Is it possible to run Threads on a desktop?

Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta launched Threads in July of 2023 as an insurgent challenger to an Elon Musk-owned Twitter (now known as X) that’s been in clear decline.

For weeks after its launch, the microblogging platform lacked a lot of what many users would consider basic features. But, as we’ll explain, things have been changing for the better and are continuing to do so.

Can you use Threads on your desktop?


Yes. And by “desktop,” we mean the open web.

Early on in the network’s life, if you plopped into your browser’s address bar, you would be prompted to download the app from the App Store or Play Store. If you had a link to a specific Threads post, you could see the post but not interact with it – you had to download the app.

Having a mobile-only social network might sound cool, but when you know Meta is on a path to monetizing Threads and needs communications professionals to be able to use more advanced tools, you know that can’t last long.

In its corporate blog post announcing the app, Meta did not mention any plans for making a web client. It took weeks for CEO Mark Zuckerberg to even acknowledge that Threads developers were working on one.

It took until 22 August for the platform to finally enter into full service on the web, letting users like, repost, search for trends, and, most importantly, post with their Thread accounts from not just their phones but from any device that can access the web.

So, how do I use Threads on my computer right now?

All you need to do is open up on your web browser, sign into your Instagram account to start reading your feed, follow new people, and search for content you care about. That’s it.

In the original version of this article we posted shortly after Threads launch, we suggested some crafty alternative methods to get the Threads mobile app working on your desktop. You’ll continue to see them below for posterity.

Mirroring your phone


This means seeing and controlling what’s on your phone from your desktop machine.

There are multiple ways to do this, but we prefer scrcpy if you have an Android device. It’s a free, open-source mirroring program for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you don’t need to root your phone or tablet to take full advantage of it. You need to ensure you have ADB tools on your desktop machine – our sister site, XDA-Developers, has a guide.

The simplest way for iPhone and iPad owners is to cast your device’s screen to your Mac. This is how to make that happen.

A catch-all solution is AirDroid Cast – you can mirror your Android or iPhone device from any desktop machine, but you have to pay a monthly subscription fee of $2.50 for control features.

Use a virtual Android device


An Android virtual runtime environment is a great choice if you want something self-contained, and the easiest method you can use here is by installing BlueStacks.

Once you’ve set up the program, you must search for any app, then select Open Google Play to launch the Android environment. You’ll then need to log into your Google account before searching for and installing Threads, an Instagram app – look for the stylized @ symbol as its icon.

There isn’t really a user-friendly iOS equivalent in this case, but BlueStacks is easy enough to use on its own if you can blow past the initial interface and come to grips with Android.

Windows Subsystem for Android


You can install and use the Threads Android app on your Windows machine. We have a full tutorial on the rather tricky process here on Pocket-lint, but the key first steps are to go to the Microsoft Store, look for the Amazon Appstore, and then follow prompts to install the Windows Subsystem for Android which will facilitate the environment for you to install the app. Threads is not available on the Amazon Appstore proper, so you’ll need to pull up some developer settings and then source an APK to sideload.

Each method above presents risks of their own – personally, my Windows Subsystem for Android installation failed, resulting in multiple OS boot failures before I was able to get things back up and running.

Ultimately, there’s no good substitute for a proper web client. Here’s hoping Meta gets its act together for one real soon – Threads clearly has tons of work cut out for it.

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