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Instagramming from your Windows Phone

One of the more hot-button Windows Phone topics is Instagram. Whether it's rumors of a Nokia sponsored, official Instagram app hitting the Store or Instagram making it more difficult for third party apps, the photo sharing network is a popular topic for discussion.

While we still have yet to see an official Instagram app for Windows Phone, we do have several rather appealing Instagram clients that allow us to tap into the network and share photos of our dinner, pets, scenic views, ourselves, and anything else we find interesting in the world.

While there are several options to access your Instagram account and/or share images to Instagram from our Windows Phones, we see four apps leading the pack with regards to Instagram clients. All are very capable apps in their own right and we've touched on each before. In this week's roundup we revisit these four and give the low down on each for those new to Windows Phones or for those just getting interested in Instagram.

Oh... and to avoid having to say this repeatedly, none of these apps are official Instagram client apps and not a product of Instagram.

InPic

InPic (free): InPic, if my memory serves me correctly (and sometimes it doesn't), is the newest "full featured" Instagram client app for Windows Phone 8 devices.

InPic is laid out with pages for:

  • Your Timeline (your photos and the photos of who you're following)
  • A Popular page highlighting photos with high likes and comment counts
  • A Profile summary page
  • An Activity page summarizing the comments/likes for your photos

InPic Main Pages and Menu

At the bottom of the main pages are button controls to pull up a list of those you are following, to start the upload process, refresh the main pages, and search Instagram.  Up under the three-dot menu you'll find options to find friends, edit your profile, sign out of Instagram and access InPic's settings.  Settings cover the about screen, InPic's privacy policy and another means to sign in/out of your Instagram account.

InPic's Instagram features includes the ability to upload images (but not videos), comment on photos, follow other Instagram members, like photos and edit your profile.  You can also delete your photos, share Instagram photos via Twitter or Facebook, download photos to your Pictures Hub, and email a link to an Instagram to your friends/family/whomever.

As far as uploading your photos to Instagram you have the customary choices of selecting a picture from your Pictures Hub or launching InPic's camera app to capture a new photo. The InPic camera app is a nice touch with a simple, straight forward interface. You have a handful of scene settings across the top of the viewfinder or you can choose "auto" and let the camera choose which is best.

InPic Camera and Upload Screens

Flash controls, a toggle between the front/rear camera and a toggle for a Rule of Thirds grid rest at the bottom of the viewfinder. The odd thing about the camera app is that you can't capture an image with your physical shutter button or by tapping the screen. The only shutter available is a big blue camera button on the screen.  It's not a bad camera app, it just could use a little fine tuning (images seemed soft).

Lomo, 1967, Cartoon, and Moonlight Filters

As far as filters are concerned, InPic has a small selection of filters that includes:

  • Lomo, Moonlight, Sunshine
  • 1967, Negative, Sketch
  • Grayscale, Cartoon

Two features InPic lacks is the ability to upload videos to Instagram and the ability to create an Instagram account. You can view and locally save existing videos from Instagram with InPic but you're outta luck if you want to upload your videos.  InPic does have Live Tile support in that you can pin those you are following to your Windows Phone Start Screen for quick access.

All in all, InPic is an attractive Instagram client app. Some may see the inability to upload videos as a downside but very few Instagram client apps have that feature.  I wouldn't mind seeing a little more features added to the camera or in the least a little fine tuning to get the images a little sharper. The nice thing about it all is that InPic is a free, ad-free app for your Windows Phone 8 device.

You can pick up your copy of InPic here in the Windows Phone Store and if you're looking for a Windows 8 Instagram client, InPic is also available here in the Windows Store.

Instagraph

Instagraph (trial/$1.29): In a manner of speaking Instagraph is the app that really broke things open with Instagram and our Windows Phones.  Instagraph was the first Instagram client app that allowed you to upload images.  Before Instagram, all you could do is view your images.

