For anyone wanting to escape the misery machine of Facebook and permanently delete their Instagram account, I’ve created a couple of shortcuts so you can migrate your photos to either a Micro.blog-hosted site or a site that runs on WordPress.
Both shortcuts use a copy of your Instagram archive to upload photos and create the appropriate posts. The date for each post is set to the original upload date. The post itself includes the original caption and, if available, location name. You can choose whether to remove hashtags or keep them in the post. The WordPress shortcut has an additional option to convert hashtags to regular tags instead.
I’ve added some safeguards to both shortcuts to prevent a migration from going awry and to give those with lots of photos the option to migrate incrementally rather than all at once.
The shortcuts can be stopped and resumed without losing progress or duplicating what’s already been uploaded—especially useful if Shortcuts crashes for any reason. This is done by creating temporary files for each post and then deleting the file when the post has been created.
It’s also possible to incrementally migrate photos so you don’t have to commit to doing them all at once. Both shortcuts migrate photos in batches, such as five photos at a time. You can specify how many photos to migrate per batch. When a batch is done, the shortcut needs to be run again to continue with a new batch.
Although I’ve tested both of these shortcuts with Micro.blog-hosted and WordPress-powered sites, I encourage anyone using them to start with some small batches first to make sure everything looks ok. Instagram captions can contain @mentions and hashtags anywhere so the lack of consistent formatting means everyone can write captions differently. If you’ve done anything special with how you’ve written them, you may need to make some adjustments.
My iPhone photography workflow includes sharing some of the photos I’ve taken to Instagram. I usually include relevant hashtags to increase discoverability and have a collection of frequently used hashtag sets—different hashtags for the same topic—that I can choose from. I also include a five-dot prefix (each dot on a separate line) to separate the photo’s caption text and hashtags. This is a commonly used method for hiding hashtags “below the fold” so they’re only visible when tapping the more button.
I’ve used a few different methods for managing my hashtag collection and wanted to share my experiences with each.
iOS text replacement
iOS has built-in text substitution that can be used to replace a shortcut with a longer piece of text. For example, a shortcut of ,,iphone could be replaced with #shotoniphone #iphonexs #iphonephotography.
Text replacement is a good option if you occasionally use hashtag sets. You can easily add them to an Instagram caption without leaving the app. It’s basic organization and need for you to remember what shortcuts you’ve created isn’t well suited for more frequent users or those with a larger collection.
Copied is a clipboard manager app for iOS and was the first standalone app I used for managing hashtag sets. Each set can be saved a separate clipping and accessed directly from Instagram using Copied’s custom keyboard.
Clippings can be organized into lists and the custom keyboard also includes a built-in search, both of which make Copied useful if you have a lot of hashtag sets.
The popular iOS photo editor has built-in support for hashtag set management. Darkroom makes it easy to manage and create new hashtag sets and provides some useful ways of accessing them.
Hashtag sets can be selected and copied to the clipboard—along with an optional five-dot prefix—as part of the photo export flow so that you can switch to Instagram and simply paste the hashtags in. You can also use Darkroom’s Today View widget to select and copy hashtag sets to the clipboard.
The app also supports Siri shortcuts for quick access to hashtag sets. You can select which hashtag sets to include and then record a phrase to use with Siri. Once invoked, the hashtag sets are copied to the clipboard.
My preferred method for managing hashtag sets nowadays is, unsurprisingly, with a shortcut. I created Instagram Hashtag Sets to manage my hashtag collection and use them whenever I post a photo to Instagram. The shortcut is more flexible than other methods I’ve tried and also includes some additional functionality.
It can be run as a normal shortcut or from the Share Sheet, the Shortcuts Widget, the Home screen, or as a Siri Shortcut. I primarily use the Share Sheet by selecting the caption text I’ve specified and tapping Share; the shortcut includes the caption text when it copies hashtags to the clipboard to make it easier to simply paste it over the existing text.
The shortcut contains a dictionary of my hashtag sets, each of which is an array of hashtags. When run, it displays a list of these hashtag sets for you to select from. All of the chosen hashtags are copied to the clipboard, after which it switches back to Instagram and displays a notification. The shortcut also includes support for a five-dot prefix and includes this if the option is enabled.
Instagram limits the number of hashtags per photo to 30. The shortcut counts how many hashtags have been included across all hashtag sets and allows you to deselect individual hashtags if there are more than 30. The shortcut also repeats the check until there are 30 or fewer hashtags.
Shortcuts no longer supports shortcut file imports. Any links to shortcuts in this post have been updated to use iCloud links.