How to display full-size original images and profile pictures on Instagram

Who I am
Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
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Many smartphone cameras today can compete with high-end DSLRs. It's never been easier to capture a stunning work of art to share with your Instagram followers.

Unfortunately, many Instagram photos often don't look as high quality as the originals.

The thing is, Instagram allows a maximum image size of 1080p x 1350p. If your photo is below this size, Instagram will automatically enlarge it. And if the resolution is higher, as is often the case, Instagram will compress and resize your photo.



Fortunately, there is a way around this. By following a few simple steps, you can see your Instagram photos in all their glory.

How to view Instagram photos in full resolution?

The vast majority of Instagram users browse their feed through the smartphone app. Unfortunately, the native application does not allow you to see the images in full size. Instead, you'll need to use your smartphone or desktop browser.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Go to the Instagram website from your browser (any browser will work), then log in with your credentials.

  2. Since you can't click on an image directly from your feed, visit the user's profile and then open the photo you want to see.

  3. In the address bar, add media/?size=l at the end of the URL. So if the original photo URL is:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B-KPJLlJ2iJ/
    The modified URL will be:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/B-KPJLlJ2iJ/media/?size=l

  4. Hit Enter, and you will see the full size image.

You can also view the photo in the medium or thumbnail version. To do this, add the following to the end of the photo URL:



  1. media/?size=m for medium size
  2. media/?size=t for thumbnail size

And if you like the full size photo, you can save it by right-clicking anywhere on the image and clicking Save Image As…

How to see full size profile pictures?

Now that you know how to see your favorite Instagram photos in full size, let's move on to profile photos. As you know, Instagram only displays the circular cropped version of profile pictures. The native application does not allow you to view the photo in full size. If you tap on the photo, you will only see the user's stories, if they have any.

The good news is that there is a way around this problem, no matter what platform you are using.

For PC, Mac and smartphone browsers, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Instagram website from your browser. You do not need to log in to view the user's profile picture.

  2. Find the Instagram account whose full size profile picture you want to see.

  3. Copy the username from the profile.

  4. Go to thumbtube.com and paste the username in the search field.

  5. Click on Submit, and you will see the full size profile picture.

This tool works for all Instagram accounts whether they are private or not. If you don't get the full size profile picture, it means the user originally uploaded the low resolution picture.



iOS/Android devices

If you are using an iOS or Android device, you can get the Weird app from the AppStore or Google Play. When you download it, follow the steps below to see full size profile pictures:

  1. Open Qeeky on your device.

  2. Enter the username of the profile whose photo you want to see in the search field.


  3. Tap on the circular photo to see the full size image.

Just like the browser solution, the app works for all Instagram accounts. The catch is that the free version only shows you poor quality images.

To unlock the high quality version, you will need the paid version of Qeek. At the time of writing, Qeek Pro costs $2,99. If you buy the pro version, you will see the photos in their original size.

Why does Instagram reduce image size?

Now that you know how to view Instagram photos full size, it doesn't hurt to learn a bit about why they were scaled down in the first place.

The thing is, it's not Instagram that wants to downsize your image — Facebook does. Facebook owns both Instagram and WhatsApp, and all three platforms have been known to reduce image size and quality. You may have noticed that the photos you send on WhatsApp sometimes look a bit blurry.

Now, there can be several reasons for this. But the most likely is to protect the servers from overload. Millions of photos are shared on Instagram every day. And the majority of users go above and beyond to showcase their photography skills.


Pair it with super capable smartphone cameras and you've got photos that can be big in size. It is beaucoup of data that Instagram's servers need to adapt it. To make sure they don't get overloaded, Instagram sets an image size limit.

While pretty much every social media platform does this, Facebook's compression is much more ruthless than Twitter's or Tumbler's. As a result, Instagram and WhatsApp should keep images smaller.

Still, that doesn't make many Instagram posts any less amazing. Instagram's maximum image size is still enough for you to enjoy your favorite posts.

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Whether you're finding a worthy Instagram photo wallpaper or just want to see it in its original size, now you know the process is quite simple. When it comes to profile pictures, the browser method may be your best bet. Apps like Qeek usually offer low-quality images for free, so you'll have to pay to see the high-quality version. Of course, if you find seeing the full photo worthwhile, an app may be more convenient and easier to use.

Which of the above methods do you prefer? Do you have any others that you would like to share? If so, feel free to post your ideas in the comments section below.

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