Instagram throws us a Boomerang as a Live Photo alternative

Live Photos have caught the imagination of those folks who have the new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, but for owners of older models of iPhone, it's a non-starter. Live Photos can be used as animated lock screens and even be shared on a limited basis with other iOS and OS X devices, but you won't be able to share them on the web or through social media.

So it's fortunate that Instagram released a new app today to address the shortcomings of Live Photos while still letting you have all of the fun. Boomerang (free) takes 1-second mini videos that loop continuously and that can be shared easily.

Shooting a Boomerang video is easy. You just point the camera and tap the button. The app grabs a burst of 10 photos, turning them into a short looped video. The videos can be shared on Instagram and Facebook right off the bat, and the videos are saved to the iPhone camera roll as well.

Are they fun? Yeah. Boomerang smooths out the video and then "bounces" it back and forth so that you have a seamless little video to share. Like Live Photos, Boomerangs aren't the highest resolution and can be a bit jerky, but that can be part of the charm of the movies. They can be shot in landscape mode as well, which makes them even more useful. Here's a Boomerang of my cats in action! 

It's fun, it's free, and it joins Instagram, Hyperlapse, and Layout on my iPhone.