Instagram makes more changes, restores Windows Phone third-party app posting privileges, for now

Instagram has evidently made one more change, hopefully the last, to their API for publishing photos to the service. We can now confirm that users can upload to the network using third party apps like Instance, and that those photos are public (unlike the last change). That’s an improvement from yesterday, where posting was blocked only to return later, but with photos marked as ‘private’.

At this point, it is unclear if Instagram is reversing course out of good will or if this was part of their plan, with the side effect of monkeying with third-party apps. Regardless, if you have Instance on your Windows Phone, you should be able to directly post without any compromises. No telling how long that will last though.

A recent post via Instance to Instagram is now public

The developer behind Instance, Daniel Gary, has reportedly figured out how to embed the required information that Instagram scans in images upon posting. When that info is missing, the service deletes the photo as it is considered “foreign” (think of how antibodies work). A fix for Instance is reportedly on the way with final testing going on now, though it won’t be the anticipated version 2.0 which is still being developed. That hot-fix will be pushed to the Store as soon as possible to hopefully prevent future outages, though at the moment it appears to not be needed.

Likewise, Rudy Huyn, who is developing #6tagram for posting to the photo network, has also cracked the mysterious Instagram APIs. His app is now working, as demonstrated in a posted video, though since it is still in development the general public cannot take advantage of it quite yet. Similar to Instance, presumably when #6tagram does come out, it will be future-proofed against Instagram’s policies, should they revert back to the new API standard.

Instagram has gone on record to the press and even customers directly that they were not seeking to block third party apps, just update their security to prevent malicious posting and spam. It’s still not clear though that if the back and forth changes are related to technical adjustments on their end or if they are responding to bad press. Because of that uncertainty, the stability and continued ability to upload to Instagram is unclear. That means as soon as this article goes live, the ability could be lost again.

Users are encouraged to use apps like Oggl or Instagraph as backup, should they want to retain their posting abilities to the hipster photo network without complications.

