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    The OG App throws out Instagram ads and takes you back to basics

    The OG App on a smartphone



    (Image credit: The OG App and Luke Chesser/Unsplash)

    Tired of the current state of the app, a group of developers took it upon themselves to create a version of Instagram that removes all of the ads and allows people to create custom feeds.

    It’s called The OG App (opens in new tab) and it takes Instagram back to basics. It’s not another social media platform and you still have many of the same features like Stories and the Explore page. But now, you have control over what content you see on your Instagram feed thanks to a series of tools and filters. In a recent report (opens in new tab), the developers said they wanted “to put users, and not advertisers, first with this app.” 

    At the time of this writing, The OG App is only officially available on the Google Play Store (opens in new tab). If you go to the Apple App Store, all you get is an endlessly loading webpage. You can, however, join the TestFlight program to try out the beta version of The OG App. Instructions on how to join can be found on the developer website (opens in new tab)

    Features and first-hand experience

    The purpose of the tools and filters is to allow users to fine tune their Instagram accounts, according to the developers.

    You can create new feeds that only contain content from various sources like friends, news sites, or sports pages. Users will have the ability to disable Reels and the Explore Page with filters. Feed updates can also be disabled for a full 24 hours. And as mentioned earlier, The OG App removes all ads from your feed so you have nothing but the content you want to see.

    While the idea of an ad-free Instagram excites us, the experience of using it was somewhat less than satisfying.

    First off, logging into your Instagram account is convoluted. Upon launching the app, you’ll have to connect to your Instagram profile using either the phone number or the Google account attached to it. After connecting, you have to sign in a second time using your Instagram login credentials. We did all that only to be met with an error message stating to try again in a few minutes. The error could be from the latest update, but the app forced us to download this so we were stuck. 

    Fortunately, a fix is on the way. According to the developer’s official Twitter account (opens in new tab), there are plans to completely “[revamp]… the login flow that should fix 90 percent of the issues [users] are facing.” New features are also on the horizon. The team behind The OG App is working on collaborative feeds, “sharing custom feeds with friends,” and the ability to download Instagram Stories.

    And on the official website, the developers hint at their next project: an app that will combine multiple social media feeds (like Instagram and Twitter) into one. We reached out to the team to ask when people can expect all these changes and the upcoming app. This story will be updated if we hear back.

    Potential take down

    It’s a shame we couldn’t log in because The OG App sounds really interesting. An Instagram without ads sounds great on its own; everything else is an added bonus. 

    The question remains will Meta kill The OG App. And the answer to that is “maybe.” According to prominent industry leaker Alessandro Paluzzi (opens in new tab), The OG App “uses Instagram’s private API without permission.” API (or Application Program Interface) is a part of software that allows it to communicate with other apps. Paluzzi claims that because of the lack of permission, The OG App won’t last very long in online stores, which could explain the sudden disappearance from Apple’s App Store. Something similar happened when Google took down YouTube Vanced (RIP) which was not an official app.

    So far, no one has heard anything from Meta concerning The OG App. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Meta strikes the app down. But its existence should tell Meta something.

    People have been very unhappy with Instagram as of late. The platform has been making a big push to be more like Tik-Tok, much to the ire of TechRadar’s own Daryl Baxter. Plus, Instagram often makes changes that worsen its most basic functionality. If The OG App survives it’s sure to find many fans among disenfranchised Instagram users.

    Update 9-29-2022: It looks like Meta caught wind of The OG App. A representative of the developer, Un1feed, got back to us and claim that every single person on the team had their personal Facebook and Instagram accounts permanently banned by Meta. They insist that none of their Facebook accounts were linked to the app, but their Instagram accounts certainly were.

    The developer goes as far as to claim Meta is “taking extraordinary measures to suppress and censor [them]”. The OG App is still available on the Google Play Store and unavailable on the Apple App Store. They also shared with us Apple’s explanation why it pulled OG stating that the app has unauthorized access to Instagram’s service and violated Meta’s rights on the platform.

    Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity. 

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