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Apps & updates: Instagram 2.5, Facebook Messenger & Pages Manager, free McGraw-Hill apps, more

Today’s apps and updates news kicks off with four free apps from publisher McGraw-Hill, which was one of Apple’s partners for the iBooks textbooks launch in January, as well as big updates to popular apps such as Instagram, Facebook Messager, Facebook Pages Manager, and Words With Friends HD. McGraw-Hill Education is attending the International Society for Technology in Education conference this week, and it is offering some of its best-selling apps free. Starting today until June 27, you can grab the following textbooks free:

American History Time Line

Words to Learn By

Fusion Reading The Vocabulary Process

Sail Through Math

Instagram version 2.5.0: One of the most notable apps to receive an update today is Facebook’s Instagram with version 2.5 bringing a number of noteworthy features listed below:

– Revamped profile tab
– Search for users and tags in the Explore tab
– Improvements to commenting
– User search autocompletes based on people you follow
– Visual improvements
– Speed optimizations
– Optionally share likes to Facebook (enable in your Profile > Sharing Settings > Facebook)

Facebook Messenger version 1.8: The Facebook Messenger iOS app received a decent update today that includes the following features in addition to “More-reliable push notifications” and “Faster app loading, navigating and sending”:

– Quickly switch between multiple conversations with in-app notifications
– Include friends of friends in conversations
– Swipe to delete individual messages from conversations
– See who’s available when you start a new conversation
– Share bigger photos, tap for full screen and pinch to zoom

Facebook Pages Manager version 1.1: Facebook also updated its Pages manager app with the features listed below as well as the usual bug fixes and performance updates:

• View and reply to messages
• Adjust how often you receive notifications about Pages activity
• See answers to questions and guest lists for events created on your Pages
• Insights added for checkins

CNN App for iPad version 1.6: The CNN iPad app, like many others after the launch of the third-gen iPad, has been updated with enhanced imagery to support the device’s Retina display.

Groupon version 1.6.6: Groupon was updated today with a number of welcomed features, including: the ability to make appointments with Groupon Scheduler for iPhone users, support for users in Chile, and various tweaks and “beautification efforts” to the app’s UX.

Words With Friends HD version 5.0: One of Zynga’s most popular titles was updated today to version 5.0, which mostly brings a number of enhancements for iPad users:

-Interface enhancements will make all those “wanted” posters look out of date!

*Words is “strapped” with a new side menu!

*Surveillance is key! Turn the iPad and enjoy our new landscape mode!

*Words iPad now supports Retina display, so you can analyze every last detail of the scene.

-All this crime has made us more concerned about security!

-Enhanced app security!

-Bug fixes and optimizations!

Gmail version 1.2.7812: We already told you all about today’s update to the Gmail iOS app that brought Notification Center support, alternate sender addresses, and persistent logins. You get can all the information here.