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The best Instagram scheduling apps in 2024

By Harry Guinness · February 29, 2024
Hero image with the logos of the best Instagram scheduling apps

Instagram isn't only one of the most popular social media sites in the world—because it's so visual, it has its own culture that's not quite like any other social media app. It's not another all-purpose social media site like Facebook or a text-based social media app like X-formerly-Twitter—it's its own thing (though TikTok is a close sibling).

While you can use almost any social media management app to schedule posts and Stories for your Instagram accounts, if you aren't interested in also cross-posting your content to all the other social networks, a full-service tool won't always offer the best experience or bang for your buck. Those apps have to make compromises—and charge the big bucks—to fully accommodate everything from Facebook to Pinterest. If you care more about Instagram than anywhere else, what you need is a dedicated Instagram scheduling app. 

I've been using Instagram since well before Facebook acquired it—which is kind of scary to admit—and it's by far my favorite social media site. I've also been writing about managing social media for years, and keeping Zapier's list of the best social media managers up to date. For this list, I considered more than 30 different Instagram schedulers to find the best ones.

The 4 best Instagram schedulers

  • Buffer for the best free Instagram scheduling app

  • Iconosquare for the best professional Instagram scheduling app

  • Hootsuite for the best full social media manager for Instagram scheduling

  • Later for the best personal Instagram scheduling app

What makes the best Instagram scheduling app?

Life would be a lot easier for social media managers if all the different social media sites were more interchangeable. Sure, sometimes a post that does well on Facebook or X-formerly-Twitter will work on Instagram, but just as often, it won't. This means that if you're only really serious about Instagram, it's worth using a dedicated app to schedule Instagram posts, especially if you have multiple accounts. 

One big thing to understand: there are dozens of social media management apps available, all with pretty much the same features. Instagram provides the same API to every app, so it's not as if one tool gets special access to your social media feeds. Instead, where apps are able to stand out is how nice they are to use, the value they offer for your money, and the other features they're able to build on top of the basics like scheduling. 

This can make it challenging to select apps for these lists. Almost every social media management app will get the job done, but at the same time, why use a tool that just does the bare minimum when you could use one that offers a lot more? For this list of the best Instagram scheduling apps, I was looking for tools that could allow you to:

  • Schedule Grid Posts, Reels, and Stories to automatically post. And it all has to happen from one easy-to-use interface that includes a good preview of what your update will look like when it's live. In every app, you'll need an Instagram Business account to use all the scheduling features, though some also work with Instagram creator accounts and even personal Instagram accounts. Surprisingly, quite a few Instagram-focused apps fell short here because Meta seems to have only started allowing third-party apps to schedule Stories in the last year or so; I expect by next year, more apps will have implemented the feature. 

  • See a nice big content calendar, so you can line up a few days or weeks worth of posts in one sitting. Sure, it takes the spontaneity out of things—but it's a way better use of your time, especially if you're running a business.

  • Offer good value for money for the features they provide. Since all social media management apps are limited by the same APIs, how they package things has a huge effect on how much you'll pay each month. For example, some social media management tools limit you to "sets" of accounts, where each set can have one Facebook account, one Instagram account, one TikTok account, and so on, but not three Instagram accounts. In general, this means that they're really expensive if you want to manage multiple Instagram accounts. Those kinds of apps were unlikely to make the list. 

  • Have an Instagram-first experience. Some tools are clearly tailored towards creating text posts and maybe adding a photo; that doesn't really fit with Instagram's vibe, where photos and videos are the important bit, not secondary. If you're going to pay for an app to schedule Instagram posts, you should get one that gives the platform the respect it deserves. 

  • Are really nice to use. This is perhaps the most important requirement. There's no reason to use a bad app when you have so many good ones to choose from. Plus, I really believe an Instagram feed can be beautiful, so you shouldn't be stuck with ugly and ineffective tools when you're scheduling one. 

On top of all this, most tools offer features like analytics, reports, link in bio services, AI caption generation, AI post suggestions, hashtag monitoring, and lots more (depending on the price you're prepared to pay and the plan you sign up for). 

While these were all welcome additions, it was more important that an app nail the basics and be nice to use than have a long list of extra features—especially if they were awkwardly implemented. In general, the more you pay, the more features you'll get, so unless you're looking for meeting-ready graphics and deep analytics on hashtag engagement, you don't need to pay extra for a tool that includes them. 

To test these apps, I signed up with my Instagram accounts, scheduled a few posts and Stories, and tried any features that took my fancy. Because I was looking for Instagram-focused apps, it was often pretty clear when other social media sites were more of a priority. With all that in mind, here are the four best Instagram scheduling apps. 

