Instagram has always been about effortless photo sharing, never about uncompromised image quality. Your 12-megapixel iPhone photos may look nice on Instagram but look closer and you’ll realize that all your uploads have been downscaled to fit 1080 pixels horizontally. The same goes for Instagram’s desktop app which displays your uploads reduced to just 640 pixels wide. If you want to avoid compression that occurs when uploading an image to Instagram in an unsupported resolution, follow the instructions laid out in this step-by-step tutorial.
Instagram image sizes
According to the Instagram Help Center:
When you share a photo on Instagram, regardless of whether you’re using Instagram for iOS or Android, we make sure to upload it at the best quality resolution possible.
Things are a bit more complex than that—in Instagram talk, “the best quality resolution possible” really means up to a width of just 1080 pixels. Yup, 1080 pixels. You read that right.
If you upload a photo between 320 and 1080 pixels, no resizing will take place. As long as the aspect ratio is between 1.91:1 and 4:5, it’ll appear on Instagram without compression. Share a higher resolution image and the system will size it down to 1080 pixels horizontally.
If the aspect ratio of your photo isn’t supported, it’ll get cropped to fit a supported ratio.
- No processing: Photos with a width between 320 and 1080 pixels and a height between 566 and 1350 pixels, yielding an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5.
- Upscaling: If you share a photo at a very low resolution, meaning fewer than 320 pixels wide, Instagram will enlarge it to a width of 320 pixels.
- Downscaling: Any images with a higher resolution than 1080 horizontal pixels or 1350 vertical pixels will be sized down by Instagram’s servers to a width of 1080 pixels.
- Cropping: If your upload has an unsupported aspect ratio, Instagram will crop the image the best it can to fit a supported ratio (between 1.91:1 and 4:5).
This can all be very confusing but don’t you worry a thing as we have your covered. Just follow along with us as we explain how to avoid compression when uploading your Instagrams.
How to upload photos to Instagram without compression
In order to avoid triggering Instagram’s downscaling algorithm that may result in compression artifacts, you must first resize your photograph to Instagram’s preferred width of 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5. Otherwise, Instagram will recompress and resize your image.
There are plenty of options on App Store for resizing iPhone images. For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll be using the simple Image Resizer+ app but can use any app you like.
2) Open the app and choose the Photos option.
3) Select the album and then pick the photo you’d like to resize.
4) With the image loaded into the app, slide to the right to reveal the resizing options.
5) For exact control over the size of your picture, you must opt for pixel rather than percentage-based resizing by tapping the button Pixel near the top of the interface.
6) Type in the exact width you’d like the image to be resized to. In our case, we must size down to a width of 1080 pixels so that’s what we’re going to type into the Width field.
7) Tap the button labeled with the text Proportional to ensure that the image’s vertical resolution gets adjusted proportionally, which means it will keep the same aspect ratio.
8) Tap the Resize button.
9) Now tap Share and save the image to your library.
And that’s it, boys and girls, you now have the correct version of your original image in the Photos library conveniently sized down to a width of 1080 pixels. All that’s left to do at this point is fire up the mobile Instagram app on your iPhone and share the resized image.
Because the image now fits the required dimensions, no compression will take place.
Of course, there’s nothing preventing a power user from using pro tools on their Mac or Windups PC, such as Adobe Photoshop, Pixelmator, Affinity Photo and so forth, for image resizing. Upon saving the sized down version to the computer, you could quickly transfer the file to your iPhone via AirDrop, ready to be uploaded to Instagram.
Bottom line: if you’re the type of person who cares a lot about image quality or you manage a business account on Instagram, a little bit of planning will go a long way toward ensuring your Instagrams look their best rather than exhibit those ugly compression artifacts.
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