Instagraph is a feature rich client app that has all your uploading capabilities, a modest photo editor, and access to many of Instagram's features.  The app layout does take a little getting used to though. You are greeted by a collage of images from your Pictures Hub and at the bottom of the main page are controls to launch your Windows Phone camera, access your Pictures Hub to share a photo, pull up the Metrogram menu, and view your upload history.

Instagraph Main, Editing, and Upload Screens

To access your Instagram features, Instagraph relies on Metrogram. The two apps became integrated some time ago to give Windows Phone users a more thorough Instagram experience. With the help from Metrogram, Instagraph can create an Instagram account, view your followers, view who you are following, search for photos, see what you've liked, view and edit your profile and access Instagram via your Internet Explorer.

Instagraph's MetroGram Interface

Images can be uploaded from your Pictures Hub or you can launch the native Windows Phone camera app to upload a new image. Instagraph has an Aviary powered photo editor so you can tweak your images prior to upload. Editing tools include exposure adjustments, stickers, ten filter effects, orientation and adding text.

Once you're done with the editing, you can also choose from a healthy selection of Instagram filters that include:

  • Amaro, Mayfair, Rise, Hudson
  • Valencia, X-Pro, Sierra, Willow
  • Lo-Fi, Earlybird, Sutro
  • Toaster, Brannan, Inkwell
  • Walden, Hefe, Nashville
  • 1977, Kelvin

Or you can let any filters you chose in the Aviary editor stand on their own.  The downside to the Instagram filters is that there isn't a preview for them.  The Instagram filters are applied as the image is uploaded.

Singe, Concorde, Ventura, and Laquna Instagraph Aviary Editor Filters

Instagraph lacks support for uploading videos, you can't delete your photos, but you can save Instagram photos through Metrogram.

As a stand alone image uploader for Instagram, Instagraph is an impressive app. I like the built-in editor to let you adjust things before uploading but it would be nice to have all the Instagram features in-house without the need to rely on another app.

I think the one admirable feature of Instagraph is something you won't see in the app itself. The developers opened up their app for other developers to integrate with. We've seen Instagraph used on several photo editing apps to allow Windows Phone users to upload edited images to Instagram.  Instagraph has cleared a path in many ways to make Instagram more accessible on our Windows Phone. While there is room for improvement, Instagraph has a certain level of appeal making it worth a try.

Oh... one advantage Instagraph has over the other apps in today's roundup is that it is available for both Windows Phone 7.x and 8 devices. There is a trial version that has daily upload limits and the full version of Instagraph is running $1.29.

You can find Instagraph here in the Windows Phone Store.

Instance

Instance (free/$1.49): Instance, formerly Itsdagram, was the second major player on the Windows Phone Instagram front. It is a Windows Phone 8 app and at one point was the only fully featured Instagram client available. That was before Instagraph joined forces with Metrogram or 6Tag and InPic came around.

Personally, I think Instance has one of the cleanest, easy flowing user interfaces of these four Windows Phone apps. The main pages include a Home page for your photos and those you are following's photos, a Popular page, and an Activity Summary page.

Instance Main Pages and Menu

Down below on the main pages you have button controls to launch your "Me" pages, refresh the screen, start the upload process, and search Instagram. The "Me" pages cover your profile information, your photo timeline, photos of you, photos you like, a list of who you are following, a list of who's following you, and your "liked" photos.

Instagram features available through Instance include account creation, uploading images (no videos), add comments, like pictures, follow members, find your Facebook friends, delete your images, save images locally to your Windows Phone, and share images.

Instance Upload and Image View Pages

As with other Instagram apps, Instance allows you to upload images from your Pictures Hub or launch the native camera app to capture a new image to upload.

Daydream, Earp, Graffiti, and Hobbes Instance Filters

Instance has twelve creative filters you can add to give your images a more unique look. The current filters are,

  • Daydream, January, Lofi
  • Earp, Times, Grace
  • Jack, Hobbes, Graffiti, Gorlini
  • Da Vinci, and Van Gough

I say current because Instance can update the filters without the need to update the app. Granted the other apps may be able to do the same but it's still a neat feature.

