Why Instagram Looks Better on iPhones

Have you ever wondered why most social media influencers are iPhone users? Besides the fact that they can afford one or for aesthetic reasons, Instagram really has a biased algorithm between iOS and Android users.

When Instagram was first launched on October 6, 2010, it was exclusive for iOS users. Then two years later, it was launched for Android and was downloaded more than one million times in less than a day.

The problem was that not all the features on iOS were available on Android. Even as updates were rolling out, Android users couldn’t help but feel like Instagram on Android was simply inferior to iOS. But that didn’t stop anyone from using it, of course. Well, it’s Instagram.

Fast-forward to August 2016, Instagram stories were born. Similar to Snapchat’s My Story, Instagram Stories allowed users to take photos or videos and add filters after the fact. Like Snapchat, they expired after 24 hours of posting too. Most people were skeptical about it, but it worked, and until today, everyone still uses it.

However, the dilemma was within the iOS vs. Android crowd. Memes of the inferior image quality for stories from Android users plagued social media. So this just basically begs the question, why?

Well, it’s simple, there are just so many Android devices out there, and for Instagram to optimize their app for all those devices is an API nightmare. Meanwhile, on iOS, there’s only one device to optimize for. This is an obvious nod to Apple’s “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to their operating systems, and that’s basically it.

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Since there are so many different phone manufacturers for Android devices, Instagram doesn’t have the luxury to optimize their app for every one of those phones. Optimizing for Android is one thing, while it’s another to optimize for the skins manufacturers place on top of Android. Meaning, that’s hundreds upon hundreds of camera apps for various Android phones. And again, for iOS, it’s just one camera app.

So what does Instagram do to remedy that? When you take a photo or video on the Instagram app, it takes a screenshot or screen recording of what’s on your phone’s display. It’s not using your phone’s native camera software. That’s why Instagram Stories on Android phones aren’t as nice and crisp as they are on iPhones.

Although, that hasn’t stopped phone manufacturers from trying to fix this issue. Samsung even placed an Instagram mode on the default camera app of the Galaxy S10.

Other users have also decided to take photos from their stock camera app and simply upload it from their gallery to the app itself. But there are obvious downsides, such as not having features from the app like Boomerang and AR filters.

Now I really find this topic interesting because, in the whole Android vs. iPhone debate, I don’t often see things like app optimization considered.

And that’s it for now. For those who often use Instagram, does this make you want to switch to iOS? Let us know in the comments.

This piece was originally written by Miguel Ty. Additional inputs and editing by Justine Basco.

6 Responses

  1. A Bitter Android User That Wants a Better Experience says:

    It’s kinda rubbish to hear something that Instagram doesn’t have the ‘luxury’ to optimize some android devices that are mostly used by the market. Imagine Instagram alone earned a net worth of $100 billion in 2018. Also, knowing that Facebook officially owns Instagram as well? Give it some thought why don’t you :)

  2. J says:

    Hi! My subjective experience is it’s not just Stories. The Instagram Android app regularly screws with the quality of my posts. Whether it’s a previously-taken pic edited on PC, or taken straight from a RX100, the Instagram Android app has a way of eroding their quality.

    I’ve given up on Instagram but I still wonder if an older iphone (i.e. 5C/5S) would work better for Insta creation and editing than even the best Android phones.

  3. Lisa says:

    I’m 33 years old and have been an android user since the dawn of smart phones. I am considering making the big switch to iOS due to this exact reason! I’m a pretty heavy Instagram user and tired of my shared photos and ESPECIALLY videos having such poor quality. Never thought I would make the jump but I think it’s time.

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