Thanks, Rich D., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Ok!
  • KINstagram.
  • Hehehe..
  • Nice, I thought that I lost all my 635 pics on my account.
  • There still gone, I believe. It's only new photos posted that will appear fine for now, although there is no guarantee those won't dissappear in future as well if Instagram revert this change. Best to wait for the updated apps, I think.
  • What are you talking about? The pics posted previously aren't affected, just the ones of Last couple of days, he didn't post 635 pics yesterday... :D:D:D:D:D:D
  • That would suck if previously posted photos were affected lol
  • The way he worded it, I assumed that his 635 picture were hidden as a result of the earlier change. Maybe, I misunderstood but my point was that pictures that were set to private over the past few days are gone for good.
    However, I believe this goes back further than just a few days. I started using Instance on the 21st and any picture I posted since then is now hidden to everyone. Instance never had this hidden data included in their uploads so is it not the case that every picture posted with that app is now lost?
  • No, that thing only affects that pics...not the ones previously posted and now they work fine... Trust me I have 1400+ pics
  • Instance allows you to save the pictures you previously posted that show as private back to your phone so you can re-upload them and they won't show as private now. You don't lose anything except for the ones that were being deleted during the first 24 hours of the issue.
  • Guess we do have a voice after all.
  • Post a links to instagram so we can all post while we have their attention
  • This might be a dumb question but can we use oggl to post pics from our camera roll? I don't feel very bright when I use that app
  • Nope. It's more like the original "Lens" app. Like Bill O'Reily, you have to say "f#*(& it, we'll do it live!". Kind of a shame as Oggl's filters are amazing.
  • +925 for that incredible reference.
  • Bill O'reilly...a.k.a. Mr. Never Let Anyone Talk But Himself...
  • Thanks for the laugh!
  • No. That app sucks not only how badly is developed (even in iOS is horrible), but because of that. You have to take pics using that underdev app. 
    No excuses to them, on Iphone is the same shit and bugs of WP's version. The worst app I tried on iOS so far.
  • Given the choice I'd use Instagraph ... Hippstagram gives lie to the meme that you need "official" aps. I'm going to see if I can get my money back ... it was a waste.
  • I dont think so. The app is confusing.
  • That is good news
  • Restored my faith in instagram...
  • An official app should restore your faith, not this..
  • Why? I don't understand why people think they should care about third-party apps who are using there API with out there permission.
  • Because Instagram is aware of the people they would be cutting off, and they know its on them that they havent provided something to the WP market. Remember, they could easily pull out a C&D and no more Instagram, period. At least they didn't go Snapchat on us...
  • Sometyms i think that oggl may have had inked a deal with instagram to use official API and remove all other unofficial apps frm store.... Sounds cynical but cud be true
  • How about get off your ass and make an official app. That's what they should focus on, and while they're at it, make a formal apology to the Windows Phone community for being such a dick?
  • Well said my friend, well said.
  • Sure, Facebook (who has a great relationship with Microsoft) should make an official app. They should also make an official Facebook app. Thing is though? They suck at making apps for any platform that's not iOS (there android app sucks, and Facebook home showed just how shitty they are at any platform that's not apple's). They had to start a program to get there employees to buy android devices (because of the underdeveloped app they had for it).
  • There is an official Facebook app bro.
  • Technically, you are correct, but that app is built by Microsoft themselves, not by Facebook. icyrock1 wants to see an official Facebook app actually created by Facebook on the platform. 
  • Quite frankly, I think it should go the other way around, and devs should just hand MS and Nokia private API access and say "here. develop.". Considering how well theyve done with the new facebook app, how well Nokia did with the new Foursquare revamp, and Microsoft's unforgettable, in Google's face, Youtube app that was brilliant (and which we are all sad is gone), itd be a win win. The company wouldnt have to exert any resources, or even CARE whether the platform has "enough users" and all that bs, since they wouldnt be the one developing it, and MS would get to bring some of the top and most needed apps to the platform.
  • Another day, another Instagram article. Stop messing with things instagram so we can stop reading about your crappy network.
  • I like Instagram. But I too don't get why an official app is not here yet. I know WP market share is small. But all you gotta do is look at Instance and Instagraph (and the buzz for Rudy's app) to see that there is demand for the service.
  • The conspiracy theory is that the CEO (Kevin Systrom) has a vendetta against Microsoft. While personally I think that idea sounds crazy, some of their recent actions and denying Nokia/MS the ability to the build the app suggests there could be some truth behind the claim.
  • Why don't they just say "yes we're creating an app" or, not. Or for that matter why can't Nokia or Microsoft tell us?
    For instance with the new Facebook app that Microsoft recently released, they would have gotten a lot of goodwill if they'd told us in advance they were working on it. A lot of people were complaining about the previous app, they could have saved some defectors and quited down some complaints if they'd just let us know they were working on it. I think MS would do well to be more open. Joe Belfiorie does seem to be opening up a bit lately, but he's just one man and even he does give us much.
    I just don't see why all these companies feel the need to be so secretive, and that isn't just the ones listed above, a lot do it.
  • I'm pretty sure that MS was open about making a new Facebook app.
    They came out and that they and Facebook were working together to make an official app, in the mean time, join the beta program. The better program was out for at least a couple of months before the "official" Facebook app came out recently.
