6 of the best photo editing apps for iOS

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While it’s true that iOS is a photo editor built into the Photos app, we’re sure many of you will need something more powerful, especially if you’re a photography enthusiast. As you can already guess, the iOS App Store offers a lot of options. Check out some of the best photo editing apps for iOS.

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1. Affinity photo

Affinity Photo by Serif Labs is the iPadOS companion to the powerful Affinity Photo from macOS. While this app only works on relatively newer iPads (made in 2017 and later), it’s massively more powerful than anything else on the platform. This is especially true for those who are serious about their photography.

Affinity Photo

This photo editor takes full advantage of the extra computing power available on modern iPads, with desktop photo editing tools right at your fingertips. While a touch interface limits the brute force power of the app, the selection tools are well suited to touch and offer a wealth of creative possibilities.

Affinity Photo also supports PSD files. If you’re disappointed with Adobe’s iPad version of Photoshop, you’ll find a great replacement here. The app is priced at $ 9.99 and comes without a subscription or anything similar, which is still refreshing to see.

2. Snapseed

The application Google Snapseed is an awesome photo editor, especially considering the price. It won’t cost you a dime, and it’s the only app we found in the App Store that offered direct curve adjustments at no additional cost.


If you’re unfamiliar with curves, they’re a staple of any serious photo-editing app and a particularly intuitive tool for editing images by touch. Their inclusion in the Snapseed app is worth recommending, but the vast collection of photo editing tools alongside curves is commendable as well.

While a recent overhaul has made the app a bit more messy than before, the touch-first controls make it easier to apply and tweak complex edits. Once you have a look you like, you can save it as a personal filter for use over and over again or share that filter with other Snapseed users.

3. Lightroom

Our list of the best photo editing apps for iOS wouldn’t be complete without Adobe Lightroom. For millions of photography enthusiasts and professionals alike, Lightroom is their go-to tool, available on many devices and platforms. You can use it on your iPhone and iPad, as well as your Mac. There is even a version for Apple TV.

Adobe Lightroom: Photo Editor
Adobe Lightroom: Photo Editor

The reason Lightroom is so popular is its combination of simple to use yet practical tools. Needless to say, you will be able to adjust the exposure, brightness, highlights, shadows, and colors of your photo. Plus, add texture, clarity, darken your photos, and more. And of course, Lightroom also offers millions of very attractive presets, both free and well priced.

You can start using Lightroom for free, giving you access to a lot of basic features (still enough to have a drastic impact on your photos). However, a premium subscription is required to unlock the app, ranging from $ 4.99 to $ 19.99 per month.

4. Afterlight

Photography enthusiasts will say than Afterlight is a more affordable alternative to Lightroom. And up to a point, they are right. Indeed, Afterlight gives you over 20 tools – ranging from light and color adjustments to texture and color change.

Afterlight - Photo Editor
Afterlight - Photo Editor

However, Afterlight’s photo editing tools can do much more. With tools like selective hue, saturation, brightness controls, advanced tone and luminance curves, even professional photographers will have a lot to explore.

However, Afterlight is not popular, only because of its powerful photo editing toolset. What stands out here is the app’s selection of filters, textures, and overlays. With Lightroom, you have to search the web for presets or create them manually. With Afterlight, you get instant access to over 130 filters created by professional photographers, as well as over 60 textures and overlays.

You can download and start using Afterlight for free in a limited capacity. To fully unlock the app, you will need a subscription that costs $ 2.99 to $ 17.99. You can also get a lifetime subscription, which will cost you $ 35.99.

5. Pixelmator

For a very long time now Pixelmator is a true example of a brilliant iOS photo editing app. The developers of this app are not afraid to dive deep into iOS and iPadOS, taking full advantage of iPhones and iPads. And that said, it’s no surprise that Pixelmator is for more advanced people.


In terms of photo editing, Pixelmator gives you the highest level of control possible. Of course, there is a set of standard controls that allow you to apply presets as well as adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation of your photo, etc. This app allows you to repair and clone parts of your image, apply distortion effects and immerse yourself in color adjustment.

Pixelmator has a completely different look as well, which doubles as a paint application. It is one of the pioneers of dual texture and color picker brushes in iOS, allowing you to sketch, draw, paint, and spray color. And yes, the app also works perfectly with an Apple Pencil.

Pixelmator comes with regular updates, expanding its functionality every two months. And also, this is a one-time purchase, priced at $ 4.99.


We end our list of the best photo editing apps for iOS with an app that takes a relatively straightforward approach to photography. Depending on the type of photo editing you want to do on your phone, VSCO (like “Crisco”) may be the perfect app for your needs. It takes Instagram’s lightweight approach to photo editor and expands it considerably, allowing a wide range of easily controllable editing options.

VSCO: Photo and Video Editor
VSCO: Photo and Video Editor

These options are mostly clustered around stylistic tweaks, allowing for modern touches like tinted shadows and highlights, as well as more basic brightness and contrast settings. VSCO also has a really attractive gallery of eye-catching photo filters, with free in-app options and other filter packs available for purchase.

If you want a modern and trendy look for your shots, these can save you the need to edit your images for that particular effect. Photos can be saved to your library or uploaded to social sharing platforms.


With this list of the best photo editing apps for iOS, if you want to create some somewhat different photos, you can also check out the best camera apps for iPhone.

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