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Flickr review: Browse and share photos in style

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Photos front and center

Both the iOS and Androids apps open directly to a stream of photos that the people you follow have shared to Flickr. It's a vertical column of photos, just like you see on Instagram, and you swipe up and down to get around. Like Instagram, there's a space below each image to like, comment on, and share it. The difference with Flickr is that while the images are squared off in the stream to save space, you can also tap each photo to view it full-size.

If someone you follows uploads multiple photos at once, you'll see a small collage in your stream with the number of photos the shared below it. You can tap that collage to see photo individually.

Your personal profile houses all of the images you've ever uploaded to Flickr. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

If you want to see more photos from the Flickr community, head to the Explore section, which shows you Interesting (popular) photos on Flickr, as well as photos that have been geotagged nearby, all in a seamless collage-like layout. You get there by tapping the search icon.

Clearly, the folks at Flickr want users to do more than just upload photos; they want them to hang around, browse, and connect with the community, just as they might do on Instagram. With a terabyte of space to work with in the latest version, users may jump back on board knowing that the storage limitations (and pay walls) in earlier versions are a thing of the past.

Shoot and share

If you're looking for a powerful photo manipulation tool, Flickr probably isn't it. That said, it does offer a few filters, image touch-up tools and the ability to caption items. In the iOS app, you can apply a filter in the camera viewfinder, so you see what the finished shot will look like before you take it. That feature isn't available in the Android app, but that version gets stylish controls to add filters and effects after the fact. There are two wheels -- one for filters, the other for brightness, saturation, and other similar touch-ups -- that show up on the left and right on top of your photo right after you snap it. The iOS app has the same aftereffect tools, but they don't have a special design.

You can explore interesting photos on Flickr (left) or search with a keyword (right). Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

When you're finished tweaking your finished photo in either, you can move on to adding a caption, tagging your friends and family, and sharing it to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or via email. Plus, it lets you download any photo from Flickr in just a few taps.

Previously, you couldn't customize your profile or organize your photos from the Flickr apps. Luckily, you can now do both. You can change your profile photo, but unfortunately, you still can't edit your personal information. Also, you can now organize your photos into albums and change their privacy level from your profile page.

Backup your prized pictures

Thanks to the one terabyte of storage space that Flickr now provides for free to all users, you can now automatically backup every photo and video you record with your phone to your account. When you download and install the Android app, it'll ask if you want to turn on Auto-Sync. In the iOS app, you can turn it on in settings.

Final thoughts

With a new Instagram-like layout and one terabyte of storage, it seems that Yahoo is trying to position Flickr as a go-to social network and cloud storage system for photos. The app is definitely getting easier to use, but it's hard to say if people will decide to switch from other social photo networks like Instagram, especially because it doesn't seem to have the same volume of people using it like they use Instagram.

Still, if you're looking for a way to share your mobile photos and back them up to your Yahoo account in the cloud, then Flickr's mobile apps for iOS and Android are great choices. They may not be able to do everything, but with plenty of filters and photo editing effects, and a simple photo stream, it's a great way to take photos and share them with your friends and the entire Flickr community.

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