  • The official app was already out. Microsoft said "join the beta, try a new interface!", then, within the last couple months, they updated the official FB app with the new changes made and tested in the Beta.
  • Well said, Daniel.
  • I think IG is acting pricey. They will act this way till WP become a sizeable force. Once the user base becomes high, they will release the app saying we listened to you.
    I only wish some other app becomes famous by that time and when IG app is released, nobody bothers about that.
  • So this means that Instance is back up and running like it should be? I'm gonna test it :) 
    Best regards!
  • Well maybe just maybe Istagram isn't doing nothing bad, seems like they are saying the truth
  • Err, what's that thing in the picture? A phone?
  • Kin :)
  • Its an old Kin device that showed up some time ago for 25 bucks on Verizon without a contract. Works on WP7. Can be used as a cheap iPod, works on Zune.
  • WP7? I don't think so, pretty sure it was Windows Mobile.
  • Neither of you are correct. The kin was being developed by the PMX (Personal Mobile Xperience) team at Microsoft, which was created to build a successor to the Sidekick, seeing as microsoft bought Danger, who made the sidekick OS. PMX was a collaboration of numerous teams, including the new Windows Phone team at that time. However, due to poor team managements (and setbacks that made the phone almost a year or two late, depending on where you read), the Windows Phone team was distanced from the PMX team. So the closest thing you could call the KIN's OS is a prototype or concept version of Windows Phone (especially since it says "Windows Phone" on the back). Thats why there are some similarities between the two, but at the same time vast differences
    Fun Fact: Due to the kin being late to market, Verizon had changed the data rates for their plans, and in refusing to offer a lower data package for the KIN, classified it as a smartphone (and that combined with missing features [to which PMX members even said were unfinished and needed more time then what they were given to implement], caused microsoft to abandon the kin, and sadly bury some really cool features with it, such as the "spot" ui and KIN Studio, [and the RSS news reader])
    Another Fun Fact: Verizon later released the KIN M series (TWOm and ONEm), which came with a slightly revised OS (which wasnt revised enough) and sold it as a feature phone (what they should of done from the start). It had no Spot UI or Studio features, but had an added calendar and youtube playback via a horrid version of IE6 mobile. In fact, some of the left over stock of the original KINs had the new software installed and were sold, and those devices, if one holds down a key combination for reset, can switch back and forth between the original OS and the slightly updated one (at the loss of data, of course, still being a reset).
  • Trivia time: The Kin devices launched slightly ahead of WP7, and someone at Microsoft thought it would be a great idea to silkscreen "Windows Phone" on the back, for branding synergy or some other nonsense reason. However, it actually had very little in common with WP7 (it was built on an older version of Windows CE, but that's about it). This ended up confusing the people who noticed, and probably pissing off the real WP team given what an utter disaster Kin was. Still, the Kin holds the honor of being the very first Windows Phone device ever released. Something Microsoft would probably prefer everyone to forget. :)
  • close.... read the comment above yours i posted. Ive done HEAVY research into the KIN, and even bought a KIN Two off ebay a year and a half ago. Im sort of a self proclaimed historian on the KIN.
  • PMX stood for Premium Mobile eXperiences, not "personal". The Danger acquisition was largely done to acquire their IP, and presumably expertise, although many Danger employees resented the acquisition, and reportedly either quit immediately, or waited 1 or 2 years to get their retention bonuses first. The Danger OS was Linux-based, so none of that code was used in the Kin, which was based on an unreleased version of Windows CE. There are some UI design similarities between Kin and WP7, because the same design team was working on both in parallel, but there was almost no shared code. The WP team was focused on their own efforts, and had almost nothing to do with the development of the Kin. Aside from the controversial "Windows Phone" branding, Kin is one of the very few devices ever where the Verizon logo was on the back of the device, rather than the front. Those nits aside, you're correct about the other stuff, particularly how Verizon basically ensured Kin would fail by requiring a full data plan. By the time Kin shipped, Verizon had decided to put all its weight behind Android, and didn't want anything to distract from that -- they needed to laser focus on coming up with an answer to the iPhone, which was eating them alive. It's interesting to think that, had the Kin shipped on time and feature complete, things might have gone the other direction, and Android might not have gotten the marketing boost that helped put it where it is today.
  • A: Durr. I knew that. for some reason i typed "personal"
    B: I know none of the Danger OS code was used in the KIN OS. The kin was designed to be more of a "spiritual successor" to sidekick than a direct successor, in that it was designed to be a "hip" social networking centric device at a low cost (failed on cost). thank you for clarifying.
    C. It is an interesting thought, no? what IF the kin had been better (AKA: faster processor, optimized OS, newer browser, app store.) and was available from the start for cheap? Its an interesting thought to play around with, but sadly we'll never know for sure.
    i actually like the KIN2, and find some of its features way ahead of that of Windows Phone (such as the Studio for Media+Info+Social backup, which is starting to come back in a fragmented form on WP in the form of Skydrive back up, People Hub, and; And the spot sharing UI, which allowed easy sending of multiple media types via MMS, eMail, and Social Networks, all while using different apps system wide; Not to mention a built in RSS reader, which could of sold a number of Windows Phones alone right after Google Reader shut down; and the dashboard for easy wireless and volume control, a feature many have asked for in Windows Phone.)
  • The Microsoft KIN ONE. It was sort of a Prototype Windows Phone smartphone gone feature phone, that had poor support, horrid development issues, and something Microsoft probably wishes to forget.
