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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