With more than 300 million users (in December 2014), Instagram is a social media platform that is rapidly gaining popularity over veteran services like Facebook (1 billion users).
Instagram is a huge part of our lives. We pick up our phones to snap that #foodporn shot when we visit our favourite hipster cafes and careful composed shots of our mimosa at the beach when we spend the weekend on a beach in Bali. And even when we aren’t posting new and shiny pictures of our so-called lives, we are addicted to scrolling through #ootd (photos of fantabulous outfits) and #wanderlust (travel snapshots). As someone who is always browsing social media feeds in my iPad so it s quite surprising that Instagram does not yet have a native experience for the iPas crowd. With the expansive screen real estate, it seems a no-brainer to be browsing the endless feed of beautifully filtered photos on a screen larger than a smartphone’s.
The official Instagram is a stretched out version of its iPhone app. It is the familiar Instagram experience we know and love.
Pros: Familiar Instagram experience. Allows posting of images (though I really do not understand the trend of taking videos with one’s iPad).
Cons: App looks pixelated due to stretched nature of the app. Only allows singular photos and captions.
One of the most beautifully designed Instagram viewer on the market (Instagram API does not allow posting from third-party apps). Designed by Singapore-based designers Louis Nguyen and Jason Dinh of Tiny Whale (yay, support local developers!).
Retro allows multiple viewing modes (whether you want a broad view of everything or to immerse yourself in a photo, there is a viewing mode for you!). Love that photo from your favourite designer? Retro allows photos and videos downloading to your iPad. Browsing at night? Avoid the glare of the screen with the night theme to protect your eyes! Retro also has a curated list of celebrities, interesting artists and travel destinations on Instagram. Enjoy the best of Instagram instantaneously!
My favourite feature of Retro is the ability to view your browsing history. For example, my favourite search on Instagram is #latteart and it is great to not have to type it in the search bar all the time. :D
Pros: *Photos/videos downloading, night mode, multiple viewing modes, browsing history. Smart gestures for navigation. *Allows account switching.
Cons: Blue background is sometimes very distracting.
*Premium features require an unlocking price of S$4.98.
If all you are looking for a minimalist Instagram viewing experience on the iPad, Flow is the top choice. With nothing to distract from your feed, the photos are displayed grid style with an option to tap for more information. Sometimes all you need is just a straightforward app without the frills. Like Retro for Instagram, Flow for Instagram also allows saving of photos, account switching, among other things, for the unlocking price of $3.98.
Pros: Clean, minimalist design. *Allows saving of photos/videos. Smooth scrolling. Ability to search and bookmark #hashtags, @users and places.
Cons: Only one viewing mode (grid and expanded individual post).
I would say that my go-to Instagram viewer on my iPad mini is definitely Retro, hands-down. Not only because of the comprehensive viewing modes but also the ability to make little collages from my most liked posts. The notifications are also easily accessible and I can follow *cough* stalk *cough* my favourite Instagrammers whenever they make a new post.