Instance is a very clean looking, easy to navigate around Instagram client app for your Windows Phone 8 device. There are two versions available in the Windows Phone Store.

You have Instance Free that is... well... free and ad-supported. Then there's the paid version of Instance that is currently running $1.29 and is ad-free.

6tag

6Tag (free/1.29): 6tag hit the Windows Phone Store shelves just a short while ago and is currently the only Instagram client with the ability to view and upload still images and video to your Instagram account.  6tag does have a bit of a minimalistic approach as far as design is concerned which can be a little confusing. The design works but at times you'll have to hunt for some of the features.

6tag Main, Profile and Settings Pages

The singular main page displays your Instagram timeline of your photos and photos from those you follow. From the main page you have three control buttons along the bottom of the screen that pulls up your account activity, launch the upload process, and search Instagram.

Up under the three-dot menu are links to your likes, a refresh command, access to 6tags settings and a link to the About screen. At the top of the main page you have a thumbnail of your profile picture that when tapped will pull up your Instagram profile and a numbered circle that indicates new activity. Tapping the circle will pull your account activity.

6tag's settings allow you to modify your Instagram profile, add several social networks/photo websites (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, FourSquare, and VK) to your sharing options, turning on/off your Live Tile, a few general options, and a Find Friends setting to help you locate Instagram friends through your contacts, Facebook, Instagram, and friends suggested by 6tag.

6tag's Instagram features include the ability to upload both video and still images, account creation, view your comments and post comments, and like photos. To comment on a photo you tap on the conversation bubble beneath a photo which will pull up the comment interface.

You also have the ability to Geotag photos and view other member's tagged photos in map view. Just tap on the Instagram user's name that sits beneath their photo. This will pull up their profile page and in the upper right corner are two buttons. One to follow or un-follow the member, the other is a globe that will display a map with thumbnails of tagged images pinned to where ever the Geotag places them at the time of capture.

6tag has plenty of features but you can't delete an image or save an image to your Windows Phone.  I can see the ability to save an image locally not being a major loss but it would be nice to be able to delete your photos.  As far as uploading an image, 6tag allows you to upload images from your Pictures Hub or launch a native camera app to capture a new image to upload.

UPDATE: 6tag does have the ability to save images and delete your images from Instagram.  Just side swipe or flip the image for the options.  Thanks to our insightful readers for the clarification.

6tag Camera and Upload Pages

When you tap the capture button off the main page 6tag will launch it's own camera app that has an option to choose an existing file to upload instead of capturing a new one.  The camera app for 6tag is really basic with options to choose still or video capture, toggle on/off a Rule of Thirds grid, toggle between front and rear cameras, and flash controls. Beyond that there's not much to see with the camera app but it does capture decent images.  My guess is that it taps into the default settings from the native Windows Phone camera app.  It would be nice to have a few more controls on the camera app but I don't see it being a deal breaker.

Mayfair, Toaster, Hefe, and Kelvin 6tag Filters

As far as still images are concerned, whatever you choose (new or a pic from the Pictures Hub) you have nineteen effects filters to apply to your image and tools to rotate, add borders, blur and add contrast to your images.  The tools are a nice touch and helps you fine tune your images further before uploading.

The filters include,

  • Amaro, Mayfair, Rise
  • Hudson, Valencia, X-Pro II
  • Sierra, Willow, Lo-Fi
  • Earlybird, Sutro, Toaster
  • Brannan, Inkwell, Walden
  • Hefe, Nashville, 1977, Kelvin

Video capture is done by pressing and holding the physical shutter button. A red progress bar is displayed above the viewfinder to indicate how much of the sixty seconds of footage you have remaining. Release the shutter button before the sixty second mark and recording is paused.

In addition to uploading things to Instagram, you can also share the images with your social networks (set up in the settings).

6tag's strength is with it's video capabilities. I would have to say the user interface would be the app's weakness but not to the point of making 6tag a terrible choice of Instagram clients. The more you use 6tag, the easier the interface becomes.  It's that initial learning curve that is the steepest after which everything begins to flow smoothly.  I wouldn't mind seeing more from the camera app such as scene modes, exposure compensation, etc.