The best Instagram scheduling apps at a glance

Best for

Standout feature



A free Instagram scheduler

Intuitive buffer for scheduling

Free for up to 3 channels; from $6/month/channel


A professional Instagram scheduler

Extensive analytics and monitoring

From $59/month for 5 social media accounts and 1 user


A full social media manager for Instagram scheduling

Comprehensive social media management across platforms

From $150/month for up to 10 accounts and unlimited scheduling


A personal Instagram scheduler

Push notification workaround for posting

Free for 1 social set, including 1 Instagram account and 5 posts/month; paid plans from $25/month

Best free Instagram scheduler


Buffer, our pick for the best free Instagram scheduler for

Buffer pros: 

  • Really nice to use

  • Great free plan

Buffer cons: 

  • Paid plan can get expensive if you manage lots of accounts

Buffer is on this list because it's one of the nicest social media scheduling apps to use—and it has a generous free plan. Without paying, you can connect up to three Instagram Business accounts and schedule up to 10 Posts, Reels, or Stories per channel. While that might not cut it if you're trying to schedule lots of long multi-part Stories, it's more than enough if you run a handful of accounts that only post a few times per week. 

On top of all that, Buffer uses an intuitive buffer, so you don't have to individually schedule each post. Instead, if you add it to your queue, it will go out at the next pre-scheduled time slot (though you can of course change them up). If you aren't always lining your social media up with blog posts going live or products dropping, it's just one less thing to do.

Best of all, Buffer doesn't make you feel like you're using a stripped-down version of its app or push you too hard to upgrade to a paid plan. Sure, if you click into the Analytics or Engagement sections, it'll remind you that these features aren't supported on the free plan, but otherwise, you can freely use the app to schedule all your Instagram activity without being bugged.

If you do upgrade, Buffer adds unlimited scheduled posts, analytics, team features, and other nice-to-haves. But at least when you're starting out, none of these are necessary. Even on the free plan, Buffer integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like schedule new posts based on activity in any of thousands of other apps. Learn more about how to automate Buffer, or get started with one of these pre-made workflows.

Buffer new items in an RSS feed

Buffer new items in an RSS feed
  • RSS by Zapier logo
  • Buffer logo
RSS by Zapier + Buffer

Buffer your WordPress posts

Buffer your WordPress posts
  • WordPress logo
  • Buffer logo
WordPress + Buffer

Buffer pricing: Free for up to 3 channels; from $6/month/channel for the Essentials plan, with features like analytics.

Best professional Instagram scheduling app


Iconosquare, the best professional Instagram scheduling app

Iconosquare pros: 

  • Analytics for all of your post types and reports on every possible metric

  • All the features you can imagine in an Instagram scheduling app

Iconosquare cons: 

  • Expensive if you don't want analytics and monitoring or if you run multiple accounts

Iconosquare is somewhat unusual: it's essentially a full-featured social media manager, but it's mostly focused on Instagram. It also supports Facebook, X-formerly-Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok, but they don't have anywhere close to the same features available.

In addition to being able to schedule all the Posts, Stories, and Reels you could want, Iconosquare packs in a lot of extra Instagram features. It has analytics for your accounts, posts, Stories, Reels, promoted posts, marketing campaigns, tags, and mentions. You can create reports on your competitors or specific hashtags, and even monitor customized feeds, comments on your posts, and anywhere your account is tagged. It's essentially the full range of features a major brand or international corporation needs to run their Instagram accounts. 

Despite all that, Iconosquare can be surprisingly good value. For $59/month, you get all that for up to five Instagram accounts, and for $99/month, you can add up to 10 users, so you can collaborate on running your accounts. You can also add as many social media accounts as you want, though that obviously adds to the bill. It's absolutely a tool for professional Instagram users, but it's one of the best Instagram scheduling apps there is.

And Iconosquare integrates with Zapier, so you can do things like automatically creating calendar events or letting your teammates know when your posts are due to go live.

Schedule posts in Iconosquare and create detailed events in Google Calendar

Schedule posts in Iconosquare and create detailed events in Google Calendar
  • Iconosquare logo
  • Google Calendar logo
Iconosquare + Google Calendar

Send Slack channel messages for newly scheduled Iconosquare posts

Send Slack channel messages for newly scheduled Iconosquare posts
  • Iconosquare logo
  • Slack logo
Iconosquare + Slack

Iconosquare pricing: Single plan from $59/month for 5 social media accounts and 1 user.

Best full social media manager for Instagram scheduling


Hootsuite, our pick for the best full social media manager for Instagram scheduling

Hootsuite pros: 

  • One of the best social media management apps available

  • Allows you to connect multiple Instagram accounts

Hootsuite cons: 

  • Very expensive

Hootsuite is one of my favorite full-featured social media managers. It can schedule posts to all the major social networks, monitor your various inboxes, run boosted post advertising campaigns, and even integrate well with X-formerly-Twitter. If a social media site allows a third-party platform to offer a feature, you can be sure Hootsuite has it. So why is it on this list of Instagram schedulers?

Well, if you really want a fully-featured social media management platform with all the analytics you can dream of, but you mostly run Instagram accounts, Hootsuite is still worth a look. Unlike a lot of big social media management tools, it doesn't limit you to "sets" of accounts where you can have one Instagram account, one Facebook account, and one TikTok account, but not three Instagram accounts. Instead, on the $150/month Professional plan, you can connect up to 10 social accounts—which can be eight Instagram accounts and two Facebook accounts, if you want.

