Instashare review: Transfer files between your iPhone, iPad, and Mac instantly

Instashare lets you quickly and easily transfer video files, music files, PDF presentations, and more between iPhone, iPad, and Mac over local Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. There's no pairing or fancy setup needed. As long as two or more devices are running Instashare in the same area, you're good to go.

When you launch Instashare you're taken through a quick tutorial of how to use it. Afterwards, you're ready to start transferring files. Instashare supports both WiFi and Bluetooth transfers. That means if both of your devices have Bluetooth functionality, you don't even have to be connected to the internet in order to share files wirelessly. To share an app from Instashare for iPhone and iPad, just find the file you'd like to share via your camera roll (photo or video) and hold down and drag. You'll be automatically taken to the transfer screen where you can drop it to whatever device you'd like.

There are certain apps such as document and media apps that have share buttons. You should also see a send to Instashare option which will automatically launch the file sharing option and let you choose a device you want to share it with. The Mac version of Instashare is a free download from the Instashare website. It will basically sit in your task bar where you can drag files directly to it. While Instashare does support all file types, I have noticed that larger files sometimes time out during transfer and I'm not sure why this is. I experienced it frequently when trying to transfer audio or video files from iPhone to Mac.

Once you've received files from another device with Instashare you can view them natively inside Instashare or choose to save them or share them wherever you'd like. If you have any third party apps installed that support those specific file types, Instashare will also give you the option to open them directly within that app. For example, if you're viewing share options for a photo and have photo editing apps installed, you'll see an option to open them directly within that app.

The good

  • Bluetooth support means you don't even have to be connected to the internet to share files
  • You can easily add and remove trusted devices within settings whenever you'd like
  • Supports any file type, not just photos or videos

The bad

  • Seems to have trouble transferring larger files resulting in time outs or errors
  • When sending multiple files at once, they show up in one bulk upload that you have to scroll through
  • Sometimes devices that are within the network or paired don't show up correctly

The bottom line

Many people have wished for OS X AirDrop to come to iOS. It hasn't yet. Meanwhile, Instashare is shaping up to be a great way to share all kinds of files between iPhone, iPad, and Mac but it isn't quite there yet. The amount of errors, timeouts, and strange UI bugs I experienced would keep me from using it as a dedicated file sharing service. For the time being, an option like Droplr that also offers link shortening services is probably a better one.

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • What are the requirements for Mac? The website doesn't seem to give any sort of data on that. Like minimum OS and that...
  • Not sure, I wouldn't imagine very much but it talks about AirDrop so maybe you need at least Lion? Not sure, their website is not nearly as informative as it should be :\
  • "The bottom line Many people have wished for OS X AirDrop to come to Mac. It hasn't yet. " i'm guessing you meant iOS? :)
  • She might have in her review, but I am talking about Mac. Not iOS.
  • yes…i was only referring to the line i quoted.
    i know "Reading is fundamental", which is why i was left a bit confused at the end :)
  • AGREED. I poked around on there a great deal, I tweeted them the same question and got no reply either. I was hoping it might not require Lion yet. I don't want to have to upgrade all my stuff, the version of CS I am on won't work on Lion and I don't really wanna buy all new CS yet.
  • This is interesting, I will have to do more reading up on this one. Thanks for the review.
  • Only problem I had with the app was it made my video file into a zip file, so I couldn't use it on my phone.
  • Been using the iOS and Mac app for a couple of weeks and for me the only problem is that the iOS app keeps the files you send in a cache mode so the disk usage become very heavy when you send videos. Mine is currently at 2GB and there is no way to clean the cache, i have been deleteing and reinstalling the app when this happens. Airdrop support would be awesome.
  • Apps like this wouldn't be required if iOS wasn't such a silo'd OS. Android has been able to move files of any type between any devices, anywhere for years now
  • Thank you for the review, very interesting. For video files transfer I use ArkMC, it can share and download media files from external DLNA servers. I can share my video including iTunes on iPhone and download to iPad running ArkMC. Also I download movies from Serviio or WD My BL to watch during the flight.
  • [ Q ] : Will this app support transfer from Mac to Mac in a local network? (…AirDrop is not an option since it's SO slow in my experience.)
  • I am using files-finder edition to transfer and share files