How To Do an Instagram Location Search

Instagram isn’t all about #foodporn, #cats, and #pets, although these hashtags are more than significant. This popular social media website/app is frequently used for showcasing cool shots of locations, whether they’re breathtakingly beautiful or otherwise. Instagram’s location search option is pretty neat, not just for the sake of the followers knowing where a photo was taken, but also for enabling other users to see more posts from that particular location.

The Downsides

Although there are more than a couple of ways of using this feature, Instagram’s location search option comes with some inherent issues. For one, the option relies heavily on how the users use it. The user may simply omit the location or purposefully or accidentally assign a wrong one. Additionally, the location recommendation when posting a photo is based on GPS, which is to say that the suggestions for posting a photo of the Tower Bridge in Amsterdam would be, well, Amsterdam.

Another issue here is that there is no verification on Instagram. For instance, nothing will stop you from entering “best day ever” in the location field. Moreover, there are many similar hashtags out there, typos or not. This becomes evident if you try searching “Empire State Building.”

instagram search

The Basic Location Search

The first and most logical location search option would be to tap the magnifying glass icon and enter the location name in Instagram’s search bar. If you type in a generic location here, the default “Top” view will display everything related to the search you’ve just made, from various hashtags and locations, to Instagram profiles. This may be the most basic approach, but the results might not be overly relevant.

Of course, you can always select the “Places” tab after searching, and this will show you all the locations relevant to your search (or to reuse the previous “Empire State Building” example). You can, of course, do this for “Tags” and “People”, as you can see.

the basic location search

The Location Field

The less obvious but sometimes more efficient option would be the location field. This field can be found under the username of the account posting the photo, and you probably know it as the thing that you accidentally click on when trying to open that person’s account page.

location field

Once you tap here (without missing the link the first couple of times), you’ll see top/recent view options, the photos taken in that location, and a useful map view.

instagram location

Unfortunately, the abovementioned limitations of users’ freedom to assign a location on their own will be present here, too.

Instagram Location ID

The most foolproof but also the most tedious way of using the location field usually means that you’ll have to work with an app, plugin, or feed that isn’t on Instagram itself but one that interacts with the social media app. Although there is no apparent way of finding location-controlled vocabulary on Instagram, the app itself does assign a Location ID to its registered locations, which is essentially a string of numbers. Finding that number, however, takes a bit of work.

1. Log into the Website

Using your browser, log into the Instagram website. Logging in through the app won’t work here.

2. Search for the Location

Once logged in (again, remember to use a browser), type the name of the place you want to see more photos of. You’re looking for a location, so be on the lookout for this marker icon:


3. Open the Location Page

When you tap/click on the location page with the marker shown above, your browser will open it, displaying a similar view of the map and a number of related photos to the one in the “Location Field” section above.

4. Copying the Location ID

Given the fact that you’ve opened this page in the browser, you’ll see a string of digits in the address or search bar towards the end. This is the location ID. Select it and copy it.

5. Paste the Location ID

Now, paste this string of numbers into the plugin/app/feed that you’re using, and you’ll get a list of location-controlled photos. Essentially, you’ll get an accurate list of photos in the location that you’re looking for.

It Isn’t Ideal

As mentioned, and as you probably know, Instagram’s location search isn’t perfect. You either get mixed results that you’ll have to manually filter through, or you have to use a relatively tedious method and third-party apps/plugins.

Which of the above methods do you prefer? Feel free to let everyone know in the comments below, and don’t be afraid to add your preferred way of performing Instagram location search.

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