Flow, The Best Third-Party App For Instagram, Comes To The iPhone

Flow, a third-party Instagram app that landed on the iPad nearly two years ago, has now made its way to the iPhone.

If you’re someone who enjoys unofficial apps — such as Tweetbot for Twitter — or want to spruce up the way you use Instagram on mobile, then you might be interested in this app. Important caveat though: third-party Instagram clients can’t be used to post photos (at this point, at least) so Flow is strictly about looking and liking.

But rather than being a flaw, that premise underpins the app. While the option to post photos would be great, Flow is able to focus exclusively on giving you an easier and more enjoyable way to flick through pics. Oh, and there are no ads — which Instagram just made global — either.

The app is an iPhone-optimized version of the iPad incarnation, so if you have that already then you’ll be familiar. But those who don’t will find a very different experience to the native Instagram app that they are accustomed to.

So much of the app feels better than Instagram, the layout, interface, design and more. For one thing, Flow uses preview thumbnails to let you easily swipe through a vast array of photos. (The home screen will slowly cycle through photos by itself, a feature I found — and liked — by accident when I left my phone on a table next to me.)

All of your standard Instagram features are here — you can look up all the photos you’ve liked, click through to profiles, search, find trending images, etc —  but there’s also a bookmarking option. Given that most people dish out likes for a lot of photos, bookmarks can help keep track of specific images — perhaps ideas for food, new clothes you want to buy or more.

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The original Flow was particularly appealing because it was optimized Instagram for the iPad — something that the Facebook-owned company still hasn’t done — but it’s a little trickier on the iPhone, where Instagram is already resident and there is limited screen space.

Personally, I’m not too addicted to Instagram — but even I was able to appreciate the ease in which you can discover and find content inside Flow. I’ll be sticking to the native Instagram app for most of my time, but if you’re a serious ‘grammer, then you should give it a look.

Mark McDermott, co-founder of Codegent — the app development studio behind Flow — said there aren’t currently plans to release flow for Android, even though it has been “heavily requested.”

As for Instagram, McDermott is hopeful that the feedback will be positive.

“We’ve not spoken much to Instagram since our initial [iPad] launch when they white listed us on the API. They were complimentary of our efforts and we will show them this new version to see what they think,” he told TechCrunch.

You can download Flow for iOS here.