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Break out of the Instagram square with NoCrop

This free app serves ads like it's its job, but for that occasional iPhone photo whose composition resists Instagram's insistence on sharing square photos, it proves its worth.

NoCrop is not an app you will want to use with any regularity. The barrage of ads is unyielding, but this free and universal iOS app is useful for those times when Instagram's framing constraint doesn't mesh with the composition of a rectangular photo on your phone.

For such instances, NoCrop lets you share the entire rectangular frame on Instagram. It pulls off this feat by adding a white border on either side of portrait-oriented photos or on the top and bottom of landscapes.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When you first launch the app, you'll need to allow it access to your iPhone's or iPad's Camera Roll and decline an immediate offer for an app that promises to amaze your friends with color text messages. At least NoCrop doesn't insist you create an account; I shudder to think about the volume of e-mail it would direct my way.

After declining the ad and its dubious promise, give a single tap to the Import button in the middle of the screen, and watch out for an ad that will slide into place just as you go to tap on your Camera Roll or Photo Stream to choose a photo. (I admit that it got me in each of my first two attempts. In my defense, I assert that NoCrop altered the ad's arrival time.)

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The photo will be loaded into a blurred-out Instagram-like template. Before sharing, you can flip the photo and pinch to resize the photo. Leave the photo alone if you want to use the entire rectangular frame of your shot.

Tap the share button to be taken to these sharing options:

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

The nice thing about sharing to Instagram from NoCrop is NoCrop simply passes the photo (with its white borders) off to Instagram. This way you don't need to sign in to your Instagram account from NoCrop, and you can use Instagram's filters and other options. NoCrop does take the liberty to suggest you begin your comment with the text, "(Made with #NoCrop)."

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

(Via LifeHacker)