Around the time I first got my iPhone 3G, I used to use Exposure (now called Darkslide) for Flickr browsing, and I was well satisfied, until it became rather buggy with later versions. Not sure what the state of that app is, but I’m glad to see Yahoo finally step forward and release an official iPhone solution for the photo sharing site.
The Flickr app is available now in the App Store for the lovely price of free, and allows you to upload your own photos or videos to the site for publication. On first use, you have to enter your credentials if you want to upload or view your contacts, but Flickr takes you to Safari and then immediately back to the app afterward, resulting in a painless process.
I didn’t even bother doing that for probably my first five minutes using the app, though, because I was too busy just watching the home screen. By default, Flickr for iPhone shows a Ken Burns-style slide show of random photos from the site’s entire public archive. It’s a simple trick, but for some reason on the iPhone’s screen it looks so good it’s absolutely mesmerizing.
When you do log in, which you must do if you want to use any of the app’s features besides Search, the slide show on launch features only photos from your own and your contacts’ photostreams. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you have lots of contacts who are active Flickr users, but I would like to see a settings option in future versions that lets you pull from the general pool. It may not even be intended as a feature, but it’s the most visually pleasing thing the app has to offer.
Generally speaking, Flickr for the iPhone does a good job of looking good. It shows you when its loading using the familiar logo animation it shares with the regular site, and the UI is well and smartly designed. My only complaint is that in comparison to other apps like Darkslide, it actually does very little.
Like many non-photographers I know, I don’t actually use the site for uploading my own content, and I have very few contacts. What I do like to do on Flickr is just browse aimlessly, because while I may not take many photos, I appreciate a good one when I see it. Darkslide (the version I used to use, anyway) provides great features for browsing photos outside of your contact pool. This Flickr app does not, short of searching for keywords.
If you’re a Flickr user who takes a lot of mobile shots with your iPhone, then this app is for you. If you’re a casual appreciator like myself, you may want to look elsewhere for your Flickr fix, at least for the time being.