Instagram Updates for iPhone 5, Reveals Impending Death of Live Filters

Instagram is in the process of pushing out version 3.1.0 of its photo sharing app. For iOS, the new version updates the app to be compatible with iOS 6 and the taller screen of the iPhone 5, doing away with the annoying gap that owners of the new phone have been seeing. While it’s certainly a welcome improvement for Instagram devotees, seeing an app be updated for the new display isn’t exactly a rare sight these days.

What’s interesting is what the new update eliminates: live filters are gone.

Apparently many Instagram users noticed this feature missing after downloading the new version, and cared enough about it to contact the company to ask for an explanation. Here’s the company’s response, which was published in the form of a Known Issues entry in its Help Center:

Where did live filters go?

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.

Live filters, if you remember, offer the ability to see exactly what your resulting photo will look like by overlaying the desired filter over the live view of the scene.

When Instagram released version 2.0 of its app a year ago, they completely overhauled the filters and changed many of their appearances. When a vocal portion of its users began to grumble over the “ruined” filters, the company made some small adjustments and then responded that the changes were necessary in order to support live filters.

Seeing that live filters will soon be shown the door, the same users are now wondering whether the old filters will be making a comeback. Blogger John Gruber of Daring Fireball writes,

Sounds like a pile of horses**t from Instagram, considering that the whole reason they gave for replacing their original not-live but aesthetically superior filters with the current crop was that live filters were an important feature. If they bring back the old filters, I’ll say hip-hip-hooray. If they stick with the current meh filters and remove live previewing, I say boo-hiss.

Remember the Gotham filter?

I hope I’m wrong, but this reeks to me of pandering to the lowest common denominator as Instagram expands to more Android phones and other non-iOS platforms.

For those of you who just can’t accept the death of live filters, here’s a temporary workaround found in the comments section over at TNW:

Go to shoot a picture, pull up a photo from your library, apply a filter, hit the red X to cancel, when you return to the camera screen, the filters will still be visible below the frame.

Image credits: Screenshots by Matthew Panzarino

  • WhipArtist

    Now if only they’d get rid of the filters completely. Sticking a cheesy filter on top of a bad photo does not make it good– it’s just a crappy photo with a crappy filter on it.

  • 9inchnail

    “Now if only they’d get rid of the filters completely”

    It’s more of a cover-up. Like empying a bottle of perfume over a steaming turd. It’s still a pile of poo but it’s more tolerable for a short period of time.

  • AntonyShepherd

    I love how the Appleholic up there is blaming this on Instagram wanting to support other phones.

  • WhipArtist

    Nah, I’m not buying it. If you pour a bottle of cheap perfume over a turd, you have something that smells worse than the turd itself.

  • Guest


  • Coyote Red

    I’m kind of torn with the Instagram thing. I can understand the desire to make a photo look like it came from an old camera. I’ve got old pictures that actually did come from an old camera: Brownies, Instamatics, etc. I also have a bunch Velvia slides. Family snaps using this old technology doesn’t produce works of art and I don’t think it was ever intended as such. It was simply a way of capturing memories with the best, affordable technology of the time and nothing more.

    The problem I see is this throw-back to another era is that most folks who do this weren’t even around to remember it. At 50 years old I’ve seen quite a few iterations of what is “cool.”

    I’m not going to go into the reasoning for a certain personality-type to rebel against social-norms–they’ve always been there and always will be. The only change is how they identify themselves.

    The whole Instagram things is simply part of this generation’s “hippy.” As “hipster” becomes more mainstream the counter-culture types will move on to something different. In a decade or two, the hipster movement will be as quaint as the hippy movement was in the 60’s. It’s a never ending cycle.

    I recently installed Instagram on my android phone. It doesn’t have live filters. Do I care? Nope. Instagram is a fun toy and nothing more. Taking photos with my phone is little different that when I used to grab an instamatic. I’m simply taking a snapshot, not making art. I think the hippies are confused on this point.

    (Before someone jumps on me about [insert elite photographer name here] being able to make art with an instamatic, I understand that, but I doubt an instamatic would be their first choice for making any image.)

  • brob

    I’m going to file this under “I don’t care”

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Instagram is a photo sharing social network community above all else.

    There is no law saying that you have to add a filter to your photo when posting to instagram.

    Actually, the whole retro filter fad is somewhat dying out on instagram and I am seeing less and less “vintage” photos in my stream. That could be also because I tend to follow people who have some photo skill as opposed to randoms.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    Wow, someone complaining about instagram filters. How original. Thanks for sharing.

  • therestoftheinternet

    Um, here’s the thing – people aren’t looking to take “good” photos with their phone. People are just having fun and taking pictures with their phone of their life to share with others…who probably don’t critique the photo or complain that it has a filter applied.

    You’re probably confused about the world changing around you. Maybe a little upset. Don’t be. The rest of us will never be able to take photos as good as you. But we don’t care, we’re just having fun.

  • PhotoShark

    all of the comments on this thread need to die, along with live filters. haha

  • Sonny Disco

    Cunts, all of you.

  • Néstor René Cussí

    Instagram is not working anymore on iphone 2g. I’m not an ‘appleholic’ and I can definitely live without its filters. But I really disagree on how almost every electronic related brand keeps pushing their users on buying new stuff and discarding ‘old’ equipment. My phone is 5 years old, works perfectly for calling anced also many other stuff like sharing photos with my friends. I take my best photos with an old Pentax even better than with my DSLR just because I’m used to it as I can be.