If Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has you put off from using the service, there are more than a handful of alternatives out there. Here’s a look at other apps you can use to get the same results from a still-independent developer.
Wait, Should I Really Ditch Instagram?
No, I don’t think you should and this post should not be read as an attack on Instagram. Personally, I like the service and don’t care at all, whatsoever, that Facebook has acquired the company. Its developers, Mike and Kevin, have worked exceptionally hard to create a great photo-based social network and I think it’s great that they’re going to have Facebook’s support going forward. That said, a lot of people aren’t happy about Facebook owning Instagram and are worried about what may happen in the long run. If that’s you, and you really want to leave Instagram behind, here are some alternatives. First things first, however, you might want to export your photos from the Instagram service.
By the way, this post only focuses on options for the iPhone because we tackled alternatives for Android last week (for another reason entirely). If you’re an Android user, read this instead. iOS users, read on.
PicPlz is probably the most popular alternatives to Instagram because it was on of the only and best alternatives on Android. PicPlz has an iPhone app, too, so Instagram expats on the platform can switch over, too. Like Instagram, PicPlz offers photo filters and frames that you can easily apply with a couple of taps. You can also turn your image into a meme, draw on it, crop, rotate, and perform a few other actions you won’t find in Instagram’s app. You won’t have some of the neat filters like Tilt Shift, but you do have pretty much the same sharing options. If you want an alternative that offers much of the same functionality, PicPlz is a good way to go.
Download PicPlz (Free)
PicYou has an interface that’s remarkably similar to Instagram and offers an instant sharing feature. Basically, you decide if you want to share on Twitter and/or Facebook automatically and PicYou makes that happen. Like all of the apps on this list, you can apply filters and frames. You can also access all your photos on the web from the PicYou web site. The primary downside to PicYou is that some filters cost $1 (as in-app purchases). It’s certainly not the cheapest option, but it retains a lot of the elegance people have come to like about Instagram and it offers a very similar feature set.
Download PicYou (Free + In-App Purchases)
Hipstamatic was (probably) the original faux-vintage camera app and is great for people who like the tedium of actually using a camera from (likely) before they were born. With Hipstamatic you can swap lenses, flashes, and film stocks rather than just tapping a style and sticking with it. You also get the realism of having to pay for each of these items, as most are in-app purchases. Hipstamatic also emulates the developing process of a real camera. All of these things are either annoying or charming, depending on what kind of person you are. You’ll also want to have a few dollars to blow if you do pick up this app as there are many things to purchase and the app, itself, starts at $2.
Download Hipstamatic ($2)
EyeEm is another filter and frames photo app with a social twist, allowing you to share photos in groups. Do you take pictures of coffee? Share them in a group of other pictures people have taken of coffee. You can share on pretty much all the popular services the other apps offer as well, but if you’re into the group photography thing then EyeEm is worth a look.
Download EyeEm (Free)
Camera+ is our favorite camera app for iPhone. It’s not necessarily what you’d think of as an Instagram replacement, as it’s not built for social photography, but you can share the photos you snap and it’s got more filters and photo editing tools than you’ll probably need. It’s a really great app, costs $1, and will help you get better images out of your iPhone.
Download Camera+ ($1)
Camera Awesome is another non-social camera app, but it offers filters and effects as well. It’s worth mentioning as a free alternative to Camera+. While we still prefer Camera+, Camera Awesome is a close second and definitely worthwhile for those of you who can’t spare a dollar.
Download Camera Awesome (Free)