Overall, 6tag is a worthy Instagram client for our Windows Phone.  If you are a video sharing addict, for the time being it's the only game in town.  Oh.. 6tag is following suit with Instagraph by offering support to other apps to enable Instagram sharing.  We're seeing 6tag integration with Ciel and Apict.

6tag is a free, ad-supported app for Windows Phone 8 that you can find here in the Windows Phone Store. You can get rid of the ads through an in-app purchase of $1.29.

Wrap Up

So which is the best? It really all boils down to personal preferences. If video is a must, then 6tag is the only horse in the race for now. If you want more editing options, Instagraph may be your choice. It could boil down to the filter choices. Many of the filters are very similar but there's enough variety that it could make a difference to some.

You have two options that have custom camera apps but they really don't give either a nudge. Especially if your using Nokia's Pro Cam or a more feature rich third party option such as Pro Shot.

I can see pros and cons with each and would be hard pressed to choose just one. I keep all four on my Windows Phone, swapping back and forth regularly.

The upside to it all is that even though we don't have an official Instagram we have some really appealing alternatives (that are continually improving) that makes the urgency for an official app not so urgent. The downside to not having an official app is that Instagram can make things challenging, as we've seen before, for these third party apps.

So what as ye? What's your favorite Windows Phone Instagram client? Sound off below in the comments and let us know.

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

77 Comments
  • On 6tag - Flip the photo you want to delete and at the bottom you have "delete post".
    You CAN delete the photos. You're just not paying attention lol
  • What he said! AND you can also save images to your phone the same way, flip the photo, click on the cloud and arrow icon, and done!
  • +1
  • You can also save images to Skydrive back there. It's not local storage, but it gets it to your phone and can easily be transfered to it.
  • Yeah, looks like he missed the obvious tutorial at the start of using the app...lol =P
  • This. More research next article :P
  • what tutorial?  thanks for the information and will update.
  • When you first sign into the app it gives you a brief tutorial of how it works.
  • Wooord! 6tag is awesome!!
  • I have paid for instagraph, and downloaded instance xD, but I'm currently using 6tag... Months ago we didn't have options, now we have to choose between these great apps
  • I couldn't agree more.
  • 6tag of course.
  • 6tag is the best choice for me and the app i recommend for my friends who are new to windows Phone. I like the way Inpic looks and Instance is okay but i do like the fact that with 6tag my account won'tbe marked as spam or anything bad because i am using the instagram service illegally. Since instagram has given 6tag approval, i know my account is safe. Add the fact that rudy really supports his products(the instance developer seems a bit slow at times in my opinion) and does a lot for the community and i prefer the UI of 6tag alot.
  • 6TAG ..........FTW
  • You can also save locally just swipe and press the cloud icon with a downwards arrow and it will appear in your saved pics album.
  • Microsoft 1520:
     
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BTex5TtCUAEQaus.png:large
  • I know this comment has nothing to do with this article, but I like the look of this a lot better than the other supposed design.
  • Nope. Its still Nokia Lumia 1520.
    All the phones released until the deal completes will be branded NOKIA only.
     
