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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

  • Over Christmas I was in a rush to share some photos via my iPad. From my PC I selected the files I wanted and dropped them into my DropBox folder and viola! Not sharing online, but sharing between iPad and PC is great.

  • Dropbox is awesome for this example alone. Works great with iOS devices.

  • Try the latest version of Web Albums, it lets you pick as many photos from your library as I want and hit Upload. I use it all the time. Also, you can edit Picasa captions and comments now. My only complaint is its a separate app for iPad and iPhone rather than a Universal one.

  • Anonymous

    I just got a newsletter this morning and it was the topic of uploading pictures when you are travelling. I haven’t tried it but it sounded interesting.
    How it would work with the ipad I am not sure either as it is a drag and drop your photos to this website. I read that you can drag a lot of photos at one time and create a gallery
    Check it out. You never know. Plus it is free service right now.

  • Anonymous

    I just got a newsletter this morning and it was the topic of uploading pictures when you are travelling. I haven’t tried it but it sounded interesting.
    How it would work with the ipad I am not sure either as it is a drag and drop your photos to this website. I read that you can drag a lot of photos at one time and create a gallery
    Check it out. You never know. Plus it is free service right now.

  • Mstevens

    Another option for you might be the Eye-Fi app for the iPhone, you have to be an Eye-Fi user, but if you are then you can use the photo sharing service that was likely already setup for your Eye-Fi Card.

    First off, let me say I have no affiliation or interest in Eye-Fi, just providing feedback on the product and service.

    What is Eye-Fi:
    Eye-Fi is a Hardware product and a software service, basically the hardware side is a suped-up SD-Card with WIFI capabilities built-in. Since it has the WIFI capabilities and software built on board, the software will push your photo’s to your computer(s) over your lan, and thier service (server’s), and from there distribute the photo’s to an online photo sharing service of your choice.

    What I like about the product:
    -Cable free movement of your content from your device to your computer or photo sharing service. (Pretty cool, and can be very handy)
    -If I’m taking pictures in the same space as the LAN, then photo’s move instantly to my desktop and photo sharing service (Picasa in my case)
    -I got the product last year pretty much for free, because Google had a promotion for a free Eye-Fi card with one year of their cloud storage, which I was going purchase regardless $50.00 a year for 250 gig’s across all Google cloud services.
    -I like the Album naming convention options they provide when uploading to my service, I customized the variables so it matches exactly.
    -I like that the photo’s are uploaded to the service using whatever resolution I prefer, I always use “original” size.

    What I don’t like (or haven’t figures out yet):
    -I have a Canon Rebel, I take allot of photo’s and always use full resolution, often I don’t keep over 1/2 the pictures I take. When I get home, and turn on the camera the photo’s move over to the desktop and web service whether I want to keep them or not. If I’ve taken over a 100 pictures that’s alot of data to move, and it takes time, I usually end up pulling the card and using it in a reader, because it’s more efficient.
    -They have a web interface to view photos and to provide for basic account admin, but if you want to modify advanced account setting, you have to download and install their software on your computer, again not very efficient.
    -I recently implemented two-factor authentication with Google, and the only way I could figure out how to change the password for my Picasa account with the Eye-Fi service was to install the desktop software on my new notebook, delete the service Picassa Web Album service and add it again, not very efficient.
    Overall the company and product is solid, I just don’t like jumping through config hoops.

    Why is this relevant to iPhone and Ipad users?
    They just released an app for iPhone/ Ipad users, and it actually works quite well. It allows you to select photo’s from your roll, and then upload. The photo’s are moved to Eye-Fi’s service/servers and then copied to your web service. You have to have already been an Eye-Fi user, which is I why I created the mini-review above. As for the app itself it’s very simple, I selected over 21 pictures and they moved as I expected, my only complaint is that the app doesn’t continue to upload when I put the app in the background and switch to another app. (but maybe this is common with other photo uploading apps). If you put app in the background, it pauses, and when you bring it back it continues to upload. It does the upload from the app without any pre-processing. (which I know is one of your requirements)

    I also bought “Web Albums” and it seemed to work when I purchased it, but a couple a weeks ago I tried uploading multiple photo’s and only the 1st photo would move, I tried it again this week, and same thing happened, I had to keep exiting the app, and selecting one photo at a time. (Not good, and yes I hard reset my phone. Is it so much to ask for an app that just does what it’s supposed to do???) I also don’t like the pre-processing.

    Anyhow, I’m glad you wrote on this topic, because I have been keeping my eye out for a decent app, and The Eye-Fi app is my app of choice right now. If you already have an Eye-Fi card and have an account you may want to take their app for a spin, it’s free, or if you have a digital camera other than your iPhone that takes SD cards, you might want to check out the product to see if it fits.

  • Kevin

    Try Blogpress… read about it.

  • Abhijetbuzz

    Facebook Photo Uploader for iPad

    The BEST Facebook Photo uploader – the easiest and fastest way of uploading photos from your iPad to Facebook.
    Easy and intuitive interface to uploading PHOTOS to Facebook to share with friends and family
    Download Now:

    Search Term for this application would be : Ipad facebook photo

  • I have to admit that Web Albums did stand out as a great tool. I really hope their next release would include Flickr sharing too.

    As an aside, do most people upload to Facebook, Picasa or Flickr?