6 of the Best Photo-Editing Apps for iOS

Ios Photo Editing Apps Featured

While it’s true that iOS a photo editor built into the Photos app, we’re sure that 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 plenty of options. Check out some of the best photo-editing apps for iOS.

1. Affinity Photo

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

Ios Photo Editing Apps Affinity Photo

This photo editor takes full advantage of the additional computing power available on modern iPads, with desktop-class photo-editing tools at your fingertips. While a touch interface limits the brute force power of the app, the selection tools are well adapted for touch and provide a multitude of creative possibilities.

Affinity Photo supports PSD files too. If you’re disappointed with Adobe’s iPad version of Photoshop, you will find an excellent replacement here. The app is priced at $9.99 and comes without subscriptions or anything similar, which is always refreshing to see.

2. Snapseed

Google’s Snapseed app is an impressive photo editor, especially when you consider the price tag. It won’t cost you a cent, and it’s the only app we found in the App Store that offered direct curves adjustments without additional fees.

Ios Photo Editing Apps Snapseed

If you’re not familiar with curves, they’re a staple of every serious photo-editing app and an especially intuitive tool for editing images by touch. Their inclusion in the Snapseed app makes it worth recommending on its own, but the broad collection of photo-editing tools alongside curves are commendable as well.

While a recent redesign has made the app a little more disorganized than it used to be, the touch-first controls make complicated edits easy to apply and adjust. Once you have a look you like, you can save it as a personal filter for use again and 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’s Lightroom. For millions of photography enthusiasts and professionals, Lightroom is their go-to tool, available across many devices and platforms. You can use it on your iPhone and iPad, as well as on your Mac. There’s even a version for Apple TV.

Ios Photo Editing Apps Lightroom

The reason Lightroom is so popular is its combination of simple-to-use yet handy tools. Needless to say, you’ll get to adjust your photo’s exposure, brightness, highlights, shadows, and colors. Additionally, add texture, clarity, dehaze your photos, and a lot more. And of course, Lightroom also brings millions of highly attractive presets, both free of charge and premium-priced.

You can start using Lightroom for free, which gives you access to plenty of basic-level features (still enough to make a drastic impact on your photos). However, a premium subscription is needed to unlock the app, ranging from $4.99 to $19.99 per month.

4. Afterlight

Photography enthusiasts will say that Afterlight is a more affordable alternative to Lightroom. And up to a certain point, they’re right. That’s because Afterlight gives you over 20 tools – ranging from light and color adjustments to texture and shifting colors.

Ios Photo Editing Apps Afterlight

However, Afterlight’s photo-editing tools can do so much more. Thanks to tools such as selective hue, saturation, lightness controls, advanced tone, and luminance curves, even professional photographers will have plenty to explore.

However, Afterlight isn’t popular, due only to its highly capable set of photo-editing tools. What stands out here is the app’s selection of filters, textures, and overlays. With Lightroom, you have to find presets on the Web or create them manually. With Afterlight, you get instant access to more than 130 filters created by professional photographers, as well as more than 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 membership priced from $2.99 to $17.99. You can also get a lifetime membership, which will cost you $35.99.

5. Pixelmator

For a very long time now, Pixelmator has been a true example of a brilliant iOS photo-editing app. This app’s developers aren’t afraid to dive deep into iOS and iPadOS, taking full advantage of iPhones and iPads. And with that said, it doesn’t come as a surprise to know that Pixelmator is for more advanced individuals.

Ios Photo Editing Apps Pixelmator

In terms of photo editing, Pixelmator gives you the highest possible level of control. Of course, there’s the standard set of controls that let you apply presets as well as adjust your photo’s brightness, contrast, saturation, and more. This app enables you to repair and clone parts of your image, apply distortion effects, and dive into color tuning.

There’s also a whole different side to Pixelmator, which also acts as a painting app. This is one of the pioneers of double-texture and color-picking brushes in iOS, allowing you to sketch, draw, paint, and spray color. And yes – the app works perfectly with an Apple Pencil as well.

Pixelmator comes with regular updates, expanding its features every couple of months. And also, it comes as 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 simple 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 the light-touch approach of Instagram’s photo editor and expands on it dramatically, allowing for a broad range of easily-controllable editing options.

Ios Photo Editing Apps Vsco

These options are mostly collected around stylistic tweaks, allowing for modern touches like tinted shadows and highlights as well as more basic brightness and contrast adjustments. VSCO also offers a truly attractive gallery of appealing photo filters, with some free options in the app and other filter packs available for purchase.

If you want a modern, trendy look for your snaps, these can save you the trouble of editing your images for that particular effect. Photos can be saved to your library or pushed to social sharing platforms.

Wrapping Up

With this list of the best photo-editing apps for iOS, if you’re looking to create somewhat different photos, you can also check out the best photo collage apps for iPhone. Also, learn more about the best photo editors (for simple edits) for your Mac.

Isaac Norman
Isaac Norman

Isaac is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience covering the latest technological innovations. Mainly focused on Apple-related software and hardware systems, his aspiration is to explore all the ways today's digital world intertwines with our everyday life.

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