The technology in smartphones is being improved and iterated upon every single day, and the cameras included in them is no exception. So, in the face of all of this innovation, the best photo editing apps for iOS and Android are constantly capable of more and more. You can go through your photos, find the most beautiful ones and transform them into works of art. It’s an exciting time to be alive.
However, as anyone who has ever casually browsed the App Store or the Play Store can tell you, there are absolutely tons of of photo editing apps on iOS and Android. Sure, it’s cool that there is so much choice, but trying to find the best photo editing app for your needs can be a little intimidating.
That’s why we created this guide to the best photo editing apps you can download on iOS and Android. We culled through the Play Store and the App Store and picked out all the best photo editing apps available today. So if you’re looking for a full-fledged desktop photo editor you can bring wherever you go, or even if you want something simple to touch up selfies before you share them with your friends, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for right here.
Snapseed's context-sensitive tools make it a truly exceptional photo editing app
1. Google Snapseed
Google Snapseed is a fantastic app that puts many desktop photo editors to shame with sheer amount of features that are packed inside.
On top of the usual cropping and rotation tools, it also features options that allow you to modify depth of field, perspective (ideal for compensating for distortion created by your phone camera’s fixed lens), curves and brightness.
One of Snapseed's most interesting tools is Expand, which calculates what the area surrounding the subject probably looks like and uses this data to make the canvas larger – kind of like Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill. Weather your expectations, though, as because of the nature of the tool, it’ll work better on a plain or abstract background, rather than out on the street.
Snapseed is also useful for selfies and other portrait photos. It has a useful feature that recognizes faces in pictures and allows you to subtly change the direction they're facing. The app can also identify and brighten faces automatically.
Snapseed also, of course, offers a huge variety of filters, and they’re all fully customizable. This sounds like a lot, we know, but you can breathe easy – Snapseed also offers video lessons to help you master certain filters and tools.
With all of these fantastic features, it’d be hard not to crown Snapseed as the best photo editing app for Android devices, and we hope to see a version for desktops soon.
[Adobe Photoshop Express]
The Photoshop Express app features smart filters that fix common problems with a single tap
2. Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express brings a selection of Adobe's best photo editing tools together in a streamlined app that's easy to use even on a tiny touchscreen.
Before you do anything with these tools, though, you'll need to sign up for a free Adobe ID using an email address, Facebook account or Google account. You can use this ID to use other Adobe products and services later. Or, if you already have an Adobe ID, of course, you can just use that here.
Once that's out of the way, you can select a photo to edit from your mobile device, take a new photo with the camera or even use an image from the Adobe Creative Cloud. This is an especially useful way to streamline your workflow and makes all your pictures available on whatever device you happen to be using.
Photoshop Express, of course, offers all the basic editing tools you'd expect, including rotate, crop, red-eye correction and brightness adjustment. What makes it stand well above the pack however, is its selection of smart filters designed to correct common issues, including color temperature, fogging and exposure problems. There's also a wide variety of borders and artistic effects, all of which can be adjusted using simple sliders.
Once you’re done editing, you can save the finished photo to your device, upload it to Adobe Creative Cloud or share it using any social media app you have installed.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Factune makes it easy to tweak selfies and other portraits before sharing them online
If you’re the type of person who can’t stop taking selfies, and you’re looking to touch them up a little bit, Facetune is going to be your new favorite app.
This sly photo editing app will let you adjust colors, whiten teeth, blur any imperfections, and even completely reshape your face with just a few taps and swipes. All you have to do is pick the tool you want, swipe through the tutorial (or just ignore it if you like to live dangerously), then apply the desired effect directly to the picture with your finger. It literally couldn’t be easier.
It’s best used moderately – tap and hold the blue button on the bottom right to toggle between the original photo and the edited one and make sure you haven’t seriously gone overboard, and watch out for things like patterned backgrounds that might be distorted by less judicious use of the warp tools.
Once you've finished tweaking your photo, you can add a filter and then either share it on social media or save it to your device.
Prisma's creative filters are leagues ahead of other photo editing apps
You may be understandably skeptical about apps that claim to replicate artistic styles, and it makes sense – the ‘drawing’ and ‘painting’ filters included in many photo editors are downright terrible. Prisma is the exception, and once you’ve tried it, we think you’ll be convinced.
Although additional filters are available as in-app purchases, there’s a very generous selection included free of charge.
You can share your creations on a special Prisma feed, which works in a similar way to Instagram, save it to your device, send it via messaging or email, or share it on any social media app.
Even if you decide to keep the results to yourself, Prisma is great fun to play around with, and the results are very impressive.
A superb photo app, though the Android version isn't quite as polished as its iOS equivalent
VSCO is like a more advanced version of Instagram, it has a community feature that lets you follow other VSCO photographers. You can search for contacts and Facebook friends to follow, but since it’s a relatively niche app, you might not know many other users.
VSCO offers all of the tools that you’d expect from a high quality Android photo editing app, including exposure, contrast and temperature correction, as well as a very useful alignment tool for straightening horizons. There are also fade settings, and tools for skewing your image and adjusting tints.
The selection of ambient filters isn’t huge, but the ones provided are very atmospheric and are adjustable via a simple slider.
Once you’re done, you can share your image with VSCO’s community, send it straight to Facebook, or share it via any social networking or messaging app.
The only disadvantage is that you can’t simply save it to your device; instead, you have to email it to yourself or save it to a cloud storage service.
The first time you use VSCO, you’ll also be offered a seven-day trial of VSCO X, which includes various presets and tools that are normally only available for a subscription fee. Bear in mind that you'll be asked to enter payment details before starting the trial and you'll be charged automatically if you don't cancel before the period is up, so you might prefer to skip this and go straight to the free version.