People are understandably freaking out about Instagram’s new ToS. Facebook wants to monetize the service, and to do that it has to run ads. But, according to its own terms, it might cull from Instagram’s mighty userbase to do so. Maybe.

CEO Kevin Systrom on Tuesday said the company has no intentions to sell user photos, and that it does not have plans to use profile photos in advertising, either. Still, backlash has obviously been so severe that Instagram felt the need to clear things up. Whether or not that’ll keep a large base of users from jumping ship remains to be seen.

There are already plenty of people saying goodbye. Just in case you want to run away too, here are a few alternatives. Many of these don’t have the social aspects of an Instagram, which is definitely the service’s biggest strength; the community is what keeps the platform on an upward tilt—filters are just gristle. Still, here are five excellent iOS editing/filter/sharing-laden apps.

Note: These apps (for now) can only be found on iOS.


This one is super simple, and pretty powerful as far as mobile editing software goes. It’s not built around a social network—you can share to services such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—but it’s great for adding more oomph to photos. In addition to ten different preset scene filters, VSCO gives users the flexibility to adjust things such as fade, grain, contrast, saturation, temperature and more. Each specific edit feature has different levels of impact. So if you want a little bit of fade, only choose levels one or two; if you want a lot of fill, crank it all the way up to five. (iTunes, $0.99)


Afterglow is a lot like VSCO CAM in that it puts more emphasis on fine-tuning photos, and not necessarily just slapping an overblown filter onto a photo. You can do that in the app if you want—there are actually quite a few Original and Guest filters that are (mostly) subtle and make scenes look more dramatic —but there’s more to it.

Beyond editing options similar to VSCO, there are also some faux film textures (light leaks, scratches) that gives photos more flare and vintage personality. Again, this can’t compete with a humungous social community, but you can share on various social networks, and even send out postcards of photos edited in Afterglow. (iTunes, $0.99)

Camera Awesome

This is another non-social camera app, though it offers enough filters, effects and speed to warrant a spot on your device. Camera Awesome allows users to easily share to various social networks, including Tumblr, Photobucket and Flickr, through an elegantly designed UI. It’s about power and finesse, and not just about making photos look warmer or cooler. You can Preset effects, record video, or use a feature called “1-Tap Awesomize.”  Camera Awesome is free, so why not give it a shot? (iTunes, Free)


Fittingly on sale (for now), Camera+ is an app created by professional photographer Lisa Bettany, but it isn’t a social network. It’s another app with filters to give photos a bit more pop. But it’s the actual shooting of pictures where Camera+ really shines. Users get much more control over how a photo is exposed, and a number of convenient modes that make your iPhone more point-and-shoot and less just-a-smartphone-camera. Probably the coolest part is the ability to lock the exposure when shooting, while being able to focus at a different point.It’s a robust app that gives users plenty of flexibility and control and, of course, you can share pictures to a number of social networks. (iTunes, $0.99)


Hey Flickr, welcome back. While the service hasn’t necessarily gone anywhere, it made headlines recently when Yahoo finally updated its iPhone app after a two year wait. Sheesh. “It’s the best mobile photo app out there,” one user said. “The new Flickr app can be summed up with one word: beautiful.” These are but a few of the praises being flung toward the new app. Flickr has a social network foundation in place, and now its mobile app—what timing with this whole Instagram debacle—has filters to boot. Best of all, it’s far, far away from the long arm of Facebook. And it’s free. (iTunes)

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