Pinterest took its sweet time creating mobile app versions of its popular pinboard website, and I wish I could say it was worth the wait. There are certainly advantages to an official Pinterest Android app, but there are also some limitations compared to the full-fledged website (which can still be accessed via mobile devices) and the mobile-optimized website version of Pinterest.
Pinterest app perks
Let’s start with the perks of the Pinterest Android app. The best feature, and one that’s exclusive to the mobile app, is the ability to create pins from your Android device’s camera. Once you log-in you’ll see an option right at the top to Create a Pin, where you’re given two options: you can take a photo with your device camera, or upload one from your gallery. This makes it easier to combine your real world experiences with your Pinterest boards, as you can pin locations, store items and more. I even hope to see a barcode scanner incorporated into this feature one day, as it could automatically pull in product details and operate more like the Pin It browser button.
Another great feature is the option to browse by category, which are pre-set on Pinterest. This includes tech, fashion, home design, weddings, sports, food and more. Of course, you can also search by tag word, which will help you explore Pinterest beyond the boards you’re following. And unlike the mobile-optimized web version of Pinterest, the app lets you browse more than one pin at a time, though it’s not as broad as the full web site version.
Finding and following friends is also an easy task on the mobile app, and manageable, too. If you pull up your followers tab, you’ll see a list of all the Pinterest users following you. From here you can follow them back or “unfollow” those you’re in which you’re no longer interested. Your following tab works in the same manner.
Missing app features
What’s lacking with the Pinterest app is the ability to select which board your new pin goes to, or the ability to create a pin via URL, which is where most pins come from. Even on the mobile-optimized web version of Pinterest, adding a pin via URL isn’t an option. While it’s cumbersome to manually enter a URL on a mobile device, it’d be nice to have the option (I know how to copy a link), especially since Pinterest doesn’t offer a workaround for pinning directly from your mobile browser.
More surprisingly, there’s no options for creating or managing boards on the Pinterest app. Similarly, pins can’t be edited either. While Pinterest is a great way to save items you’d like to reference in the future, it’s also a great organization tool, so without board and pin management, the Pinterest app offers little functionality beyond browsing existing pins and adding a photo from your device’s camera.
Other differences between the mobile web and app versions of Pinterest include filtered search. Though the app offers categorized browsing, the mobile web version lets you filter searches by those you’re following, pinned videos, popular pins and those tagged as gifts. And with the full mobile web version you do still have the option to add a pin via URL, even if it takes an extra step or two from a mobile web browser.