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The Rundown: iPad Photo Upload Apps

by on March 8th, 2011

As a photo-enthusiast and a travel-junkie, I often end up finding myself on the road with only a camera and an iPad (with the camera connector kit, of course). While I completely recognize that there’s still some ways to go for iPad photo editing on the go, I often run into times when I want to offload the pictures onto the iPad, and upload them to either Flickr, Picasa (or Facebook if that’s your cup of tea) and just keep on trucking.

You’d think this would be a simple enough task, no?

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case (especially with my most recent trip). However, let me preface that statement with some caveats.

1. I’m using iOS 4.3 GM, which should be arriving soon, so the discussion will become very relevant very soon.

2. What I’m looking for are apps that allow me to do bulk uploads without the hassle of selecting a photo, waiting for the app to process the photo, then select another photo after that. It’s simply inefficient.

3. I left Facebook a while ago, so I really can’t comment on the Facebook or similar apps’ effectiveness for photo uploads.

4. Flickr is my photo-sharing site of choice, but many of these apps deal with Picasa too.

With this in mind, let’s get started. I’ll be talking about the native Flickr app, as well as some paid solutions such as Photo Share, CameraSync and finally the Picasa/Facebook uploader Web Albums, as well as DropBox. Outside of the Flickr app, all of the apps are iPad native or compatible with both the iPad or the iPhone. Photo Share, CameraSync and Web Albums are all paid apps, all under $5 each.

I started off with the native Flickr iPhone app [Free], which I used extensively in the past to upload photos from the road. However, with iOS 4.3, it doesn’t seem to recognize that my photo albums exist. It simply doesn’t load anything when I ask for it to show me my photo library. This is definitely a compatibility issue between the iPhone and the iPad which I hope Apple will address soon. Still, it would be nice if the folks at Flickr would simply create a native iPad app too. On the flip side, it still works on the iPhone, and it allows you to select multiple photos to upload. So, if you can move your photos from your tablet to the phone, then all is well with the world.

Up next? Photo Share [$0.99]. This app is actually pretty neat. The UI is really well polished, and at first glance it feels like it just works. There’s a WiFi sharing option that allows you to share between iOS devices with the app, and it does Facebook, Flickr, Picassa and Twitter. A number of down-sides though. Firstly, it only allows you to transfer 10 photos at a time, which is a hassle. Secondly, it still has the issue that each photo needs to be ‘Optimized’ in order for it to become transferable. Another pain. Promising, yes, but let’s keep moving along and see if the next contender can do better.

CameraSync [$1.99] started off promising. The app found my photos quickly and started automatically pushing them to Flickr. However, since the app was intended to be used as a backup mechanism rather than an uploader, I actually wasn’t able to select the actual photos I wanted on Flickr. Close, but no cigar.

Web Albums [$1.99] looked and felt like a solidly built app. It was able to grab my Picasa albums pretty quickly and creating new albums was a cinch. However, it still had the same issue wherein the app needed to process each photo individually before I could select the next one. Too bad, it looked good too.

Lastly, I turned to DropBox [Free]. Yes, I know DropBox isn’t a photosharing service, and I didn’t care. I was getting pretty annoyed with the slim pickings I had to deal with so far (and I was desperate to upload something from my trip). DropBox did a fair job in finding my photos, but as with the other apps, it needed to process each photo individually rather than in bulk before uploading. Furthermore, if I wanted to bulk share the photos, I would have had to select each one individually through the DropBox interface and send them a unique link each time via email. No…DropBox may be a great cloud storage solution, but it’s definitely not meant for photo sharing.

So that’s the rundown. A whole lot of disappointment and frustration this time around. None of the apps really fulfilled what I was looking for. Flickr would be the ideal choice if it recognized my library, and Photo Share comes close with some major flaws, which rounds out my top choices.

Perhaps I’m looking at the wrong apps in this case, and I’d love to hear any recommendations or suggestions you may have. Drop them in the comments below.

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Posted under: App Store