UPDATE 02.03.12: After about a day in the App Store, Instagrunge has disappeared. No reasons were given in the dev’s Twitter stream and the app’s Facebook page is offline as well. There is a short explanation at the bottom of the Instagrunge website:

“But the app isn’t quite finished yet, so you will have to wait a little longer before you can start dirtying up your images. Stay tuned…”


New iPhone photo app Instagrunge recently hit the App Store. As the name implies, Instagrunge quickly and easily scuffs, fades, scratches, damages and stains your photo quickly and easily.

Currently, it’s free through February, making it fairly easy to download and try out. Even while free, though, it’s got a lot of problems, though, before it finds a place on my iPhone. >>>

Instagrunge isn’t an app for fine-tuning an image. There are almost no controls or sliders. The app has two buttons — one to “grungify” a photo, the other to toggle between color and black & white. The app cycles through thousands of grunge combinations. You can share to the Instagrunge social photo network and to Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. The image automatically saves to to your camera roll. It’s very easy to use.

The effects combine grunge overlays, color and saturation adjustments. There are some interesting light leaks and damage effects in Instagrunge’s seemingly endless number of effects. I found a good percentage of effects that I liked — some a very nice, unique combination of overlays and color, but had to click through a lot that I didn’t to find them. Despite the nostalgic and emotional App Store description, Instagrunge can go really heavy on the grunge effects rather than adding more subtle (or even not so subtle) vintage retro effects. There’s no way to adjust the intensity of each effect and many of the effects “go to eleven.”

The app saves and shares at a low 612×612 pixels resolution, which is unusable for nearly all purposes. Even Instagram supports high res and Flickr prefers higher resolutions for viewing onscreen.

When first using the app, the interface was frustratingly broken all over. There were stray lines of visible code and stray text fields throughout the app. The link to the app’s settings window was broken and I was unable to open it. Once inside the app, the Register button didn’t work for me, either. If this happens to you, a reboot of my iPhone took care of the problem for me and the app behaved better.

The app weighs in at 121 megabytes. That’s a HUGE download for an app. That’s about the same space as 20 photo apps combined. In contrast, Hipstamatic, which is not known to be light on the bandwidth, is only an 18.2 megabyte download. You won’t be able to download or update Instagrunge unless you’re on WiFi. It’s one of the largest files I’ve ever downloaded to my iPhone by far. If you have a 16 GB iPhone, this app will take up a lot of space you could use for other purposes.

I really don’t recommend Instagrunge, even though it’s currently free. It’s only worth a free download if you have the time and bandwidth — not necessarily to use, but to get into the update path in case the app’s problems are fixed. Otherwise, it’s a low-resolution app with many overdone effects that uses too much space on my iPhone for what it does.

There are other grungifiers available, such as ScratchCam FX and Pic Grunger, that are as easy to use, create good looking effects, and support usable, high resolutions.

Instagrunge is currently free through February. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Instagrunge - Adrian3