The 5 Best Polaroid Apps for iPhone

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Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera

Instant re-creates a pretty authentic Polaroid shooting experience on iPhone. Its tiny viewfinder is almost like shooting with the original SX-70 cameras. It has a broad range of film effects, including many styles of Polaroid stock recreations. It even has some damaged and expired film stocks. Instant lets you add roller bar streaks to your image. It can also add some great looking wear to the photo, including fingerprints, dirt, and frame texture. Instant is a far cry from the point-and-shoot simplicity of Polarize and ShakeIt Photo.

Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera is $1.99 in the App Store.

App Store Link: Instant: The Polaroid Instant Camera – ThinkTime Creations LLC

fake polaroid, fauxlaroid, iphone, camera+, camera plus


Got Camera+? There’s a pretty decent fauxlaroid hidden within this app. It doesn’t have a one-click instant film effect per se. If you use any one of its retro analog effects along with the Instant border that’s part of the standard gear, you can create some interesting if not entirely authentic fake Polaroid-style photos.

Camera+ is $2.99 in the App Store.

App Store Link: Camera+ – tap tap tap

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Original CameraBag (left) and CameraBag 2’s updated Instant frame (right)

Bonus: CameraBag

If you’re lucky enough to have the original CameraBag for iPhone before it was deleted, you have one of the better fake Polaroid affects available for iOS. The SX-70 style frame looks authentic. The app lets you cycle through some good-looking, washed out Polaroid effects. Somehow, this did not translate to the update CameraBag 2. In the update, effects look a little too saturated and much of the time the colors look off to me. The frame has been changed from the classic SX-70 print to a ugly, elongated, instant… thing. The original CameraBag, though, gets it right. It may not be one tap – you might want to cycle through a few iterations – but it’s one-tap easy to get a classic, retro faux-Polaroid look with CameraBag.

Did I miss any? Share your favorite fake-Polaroid apps in the comments below!



About Marty Yawnick 1830 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, Pink Floyd, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Richard Grant

    The instant filters in Lo-Mob are pretty cool, in my opinion. Can’t attest to their authenticity.

    • Hi, Richard!

      I looked at lo-mob, another great analog lo-fi app. The frames are good, but the color of the images didn’t look quite right to me. Good hunch on the authenticity.

      Yes. Thanks for mentioning Hipstamatic. For all the flak they sometimes take, they have a few great looking instant-style filters.


    • Plus one for Lomob. I don’t find all of their filters useful but I have had it for ages and I still come back to it every now and then. Their addition Superslides is worth a look too.

  • David Hayes

    Great list! I have all of these except ShakeIt…don’t know how I missed that one!!! I still have a couple of “real” Polaroid cameras that I bring out for special occasions. Nothing like them!!

  • Lily Sheng

    Marty, the company behind ShakeItPhoto (and Cross Process) came out with BananaCam, have you ever tested it? I don’t own the previous two apps but was thinking about getting BananaCam (since it’s newer) especially if it includes effects from the two older apps. I appreciate any feedback!

    • Hi, Lily,

      I have BananaCam. I think it’s more like Analog Camera — few, one-click effects. Easy to use interface. Good for easy shoot-and-go stuff. If you have VSCO Cam or a nicely stocked “camera bag”, you probably can skip BananaCam for now.


      • Lily Sheng

        Thanks, maybe they’ll come out with an update that’ll rock the world!

  • kentkangley

    Veenstra and Polatax are a couple of fauxlaroids I’ve tried in addition to Polamatic and Instant. I liked all four of them, but I really only needed one, so I stuck with Polamatic. I love the damaged frame effects.

  • Julez

    Hey, I think Afterlight has pretty astonishing Polaroid effects. The App offers different Polaroid borders as well as really beautiful light leaks that are the most close to the original that I’ve ever seen in an app.

  • Kayne


  • hemanti

    my favorite is instafusion app.i like its blending and masking features…

  • srijan

    i love instaglass app to edit my photos…it works wonderfully..

  • shuvoshri

    Make your image look creative in seconds through effection app… i just love this app…

  • Amelia Chand

    afterlight is nice, plus has an expansion with various polaroid frames! pretty easy interface to navigate through too.

  • soumik

    i am using vidblend app.

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