When it comes to sharing images these days, everyone automatically turns to cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. This is fine, I am a huge Dropboxer myself, but other simpler free alternatives also exist. Some don’t impose any storage limits which is nice if you are hitting your limit, and you are blanching at Dropbox’s insane prices.
Lots of these photo sharing sites exist – the best known one being Flickr. Despite being revamped with 1TB of space, Flickr is dying a slow painful death at the hands of its executioner, Yahoo! (got to remember the exclamation point there). So today we will take a look at a couple of no-frills image sharing apps for iOS: Photobucket and Imgur.
Photobucket’s iOS app greets you with a very appealing interface when you open it up. The “Find Stuff” tab consists of different panels, each one containing a category of photos. Tapping on a panel opens up a whole list of photo thumbnails, which you can then tap to see the picture in full.
You can spend literally ages trawling through the photos on Photobucket. If this is what you like to do, then that is a point in Photobucket’s favour.
Of course, the other use for Photobucket is to upload your own photos. To test it out, I took a few random snaps of my office (and me) with my iPad, and then uploaded them to my Photobucket account.
Simply tap the arrow at the top of the screen and choose where the photos are that you want to upload:
Then just tap on the photos you want to upload and they instantly join an uploading queue on the left hand side.
The one problem I found while doing this was that there is no way to abort an upload. You basically have to wait until the photo has uploaded and then delete it individually, which is a bit of an annoying way to go about it. Why can’t you do what you normally do, when you want to delete something from iOS, which is swipe to the right with your finger?
Eventually the photos will upload (how fast will obviously depend on your Internet connection) and then you will see them displayed on the screen:
When you tap on an image it opens full screen, then you can swipe left and right to view the previous and next images. There’s no need to constantly go back to the main screen to choose another image.
You can quickly share an album by emailing the link. The link then points to the album on the Photobucket website. Just choose the share button, the email option, and the standard email window will pop up with the link already pre-populated inside the email. All you need to do is enter the email address of the recipient, and off it goes.
So far, all well and good, but does Imgur have what it takes to make browsing, uploading and sharing images on the go even easier?
One of the concerns I had about Imgur was that it is the photo sharing service of choice for girls and boys on Reddit to post their …ahem… naked pictures (so I heard, anyway – I wouldn’t know myself). I was hesitant to endorse a NSFW photo service here on MakeUseOf. However, after playing around with the iOS app, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was not one inappropriate photo in sight (and trust me, on your behalf, I checked extensively).
Whether this was a coincidence that there weren’t any popping up at the time I was looking around, or whether they are somehow filtered out by the app, I don’t know. It’s still worth noting that you might see something a bit risqué now and then (but this is the Internet, after all, so that goes for most similar services).
At the top of the screen, you can filter the photos according to “most viral“, “user submitted” or “highest scoring”, and the screen rearranges itself accordingly.
Just like Photobucket, the number of photos available to view is endless, and you can literally spend your entire life scrolling and scrolling through peoples pictures, GIFs, memes and the rest.
To test the uploading and sharing capabilities, I uploaded some photos again. Simply tap the upwards-pointing arrow to begin:
Imgur will then ask for permission to access your camera roll. Grant it access, and you will then see the contents on the screen (I don’t take a lot of photos with the iPad so there aren’t so many there).
Tap the photos you want to upload, they will be dimmed, and small red arrows will appear. Then select the blue Done button in the top right.
As each photo uploads, you get your usual progress bar, one for each photo, and one for the upload progress overall.
…and voila! Photos uploaded and ready for viewing. As with Photobucket, you can swipe left and right to go to the next and previous ones.
Two further features to point out. First, by tapping on the top left menu, you can get a range of options for the image, including getting the direct link on the Imgur website, getting the HTML link, and being able to delete the image.
And of course, with each image, you can share it a variety of ways, including email, social media, and even via the Messages app.
So which one is best? Well as usual, it all boils down to what your priorities are. When it comes to browsing high quality images, I would say definitely go with Photobucket, because Imgur seems to be a steaming pile of memes and cats. But if photo uploading is your priority, then I quite liked Imgur, for all the options they give you for each photo. If you want to do both, then why not use both apps? Photobucket for the image browsing and Imgur for hosting your own photos. I mean, somebody has to raise the image standards at Imgur, it may as well be you….
Let us know in the comments what you think. Are photo hosting websites like these an obsolete blast from the past or is there still space for them in the age of Facebook, cheap web hosting and Dropbox?