Instagram alternatives, steps to consider before deleting your account

Instagram, the photo-sharing website owned by Facebook, is backing away from a plan that would give advertisers more access to photos on the site after the new policy sparked a protest on social media.
December 19, 2012

The dustup over Instagram’s terms of service changes earlier this week has many users looking for alternatives to the popular photo-sharing site. Instagram chief executive and co-founder Kevin Systrom reassured users that they a) still own their photos, b) won’t see them in advertisements, and c) have the same amount of privacy they did before the changes. Still the new terms of service have plenty of people spooked and looking to jump ship before the new use agreement goes into effect on Jan. 16, 2013.

If you’re toying with the idea, here are a few things to think about.

Before you jump ship, you should first backup your photos from Instagram, try Instaport or Instarchive, which both link to users’ Instagram accounts and send them a compact file of their photos. (It’s generally not a bad idea to have a back up, whether you plan to leave the service or not.) Both sites have seen heavy traffic since Instagram made the changes, so remember, too, that patience is a virtue.

Once you have your old photos, it’s time to go shopping for a new service. There are plenty of services with aspects of what Instagram has to offer around. Yahoo’s Flickr, for example, gives users the option to share photos on its closed network as well as on other networks and has also added filters to give pictures that Instagram-like flare. Similarly, Google’s Snapseed gives users a broad toybox of editing tools, including filters, to use before they post photos to Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter also recently added editing filters to its mobile applications, so users can post their altered snaps straight to the social network. Twitter doesn’t make it easy to share photos from its site over other social networks, though users can always do that from their photo libraries.

All of those apps are available for Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and Android.

There are also many more independent photo and sharing apps available, such as Hipstamatic, Pixlr-o-matic and Camera+, which all have their own fan bases. Hipstamatic, an iOS app with a user interface designed to look like an old-fashioned camera, lets users swap out “film” and “lenses” to achieve the effects they want. Camera+ is another app with a broad range of photo editing tools that go beyond filters, and is currently one of the most popular third-party camera apps available for Apple devices. Android lovers who want to leave the Instagram fold should also consider Pixlr-o-matic, which offers a broad range of effects you can add in a process that mimics darkroom development.

If one of those services strikes your fancy, then you may want to consider leaving Instagram. Before you do, remember that if you decide to delete your Instagram account, there’s no way to reactivate it. Those photos and connections are gone, and will have to be rebuilt if you ever decide to go back to Instagram.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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