Intstagram pulled a Skitch with yesterday’s update in that the company has removed live filters from the iPhone 5. As Instagram fans could tell you, the live previewing feature is pretty popular because it lets you quickly apply Instagram’s trademark photo filters right before hitting the shutter button, so you can see what the photo being taken would look like with the desired effect.

Though Instagram confirmed that live filters will be phased out from both the iOS and Android apps, developers left a stealthy workaround in place to re-enable live previewing on the iPhone 5

Instagram version 3.1 has introduced a big change concerning how the iPhone 5 handles taking snaps. Previously, you were able to apply live filters right before taking a snap using the iPhone’s camera, letting you see what the photo would look like with the desired effect.

Like so…

Instagram confirmed in a support documents that live filters won’t be coming back:

As of the current release (v3.1), Instagram does not support live filters on the iPhone 5. Going forward, live filters will be phased out as we work to improve the Instagram experience for all users.

iPhone Savior has a nice workaround (via Cult of Mac), even if it’s cumbersome:

  1. open the app and select an image form your Photo Library
  2. tap the Choose button
  3. now tap the Red X to undo your selection (see the screenshot above)
  4. tap the Cancel button on the top right to exit your library
  5. you will now see all live filters below

The only disadvantage is that you’ll need to repeat the above steps each time you want to access your live filters.

Note that a future update could just as easily disable this workaround.

Instagram, now a Facebook property, is a free download from the App Store.

While we’re at it, why not follow me @dujkan on Instagram.

And don’t forget to tag your Apple-related photos with the #iDownloadBlog hastag. For those of you who are really into iPhone photography, check out our ongoing iPhoneography series.

Have more Instagram tips to share?

Hit us in comments.

  • Thanks for the tip ! I like how I can use the focus “blur” effect live also

  • Astro

    I’m missing one important information: why did they pull them off? Only for improving the customer experience?!? Don’t recognize any correlation…

  • Greg Hao

    Quite a strange decision indeed. How does the lack of live preview “improve” the experience? To my mind, it detracts from the experience.

  • Metroview

    I’m reading from other sources that the reason it’s being pulled is because people are having problems with the app crashing on Android phones when using the live filter.

    Cultofmac: “Speculation suggests that live filters were removed because they were causing Instagram’s Android app to become slow and crash on certain devices. And in an effort to provide a unified user experience across all platforms, the feature will be pulled from both the Android and iOS apps.”

    iPhoneSavior: “Speculation from some users is pointing to the fact that live filters has caused slowness and crashing for Android users who will be getting the (v3.1) release soon according to Instagram. The iOS 6 update is an attempt by the insta-nerds to create a unified user experience across platforms.”

    If this is true, we can thank Android for this! -__-

    • pawfyd

      This feature sucked anyway. Removing it will make user experience better. First take a photo, then think about filters, not vice versa. I’m glad they finally understood this. Android has nothing to do with the change, it worked perfectly fine on my Android phones. It just sucked overall. 😛

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Instagram got the facebook effect… make a shitty experience with every ui change

  • It’s a stupid feature anyway. Why would you filter a photo first? The point is to take photos so you don’t miss it and then go back and edit as you see fit. Otherwise it would take forever to simply take a picture.

    • pawfyd

      Finally someone who gets this.

    • inc188


    • Are you crazy? Who is it hurting to have this feature? People who want to do it should still be aple to do it! This is not improving the experience… Very stupid move… there is no good explanation of removing a feature..

      • The reason being it is causing performance problems on older iPhones and as one commenter said on some Androids. It’s addition by subtraction. No one will miss it. You can bog an app down by having too many unecesary features.

      • Oh I didn’t realize it was causing slowdowns… Sorry..

  • I didn’t even know about this feature until I saw this, either way it seems to be lame. The feature itself and the disabling of it.

  • This was expected , what facebook is good at destroying great things. My only worry when instagram was not that they are going to be owned by some1 else but it was facebook.Time to get rid of instagram a great app ruined.

  • inc188

    never knew you could that… i guess i wont be missing what i didnt know .. hahhahh

  • fuck it ! i want the live previweing back ! else i won”t use instagram anymore 🙂