    Probably this is the last phone from Nokia though I wish to see 530, 630, 730, 830 also before the deal closes so that they will have NOKIA branding.
  • It says 'nokia'
  • Btw, I am almost positive you can save pics from 6tag to your phone. I accidentally hit saved on someone's pic and it wound up in my saved pics albumn trolol
  • Yes you can. You can even save your friends photos which is pretty neat!
  • Hands down 6tag is my favorite at least till I can try instance v2.0
  • Instance v2.0 isn't better than 6tag, I'ma beta tester for Instance 2.0...the developer for Instance, has too much of a busy schedule to update and fix bugs. 2.0 is 1.0 with a new layout design basically. That's literally it. Stick to 6tag, it's so much better.
  • Thanks for the heads up glad im not missing out on anything.
  • I bought Instance when it first came out, but since 6tag came out; I've been using that app. Until the update for Instance comes, I'll continue to use 6tag. I like them both, but 6tag does more at this point than Instance.
  • 6tag and InPic are my favs, yup.. I have 2 Instagram clients. I can't choose between them. Both 6tag and InPic are a beautiful and feature rich apps.
  • Sounds like me with Metrotube and Mytube.  Both are classy apps and I paid for both.  I just pin them both to start and randomly hop in each.
  • All we need now is a video collage app to add to the mix!
  • Surprising how you guys never mention #2instawithmassivelove....its the best client for WP7..much better then instagraph
  • +100500 ! 
  • Exactly what i want to say.... :)
  • 6tag for me but is it just my imagination or does it rduce the quality of the images when uploaded to instagram?
  • i noticed that too. will the paid version allow high quality upload?? Rudy or anyone ??
  • 6tag all the way.
  • instagram arrival will surely increase the sales :)
  • Was the author a new WP user? Strange that they'd miss features in 6tag covered in tutorial. Also failed to mention Oggl apps.
  • Lol at not knowing how to use 6tag and making the app seem worse...
     
    Also the new updates for 6tag have a lot of new cool changes that will once again make it the top Instagram app for WP8
  • System Update! > Screen
  • I dnt see why people are so interested in instagram!? Sharing pics, that's it? Ok with filters. Lol. But i hope we get the official app just to boost the ecosystem. I must be getting old.
  • I use Instance V2, I'm very happy with it!
  • My favorite App is
    http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/2instawithmassivelove/6f25e648-c923-443d-a678-1daa22f57fbf
  • 6tag's my personal favorite, I removed the ads almost instantly when I downloaded it the day it came out. Been using it since, and I'm very happy with it.
  • George, yes you can delete and download photos to Picture Hub with 6tag. Just flip the 'card' images and you'll see those options... Instructions on 6tag first run even show these stuff.
  • Thanks.  I updated the post to reflect that... as I mention from the get-go 6tag's user interface works but at times you have to hunt for the features.  6tag has a nice UI, just wish there was a way to add a few road signs for those who don't remember the tutorial....
  • Hi ! I'm the developer of 6tag :D
    Good article, but there is a mistake, you can remove and save picture with 6tag ;)
    To complete the article :  I created the app to satisfy windows phone users, and received some feedbacks, some users doesn't like stripes or "swipe" gesture (but the majority like it). So this is why the upcoming 1.2 update add an option to remove stripes and I work on the 1.3 update to create an other home screen with pivot/panorama (optional, users will be able to select it), my priority is to have a better instagram app than official apps :) 
    And a surprise : 1.2 update (available today or tomorrow) add "video fast update" and an exclusive feature, very requested by instagram users, not available on official apps ;)
  • Can't wait for the updates.! I'm one of those that likes the stripe/swipe thing. But what is hard about 6tag is when you click on any posts' hashtag and search results are already on card/full view. Putting option for grid view for those results makes hunting for great photos so much easier. Pls. do add a grid view option...? :D
  • You can use the semantic zoom (pinch) to view the results in a grid, no?
  • Oh man, thanks for that info.! It's only now that I learned about that. I've been searching through a long list scrolling down 'card' view of images... :D
  • You're welcome :)
  • This is why I support Rudy :D
  • I like 6tag, it is my firsat and only Instagram app.  One thing I cannot figure out how to do is caption my photos before uploading.  Any help here, or is this a coming feature?
  • The last page in the process of uploading a photo (where you also have the options to share to FB, Twitter, 4sq, etc) has a small thumbnail of the photo. Next to this thumbnail is empty space where you can click and type the caption.
  • Thanks man, for existing
  • My 10yr old son is a big Instagrammer, he get's it from my wife, and he just switched from a GS3 to a 620.  I told him to get 6tag and he says it's way better than the Android version.  I think as long as Instagram doesn't pull a Google on WP we should be good for instagramming on WP.
  • I can't believe you guys forgot #2InstaWithMassiveLove which is an awesome nearly full-featured app except for the video upload. In my opinion, #2InstaWithMassiveLove deserves more credits from the community as it also supports Wp7.x not like the others supporting Wp8 only.
  • +920
  • +800
    +920
  • #2instawithmassivelove for wp7...
  • Why is 6tag ranked worse and judged? Is it due to the fight between rudy and Daniel?
  • I like Instance better but I'm using 6Tag because the notifications and live tiles never work for me on Instance. 6Tag, the notifications work perfect. When Instance v2 is released I'll probably switch back.
  • 6tag is the only fully featured at the moment cause its the only one that supports video uploading at the moment.  Its also the only app with the authentic filters (through reverse engineering but still). Its far ahead from the competition.  
    Why there's not a poll in the article? We all know the choice of WP community.  
    Also how many apps in wp (or android or ios) are translated in 30 languages? :) 
  • People are so satisfied with these 3rd party apps that nobody is going to demand an official app. Who knows but maybe it'll take longer for an official app to hit. (or they haven't yet made an app because WP8 SDK doesn't support "uploading pre recorded videos)
  • I have a problem which I m not able to solve cause the devloper of the client I use says he cant help contact Instagram. And Instagram only has a Help/FAQ page but no email or a way to conact them.
    Problem: My uploaded pictures with hash tag do not appear in the search for that hash tag.
    Example: When I upload a pic and use #random in the caption. I see the picture uploaded successfully. Even my friends can see and like it. But when I search for the hash tag Random (#random) I see pics from all over the world except mine. I think only me and my friends can see the pic. Can anybody help me out with this?
     
