Last week Instagram released a major update to the photo-sharing app that certainly added a number of features. However, we are left to wonder if the folks at Instagram (owned by Facebook) weren’t a little preoccupied with Twitter, as a major piece of functionality from previous versions was removed. Instagram users can no longer import images from anyplace other than their Camera Roll.
Prior to this update, Instagram users could choose an image from a different album, or, perhaps more importantly, from their photostream. Your photostream is the iCloud service that syncs your most recent 1000 images among all your iOS and Mac devices. When I take a picture on my camera, within moments I can access it on my iPad or my MacBook Pro. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten used to using your photostream over the last few months and probably do not waste much space on an individual device for long-term image storage. I regularly sync my iPhone to ensure all my images have been saved, then purge my Camera Roll entirely.
Therefore, this update really means that Instagram only wants you to use pictures you’ve just taken. That’s a shame because I’ve enjoyed going back to old trips and vacations and looking for some of my more artistic shots that I can have fun applying filters and tilt-shift to.
From a business perspective, it further limits small business owners who might have been trying to incorporate an Instagram campaign into their online marketing strategy. Not every business and industry is conducive to taking snap shots and using those to promote the business.
Fortunately, there are some workarounds. Some third party apps will allow you to open an image in Instagram. This might be convenient if the first app gives you additional editing and formatting options anyways. However, there’s a known issue with Instagram where if you open it though a third party app, the shutter remains closed and you cannot see your image. You can click next and publish as normal, but if you want to apply any filters you will be doing so blind. Or, alternatively, you can start by opening the Photos app, find the image you want, tap it and choose to save it to your Camera Roll, thus making it accessible by Instagram natively.
Hopefully there are enough users complaining about this sudden lack of functionality that Instagram will address it with their next update. We will let you know if they do. In the meantime, let us know if you have any other concerns about the latest update from Instagram in the comments below.