If you have multiple iOS devices, you’ve probably noticed that it’s quite tricky to share photos from device to device. There’s no option to share by Bluetooth, and there are no file management apps for iOS. Sure you can email a photo from device to device, but it can be somewhat wasteful to send something on a round trip halfway around the world just to get a file to the device a few mere inches away from the device you’re holding. Instashare is here to change that by bringing drag and drop file transfers between your iOS and Macs.
Instashare works by finding other Apple devices either on a local WiFi network or via Bluetooth. This has a clear speed advantage over other methods like emailing attachments or using cloud storage apps like Dropbox. Devices have to be awake and running the Instashare app though, so it’s not possible to perform unattended file transfers.
Instashare will work with any type of file. However, if you’re performing iOS to iOS transfer, only images and videos are possible. However, if you’ve transferred say MP3s or PDFs to your iOS device from your Mac computer, they’ll then be visible in the app for further sharing – e.g. Sharing to another Mac computer.
On iOS, you simple tick the images and videos to be transferred, then a long press reveals the device selector. Dragging the stack of files to the desired device and letting go will initiate the transfer. As mentioned above, the devices have to be awake and running the Instashare client. If not they will not appear on the list of devices.
Instashare works surprisingly well. There were only two instances where I hit bugs in the software. The first was that taking screenshots can interfere with drag and drop operations – this would not affect most users. Also, after selecting too many files, the stack would be lost and no transfer would take place. Instead, when trying to copy a large number of files, I had break my selection into smaller subsets. It’s inconvenient, but again, I doubt many people would be wanting to transfer so many files much of the time.
One thing that you have to be careful to remember with Instashare is that the received files remain contained in the app’s file storage area. If you have received a lot of images you want to see in your Camera Roll, you’ll have to manually ‘share’ each of them from Instashare to the gallery.
Instashare is free on iOS, but an in-app ad-free upgrade costs just $0.99. The OS X version is still in beta and available from Instashare’s website.