Hootsuite is still wildly expensive, so if Instagram isn't a key source of revenue, it probably isn't worth it. But there's a reason Hootsuite is one of the most popular enterprise social media scheduling tools available. Even if you just exclusively use Instagram, as long as you have a few big accounts, it might work for you. 

Hootsuite also integrates with Zapier, so you can automatically schedule items from other places, and connect Hootsuite to all the other apps in your tech stack. Here are some example workflows to get you started.

Schedule or publish new RSS items on Hootsuite

Schedule or publish new RSS items on Hootsuite
  • RSS by Zapier logo
  • Hootsuite logo
RSS by Zapier + Hootsuite

Create new Hootsuite posts for articles on Feedly

Create new Hootsuite posts for articles on Feedly
  • Feedly logo
  • Hootsuite logo
Feedly + Hootsuite

Hootsuite pricing: From $150/month for the Professional plan, with up to 10 accounts, unlimited scheduling, analytics, and more.

If you want a similarly full-featured social media management app for a lot less, both SocialPilot and Sendible offer good bang for your buck—though they aren't quite as nice as Hootsuite.

Best personal Instagram scheduling app


Later, the best personal Instagram scheduling app

Later pros: 

  • Works well with personal Instagram accounts

Later cons: 

  • Free plan is pretty limited and paid plan is pretty expensive

  • A little clunky in execution (but it works)

Most scheduling apps now only support Instagram Business accounts. They're the only kind of accounts that a third-party tool can automatically post to, and it's where the money is anyway—but unfortunately, they have to be public. But what if you don't want to convert to a Business account? Maybe you just want to schedule a few posts for your friends and family to see, say after a wedding or other event. Or maybe you want to schedule a day's worth of Stories, perhaps because you're providing info about said wedding or other event. Later has you covered. 

Posting to a personal account works a little differently than it does with Business accounts. Instead of happening automatically, Later will send a push notification to your smartphone when it's time for your post to go live. Because you've pre-written your caption, Later enables you to just tap a button, paste your caption into Instagram, and hit post. It's a bit of a hacked-together system, but it works, and it means you can write all your captions in one go when you're at your computer. It's a tad rougher with Stories, but it gets the job done.

Without paying for Later, you can only schedule five posts per month—and at $25/month for a paid plan that only includes one social set, it's pretty expensive. But it's still a really great app if you don't manage too many Instagram accounts. If you want to make sharing a load of personal photos easier as a one-off thing or want to pre-schedule some live updates to your Stories during an event you're organizing, it's worth a look. 

Later pricing: Free for 1 social set, including 1 Instagram account and 5 posts/month; from $25/month for Starter with 1 social set and up to 30 scheduled posts.

Other Instagram scheduling apps worth a look

There are dozens of Instagram schedulers available, and most of them work just fine. But there were two apps in particular that came close to making this list and just barely missed the cut.

  • Tailwind is a nice Instagram scheduler with a built-in post design tool, but it doesn't yet support auto-posting Stories. If it did, it would be on this list.

  • Publer is a great up-and-coming all-purpose social media management app. It just wasn't Instagram-focused enough to make the list. But its pricing is worth noting: it starts at $12/month for three social accounts, and additional social accounts cost approximately $4 extra per month. If you're an agency looking to schedule posts for dozens of clients, that pricing may make it appealing. 

Instagram scheduling FAQs

I'll wrap up with a couple quick FAQs to help you out as you're picking your Instagram scheduling app.

Can you schedule Instagram posts?

Yes, you can schedule Instagram posts, but things work differently depending on the kind of Instagram account you have (you can change your account type in the Instagram settings).

  • You can't schedule and automatically post anything to personal Instagram accounts. But some apps, like Later, have a workaround, where they send you a push notification with your post ready to go, so you can add it to Instagram yourself with a couple of clicks.

  • With a business Instagram account, you can schedule grid posts, Carousels with up to ten images, Stories, and Reels (between 5 and 90 seconds long). You can even schedule some posts using the Instagram app, though third-party tools give you more control. 

  • With a creator Instagram account, you can schedule grid posts, Carousels with up to 10 images, and Reels—but not Stories. 

No matter what kind of account you have, some features aren't available with auto-posting. For example, you can't add a link to an auto-posting Story. To get around this, some third-party tools can send you a notification when it's time for your Story to go live, so you can add the link manually. 

What is the best time to post on Instagram?

I know this isn't the answer you want, but the best time to post to Instagram depends on your audience. I'll give you some help, though: in general, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in the time zone where most of your audience lives are pretty good for engagement. Of all days, Sunday is the worst for posting to Instagram (posts on Sundays get the lowest engagement).

Related reading:

  • Hootsuite vs. Buffer: Which is right for you?

  • The best AI tools for social media management

  • The best digital marketing tools

  • How to download your social media data and information

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