Fortunately, Instagram users who are concerned about the app’s future have plenty of alternatives to choose from. One possibility, of course, is Facebook Camera (itun.es/i6jN7Nw), a free photo-browsing and sharing app, complete with a range of filters, that Facebook launched shortly after its acquisition of Instagram was announced (without any input from the smaller firm). But if the Facebook connection is what’s driving you away from Instagram, that won’t do.
Instead, here are six great Instragram-esque apps to consider, each promising mobility, social features, and filters and effects of their own. Consider these apps as alternatives to fill the potential Instagram void.
Like lo-fi filters but want an option that’s not affiliated with Facebook? Nevercenter’s CameraBag (£1.49, itun.es/i6jW47T) offers an array of vintage camera effects that you can use without any social-networking obligation. Double-tapping one of the 15 available filters reprocesses the photo, sometimes subtly and sometimes dramatically; you can do this several times on each image for dozens of variations on the original filters.
You can share your photos with friends via email and save them to your Camera Roll. You can also interact with other CameraBag users in the CameraBag Flickr Group (bit.ly/weHr).
Hipstamatic (£1.49, itun.es/i6jN24y) has been a staple of the App Store for years, thanks to its unique take on the vintage camera look, its incredible versatility and its controls.
Instead of applying filters, as with other apps, with Hipstamatic you get a variety of lenses, film and flash types to shoot with, which you can then augment with in-app purchases. The program also integrates sharing, both through social networks and with the Hipstamatic community.
In addition to sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Flickr, you can interact with other users through contests and shared photo albums. Hipstamatic also has its own cloud service for saving images, and a print lab so users can easily order prints of their favourite shots.
Kiwiple’s Magic Hour – Camera & Unlimited Filter (£1.49; itun.es/i6jN7tC) is definitely worth a look for hardcore filter lovers. The app gives you 40 filters to start with, plus access to an in-app Filter Market where you can download more filters at no additional cost. Magic Hour also lets you customise your own filters and share them with others through the Filter Market.
Social butterflies will like the way Magic Hour works seamlessly with a lot of social and sharing platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, Tumblr and Posterous, to be exact – and also offers easy uploading to Evernote and Dropbox. It doesn’t have a standalone network or feed, though.
If you like easy sharing options but dislike the washed-out vintage look, and would prefer higher-quality tools, East Coast Pixels’ PhotoToaster (£1.49; itun.es/i6jN24Z) is a solid compromise.
The app focuses on general photo-editing features – you can crop, rotate and flip images straight from the Tools menu. Start with your basic edits, then choose between three sets of automatic filters: basic, supreme and deluxe. Each filter set has a handful of specific filters, with basic yielding the simplest filters and deluxe housing the most extreme. Once you’ve set your base, you can move on to tweak lighting, edit contrast, add a vignette and choose a complementary border.
Known as the ‘darkroom app’, Autodesk’s Pixlr-o-matic (free; itun.es/i6jN2WT) lets you combine photo effects to customise the image in different ways.
Your default film roll comes with 26 filters to choose from, and after you select your base effect, you can pick from 30 light settings and give it a border. A 69p upgrade promises complete access to a catalogue of effects and overlays. Pixlr-o-matic stands out for its built-in image-sharing service, imm.io. Each image you publish gets a link that you can share at your leisure. This gives you control over who sees your photo and how it gets used.
Since it requires Facebook or Twitter integration to work, RadiumOne Labs’ Via.me (free; itun.es/i6j43gB) may not be the first choice for users put off by Instagram’s Facebook connection. But for the Twitter-happy crowd, it may be the way to go.
Once you’ve linked your Via.me profile to your Facebook or Twitter account, you can opt out of posting to these: just tap either button before you tap Post, and your photo will go to your Via.me feed. You can follow friends, keep track of everyone’s posts on a centralised feed, explore other users’ profiles and comment on photos from your iOS device. Additionally, you can upload video and sound clips – giving this app more of a Tumblr feel, but with Instagram-like features, including 17 filters named after major cities.