Revamped Polaroid Camera App Polamatic Makes You Nostalgic For Your Awful Instant Photos

Hoping to capitalize on our collective nostalgia for the Polaroid brand, San Francisco-based indie app developer Dana Shakiba of Appadana, a self-confessed “Polaroid enthusiast,” set out to launch a mobile photo app, Polamatic, that would reintroduce the idea of the classic white-bordered instant photo to a younger generation of smartphone users. Today, the company has rolled out the first update to its iOS app since 2012, which has now been completely rebuilt from scratch, adding new borders, filters, and text features.

I know what you’re thinking: we already have Instagram, right? Sure. But that hasn’t stopped a bunch of other startups from launching photo-filtering apps of their own – some even building businesses around their creations like Aviary has done with its photo-filtering developer SDK. Polamatic at least has this element of fun to it – you’re kind of screwing up your pictures on purpose, and somehow this feels like an artistic endeavor.

Shakiba says that getting Polaroid’s blessing to create this app was a difficult process back in the day. “I literally was rejected by the marketing and legal teams of Polaroid numerous times before being able to secure a meeting with the President of Polaroid, Scott Hardy. He loved our ideas and the app itself,” Shakiba tells us.

Today, the company sells the app for $0.99, and as an authorized Polaroid licensee, has a revenue share agreement in place with the company on the sales of its products, which are developed in close partnership with Polaroid.

The app was first released on iOS back in May 2012, where it hadn’t been updated since December that year. Now, that changes.


With Polamatic 4.0, the largest amount of work went into creating the Polaroid filter presents. The app cleverly tries to mirror the experience of using a real Polaroid camera itself, which as you may recall (or so your parents have told you, kids!), was kind of unpredictable. You never quite knew how the image would develop. In the app, which comes with 36 filter presets that attempt to capture the soft glow of the Polaroid film, there are those that include random emulsion streaks and textures that simulate the impact of dirty rollers in an actual camera.

In addition, the company gathered up a huge collection of Polaroid pictures and scanned in those with the most unusual borders to offer Polamatic users something beyond just the generic white frame found in competing apps. These give the Polaroid photos a sense of “realness” to them, with their textured, colored, smudged, wrinkled and bent frames.

The app also lets you add multiple layers of text to your images using a number of editing tools and fonts. The final product can be posted to social networks – including Instagram – or saved to your Camera Roll in high-resolution (2282×2771 px).

Polamatic arrived on Android this past summer with a release that was more like iOS’s version 3.0, Shakiba notes. He says the revamped 4.0 update will arrive on Android next month.

In the meantime, iOS users can grab the new Polamatic app here on iTunes. Sadly, the new app is still missing a “shake to develop” option.