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Guide to Pinterest Apps for Mobile Phones

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Pinterest for iPhone
Courtesy Pinterest

Pinterest apps for mobile phones and tablet computers are somewhat limited because Pinterest doesn't offer developers a robust, third-party development platform, but the company does offer official mobile apps for both Android and Apple iOS devices.

For a long time Pinterest offered only one official mobile app, and that was for iPhones. But in August 2012 it rolled out new apps for Android devices as well as one for Apple iPad tablets. Both programs are downloadable via the Pinterest mobile apps page.

Android users had been clamoring for several years to get an application dedicated to one of the biggest mobile computing platforms in the U.S. Pinterest finally delivered its mobile Android app, which is available in the Google Play store. It is one of only three official mobile apps for the image-sharing network.

Official Pinterest Mobile Apps: The Basics

1. iPhone Pinterest App

The company released a dedicated iPhone app in 2011 and a major design upgrade in August 2012, making it a pretty decent app. Our experience using it on the IPhone 4S showed it to be fairly speedy. The app lets you do just about everything you'd do on the Pinterest website on your iPhone. You can access your Pinterest account if you're a registered user, or just browse images if you're not.

Images are displayed large enough to really be able to see them. The August 2012 upgrade created a two-column design for browsing, which lets you view more pins at once.

In addition to doing nearly everything you can do on the website, the iPhone version in some ways is an improved experience because it's so nicely focused. The app shows five buttons across the bottom of the screen, icons for Following, Explore, Camera, Activity and Profile.

"Following" lets you browse recent pins of people you follow. Explore shows various themed categories you can browse. Camera lets you take a picture and pin it with your phone. Activity shows a summary of your recent activity, the same one that is displayed in the left sidebar of the website. And Profile shows your Profile page, summarizing your number of followers, people followed, boards, pins, and likes. You can click on each to browse other people's boards, pins and profiles.

Two slick touches--things you can't do on the Website--are the ability to save pinned images from Pinterest.com to your iPhone's camera roll, and the ability to take pictures with your iPhone camera and save them to your boards on Pinterest.com.

Download the iPhone Pinterest app.

2. Pinterest iPad App

The Pinterest iPad app, released in August 2012, is bundled with the official iPhone app but offers a different design and differences in functionality, too. The iPad app takes advantage of the iPad's touchscreen capability to let users swipe to the side and view a list of available categories.

The iPad app has a built-in Web browser and integrated pin-it button to make pinning images to your Pinterest boards easy. Users, however, have complained about the lack of tabs in the browser.

All in all, it's a decent app, even though it doesn't allow a lot of advanced editing for boards and sometimes feels a bit unstable.

Download the iPhone iPad app.

3. Pinterest Android App

Pinterest's long-requested application designed explicitly for Android devices has won mostly positive reviews from users. It makes "pinning" speedy and easy and covers most of the basic functions available on the website pinterest.com fairly well.

Weaknesses of the Android Pinterest app, on the other hand, include not being able to edit or change descriptions on your image boards or edit your user profile from within the app.

Download the official Android app from Google Play.

Third-Party Mobile Apps

Pinterest on Windows Phones

Pinterest does not offer an official app for Windows phones, but Pinspiration is a third-party app developed that lets Windows Phone users browse images on Pinterest.com--repinning them, adding comments and so forth. It also lets people take pictures with their phone and pin them on Pinterest. The app furtherallows the social network integration Pinterest offers with Twitter and Facebook.

While it doesn't look as good or offer as much functionality as the iPhone version of Pinterest, it's better than just exploring Pinterest with a mobile browser.

The big downside of this app is it shows ads, how annoying! Also, it holds back on the refresh rate for pins from people you followed, so they're not in real time. To get rid of those two annoyances, you have to buy the Pinspiration Pro App for $1.29. It has drawn good reviews and may be well worth the money for Pinterest addicts.

You can download the Pinspiration Pinterest app from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Pinterest Apps Created by Third Parties

A handful of third-party mobile Pinterest apps, meanwhile, are available, but since Pinterest hasn't opened its software code widely to developers, these have been limited in functionality and don't offer nearly the same level of integration with the Pinterest website that the official Android and iPhone versions do. Still, some are worth considering.

PinHog for Androids

PinHog is one popular third-party app for Android devices designed to let people browse pins both online and offline. It's available in the Google Play store.

Other iPad Options

For iPad users who for some reason don't want to install the official Pinterest app, another option is to use the built-in Safari browser and add the Pin It bookmarklet to the bookmarks bar. This article explains how to install the Pinterest bookmarklet on the iPad and mobile phones. Pinterest has done a lot of work on its standard web app, so the the standard web browsing experience on Pinterest.com from many phones and tablets has been improved.

Install Pin It Button for Mobile Browsers

Given the limitations of third-party apps, owners of smart phones other than Android or iOS may be better off viewing Pinterest.com on their phone browsers rather than installing apps created by independent developers.

Installing the Pinterest Pin It bookmarklet on cell phone browsers can be challenging, but it greatly simplifies the image "pinning" process on iPads and smart phones.

The Pinterest button is available on what it calls its "Goodies" page, and this article describes how the Pin It button works.

Apps for Pinterest on the Desktop

Even though Pinterest hasn't opened a robust API to software developers, plenty of people have tried to come up with ways to enhance, supplement or extend the Pinterest experience with Internet-based apps.

A few examples:

  • PinReachoffers an analytics service that's useful for monitoring trends on the image-sharing network.
  • Woobox is a leading app developer for Facebook. It offers a dedicated Pintrest tab app for adding a Pinterest tab to a Facebook fan page.
  • Share As Image is a simple service that converts any text you find online into an image that you can pin as a visually interesting quote to a Pinterest board.

Pinterest Overview and Guide

This tutorial on Pinterest can help get you started if you're a newbie to the Web's leading image-sharing supersite.

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