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Instagram update removes highly touted live filters from iPhone 5

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Feature will eventually be removed from all phones to 'improve the Instagram experience'

Instagram viewfinder
Instagram viewfinder

Instagram released version 2.0 of its photo-sharing app just about a year ago, and "live filters" were touted a headlining feature — users were now able to apply a filter in the viewfinder before snapping a picture. However, for iPhone 5 owners, that feature is now missing. Yesterday's update to the Instagram app brought compatibility with iOS 6 and full usage of the iPhone 5's bigger screen, but it also removed the live filter view, though owners of older iPhones can still use the feature. Instagram's support portal confirms the removal, saying that the current version of Instagram "does not support live filters on the iPhone 5," and goes on to say "going forward, live filters will be phased out as we work to improve the Instagram experience for all users."

It's a strange reversal for Instagram, especially after the company made some controversial and unpopular changes to its set of filters with the 2.0 release — changes that the company said were necessary for the live filter version to work properly. Now that the feature is being slowly phased out, users will soon be stuck with the more divisive filters and no live filter view. It's not at all clear to us how live filters harmed the "Instagram experience," though the company does have to support a much wider variety of hardware now that the app is available on Android as well as iOS. We've reached out to Instagram to find out more about the company's reversal on the role of live filters and will update here with anything we learn.