  • Some instagram apps don't manage the security correctly which is why your account is marked as spam.
  • I now use 6tag to upload my pics I though it had the security patch it has been like months now I use no other.
    If it is that my account is marked as spam how do I rectify it?
  • Revoke access to other third party apps. (you can do it from desktop). Sign out from 6tag. Sign in again and wait. Takes a while though for your hashtags to become visible again. 
  • Thank you.  Revoke access to other third party apps from here https://instagram.com/accounts/manage_access
    I found only two but these did not include some more apps I used like Instance and IntaPic.
    Also Signed out from 6tag from my phone. How long do I wait to log into 6tag and test an upload?
  • Oggle, Instapic, instagraph and 6tag claim to manage the security now as far as i know (instance v.2 when it comes out of beta as well). You can upload but i dont know how long it takes for an account to get rid of "suspicious" flag (more than a week for sure).  
  • Kool. Will wait it out for a week. I have no choice.
    But this is so poor that we cannt even contact a service that we use so enthusiastic for support.
    I see them as these Greek gods on Mount Olympus beond reach of us mortals. :P
  • found two apps (instacam and oggl) i guess instacam made my account suspicious..smh.. i hope revoking access works.. thanks for the tip br0..
  • let me know if your tags start going again  in the forum thread you and I chated about this problem. I will update that post if i see any improvement. I have revoked access to all other IG apps and only use 6tag. we shall see..
  • I've used Instance v1, Instance v2 beta, 6tag, InPic, and Hipstamatic Oggl (which should be mentioned as it's the only app with official Instagram posting support).  I prefer InPic, it has a much lighter footprint and doesn't cause my pre-GDR2 920 to get hot.
  • Instance for wp7.x please
  • I'm using the combo of Instagraph (paid) and Metrogram. Instagraph is okay but Metrogram keeps on crashing.
  • I'm using Instagraph on my WP 7.8 device and it doesn't use Metrogram features like the article says. I guess that option is only available for WP 8. 
  • Not sure if anyone else's account is still flagged. I've been logged out of instance v1 for weeks (I know this wouldn't do anything), but also I've been logged out of Instance v2 beta for a week and still nothing. I'm not really sure what to do? Would logging out of 6tag for a while do anything?
  • is there any way to resolve the hashtag issue or the only solution is to create a new account? does full log out at InPic solve the problem or your account will still remain flagged? i've been flagged for a very long time and it sucks.. thanks!