Share between your iOS and OS X devices with Instashare
Instashare is a new file management app for iOS and Mac OS X from independent developer Lukas Foldyna. The iOS version is available as a free ad-supported download (with an optional in-app purchase to remove ads) while the Mac version is available in beta form from the app’s official website.
Instashare is designed to be a simple-to-use solution for transferring files between devices running iOS and Mac OS X. It is not designed to be a fully-featured file browser and manager; rather, it simply acts as a “bridge” between two devices, and then allows users to do as they please with the transferred files.
Using Instashare is a simple matter of drag and drop. In the iOS version, users simply tap and hold on a file stored in the app (or an item from their device’s photo library) to trigger a search for other nearby devices also running the app. If the user is unable to connect to the same Wi-Fi network as the recipient’s device or is using a public network which masks devices from one another then transfers may also be initiated using local Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections instead. Once other devices have been found — which is normally near-instantaneous — all that must be done to initiate a transfer is to drop the file on the relevant device and then confirm the transfer on the recipient’s end. At that point, the transfer will begin, and both devices will be kept apprised of progress via on-screen feedback.
In the case of the Mac OS X version, the functionality is almost identical, only rather than functioning as a dedicated app, Instashare simply sits in the user’s menu bar until required and may optionally be set to start up with the computer. Clicking on the app summons an iPad-style popup menu onto which files may be dragged, and from there things work identically to the iOS version. When receiving files to the Mac OS X version, the user is able to customize where on their hard drive they will be downloaded to — by default this is the standard OS X Downloads folder.
Files transferred to the iOS app may be managed in several ways, though since Instashare is not a full-on file manager there is no facility to do things like create folders or archives. A wide variety of files may be opened and viewed in the app, and this includes Apple-proprietary formats such as iWork Pages/Keynote/Numbers files. An Edit button at the top of the screen allows files to be deleted from the app when they have served their purpose, and an OS-standard “share” icon on each file opens an iOS “Open With…” menu allowing the user to send the file to Mail, Twitter, Facebook, Contacts, Camera Roll, the print spooler or the clipboard. It also allows users to send the file to any installed apps which support incoming files from the “Open With…” dialog — on my own phone, this included Foodspotting, Skitch, Air Sharing, Evernote, Dropbox, Google Drive, Photograffiti and Electric Slide, but there are many others which also support this functionality.
Instashare is a solid app that performs its functions well. It might have perhaps been nice to see some more file management features to allow the app to be used like more like a wireless memory stick and less like a simple transfer tool, but the simple drag and drop functionality and ease of sharing to other apps makes up for that. When combined with the Mac OS X app, it makes a powerful solution for transferring files back and forth between devices, though it’s a shame there’s no support for Windows computers at this time. Support for other as-yet unnamed platforms is seemingly planned, however, as the grammatically-questionable App Store description notes that it is “for friends with different systems comming and soon.” [sic]
You can follow Instashare’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.