logged in, locate the camera icon or the '+' icon, typically found on the top-right corner of the page. If available, select the 'Live' option, which should activate your webcam and begin broadcasting after you confirm your settings.

How can I participate in an existing Instagram live as a guest when using a PC or Mac?

Participating as a guest in an existing Instagram live is possible if the host invites you to join their live session. They can send you a request to join while they're live, and you'll need to accept it from your computer. Ensure that your PC or Mac's camera and microphone are enabled to join the live broadcast successfully.

Is there a way to save Instagram live broadcasts to a computer after the stream?

After your live stream has ended, Instagram offers the option to save your live video for a limited time. Immediately at the end of your broadcast, you will get a prompt to save the video. Choose the option to save, and the video will be downloaded to your computer. Be aware that this function must be done promptly as it won't be available once you exit the post-live interface.

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