  • 'If you build it, they will come'
  • Yay! It looks like my photos that were made private yesterday are visible to others again!
  • I still couldn't sign in to Instance. I had to uninstall and reinstall but now it seems to be working.
  • lets yell at CEO (Kevin Systrom) on twitter...even if he has some "vendetta" against Microsoft, why allow users to suffer? What is this, a child's play?
  • I wonder if the bad press generated by their move will also give them a sign that WP is not a platform they can ignore anymore. Let us hope this was their wake up call and it's not that they go ahead and release the official App that Nokias has with them for months now.
  • So you know for a fact that an official app exist out there somewhere?
  • Instagram giveth and Instagram taketh away.....My uploads now work via Instance.
  • This whole debacle has highlighted just how awesome Rudy Huyn is. Judging by his twitter posts getting around this API was a non event for him. No disrespect to Daniel, he's still an awesome developer, Rudy is just a freak of nature. I guess that's why instance with all its issues hasn't seen an update in two months while 6tagram has almost been finished in the space of 10 days.
  • Rudy also seems to think that Daniel's update may not cover all the security checks. Personally, I think they should share their findings about this and make sure that between them they have this issue sorted.
  • Yeah I just saw that on Twitter. On the one hand yeah it would be great if he shared, the whole "for the good of Windows Phone" brotherhood. On the other they are still going to be competitors here, and if Daniel's app can't upload and Rudy's can that's a massive boon for Rudy. 
  • i cant access new photos posted by daniel. the one with a kin and another one appear in my feed, but when i touch them, i just get at the top "loading media..." and a blank white polaroid frame.
  • I for on posted as a bug to them
  • Instagram can just hire Rudy to made the app for them. He already made it in a week,  just better! Well the app isn't out yet but i predict that it will be almost as good as the original (with some flaws). 
  • How about they stop clowning around and finally make a dedicated Instagram app for WP8? 
    They sure do seem able to have the time to cause headaches for WP8 developers, thats for sure.
  • Trial mode is back too
  • Btw, Daniel, 6tagram doesn't have the hashtag ;)
  • WOW, looking at the article picture, the L925 is one dangerously sexy phone! :)
  • I really don't think Instagram was trying to block the WP8 apps at all. There was a smoothie posting hack on a lot of users' Instagram accounts, hence the need for a security update.
  • Has anyone gotten the Instance live tile to work? I haven't had that work since I downloaded it on release..
  • Uninstalled instance,and will wait for the real deal.
  • Childish tools, devs have done a job for them and brought many more ppl to instagram and reconnected others, they should be thanking the devs not fking them around and should be glad that those devs have brought many customers to their ecosystem, what the fk is up with these tools? Google & instagram better pull their heads in as this platform will be a huge player across w8,wp8 & Xbox ecos and the losers will ultimately be them. Where did Google get their start up many years ago? What company spearheaded them on to every desktop thus allowing them to become the superpower they are today? I believe MS should pull all their apps and services from android devices like Skype, office suite, SkyDrive and smartglass just to give em a taste of their own $hit.
  • I'm currently on an Android hiatus (it's been a month since I jumped ship waiting for the next gen WP devices) with an HTC One and let me tell you that the Instagram app for Android works well but the quality of uploaded photos is horrible. You can take a great photo but when uploaded it will end up looking over sharpened or a little pixelated.
    There are tons of reports from HTC One and Galaxy S4 owners and they just can't or wouldn't fix it since these two devices launched months ago. I would like to see 3rd party apps like Instance or 6tagram on Android while I'm on this platform to avoid the quality issues the official app has.
    Windows Phone has phones with awesome cameras I would hate to have an official app that uploads crappy pictures. Maybe when/if they release a WP app it all be good, but I won't keep my hopes up.
  • Instance is still giving me the same error
  • Acc to Rudy Huyn its just temporary. You will get ur photos hidden or deleted. Though Daniel and Rudy claim they have fix for this and an update to instance is coming very soon maybe in a day or so.
    Update: Instagraph is giving me an error: Instagram logon service in temporarily unavailable
  • It's very important to be clear and honest with users, I tested last uploads made by Daniel and no of them has the new security in, in fact he said he will add a way to remote change app settings, not than he found how to fix it ;-)
  • This could happen when they change something (matrix style ;).
    Usually it is a temporary issue (a couple of minutes, time for them to restart services).
    I use hundreds of real cloud-virtualized ios/android devices so Instagraph is not affected by policy changes.
    All developers that sell App based on sniffed API violating a company ToS has to be clear and honest with users and say their app could be broken at any moment (or revoked...), you too @rudy ;)
    Anyway congrats for 6tagram, it looks just amazing :) !!!!
  • of course, this is why I've always a backup solution ;)
    Exactly the same thing for you, it's very easy on android to test if the app runs on a emulator, they can add this test and disable your solution ;)
  • Good, remember to add this to 6tagram and 6sec app descriptions.
    And... I dont use emulators, they simply cannot stop Instagraph by API or app change, trust me (and I have a couple of backup options too ;)
  • i brought my old 3 year Android 2.2 Droid for Instagram for a backup option :P
  • Can't figure out why Instagram will not make an app for Windows Phones. 
  • Instagram... make up your fawken mind biiitch!
  • Yay, some good news :)
  • Im getting a 'publish error' on Instagraph on my WP7 as of today. It worked fine yesterday. Hope it's not broken because of this..
  • Instagram might want to create a great application in WP8. Therefore, the launch late