The 10 Best Photo Editing Apps For iPhone (2016 Edition)

Editing your iPhone photos can dramatically improve their visual impact, turning an ordinary photo into an amazing one! But with so many image editing apps available, how do you know which ones to choose? If you’re new to editing photos with your iPhone, it can be difficult to make sense of all the options. In this article you’ll discover the 10 best photo editing apps that the top iPhone photographers recommend.

Best Photo Editing Apps

1. Snapseed

If you ask any group of iPhone photographers for a list of their best photo editing apps, it’s likely that most of them would include Snapseed in their list.

Best Photo Editing Apps – Snapseed

Snapseed is one of the most popular photo editing apps for the iPhone, and for good reason. It’s incredibly easy to use, but at the same time it offers a powerful collection of tools that can take your photos from “okay” to “wow!”

Snapseed excels in all basic photo processing techniques, including exposure and color adjustments, sharpening, cropping and straightening.

It also offers advanced editing and brush tools to make selective adjustments, as well as a healing tool for removing small unwanted objects from your photos.

In addition to these, there’s a great selection of creative filters that you can use to convert your photos to black and white, apply textures, add blur effects, and otherwise enhance the mood of your images.

If you’re new to iPhone photography, this really should be one of the first apps you download and learn.

Snapseed is available for FREE from the App Store.

Learn how to use Snapseed with our in-depth editing tutorials:
How To Use Snapseed’s Essential iPhone Photo Editing Tools
How To Use Snapseed’s Advanced Photo Editing Tools
How To Use Snapseed Filters To Create Wonderful Mood In Your iPhone Photos

2. VSCO

Another very popular editing app is VSCO. While this app also functions as a camera app, it’s the rich collection of filters and editing tools that attracts iPhone photographers to this app.

Best Photo Editing Apps – VSCO

VSCO (Visual Supply Company) have built their reputation in the photo world by creating unique film emulation presets that can be used with the desktop software Adobe Lightroom. Luckily for mobile photographers, they’ve packed much of that editing power into this fantastic app.

Unlike other apps where the filters can be a little harsh, VSCO’s filters are generally designed to emulate classic and modern analog films.

Many of the filters feature a soft, slightly faded look that’s quickly become very popular amongst mobile photographers.

The strength of every filter can be adjusted to suit your taste, and the app also features a number of highly-effective editing and adjustment tools.

VSCO is FREE on the App Store and comes with a basic collection of filters to get you started. You can then download additional bundles of filters from within the app if you wish. Some can be downloaded for free but others have to be purchased for a small fee.

Learn how to use this app with our in-depth tutorial on VSCO shooting and editing.

3. Filterstorm Neue

Filterstorm Neue offers many of the features and editing control of more powerful desktop applications like Lightroom and Photoshop, but in a mobile-friendly format.

Best Photo Editing Apps – Filterstorm Neue

If you’re interested in learning more advanced editing techniques and taking your photography to another level, it’s worth investing some time in learning how to use this app.

In addition to all of the typical photo editing tools, Filterstorm Neue includes one of the best mobile implementations of a powerful Curves control for fine-tuning brightness and contrast.

It takes a bit of time to learn how to use a Curves tool effectively, but once you do, you may never want to use adjustment sliders again!

One additional feature that really sets Filterstorm Neue apart from the rest is that you can selectively apply adjustments through a number of tools, including a powerful masking brush as well as radial and linear gradient filters.

If you’re looking to move beyond basic photo editing with your iPhone, Filterstorm Neue is the next logical step.

Filterstorm Neue is available for $3.99 on the App Store.

4. Enlight

Enlight has an extensive collection of basic and advanced editing tools, as well as a selection of more whimsical and artistic effects for getting really creative with your images.

Best Photo Editing Apps – Enlight

With so many features, this app can take a bit of time to fully understand, but each tool is very intuitive in how it works. Additionally, Enlight has one of the best built-in Help features available in any app.

The first time you access any tool, a quick visual animation or guide appears on the screen to show you exactly how to use that tool. These “tool tips” can be accessed at any time thereafter by simply swiping down from the top of the screen.

Enlight is available for $3.99 from the App Store.

Learn how to use Enlight with our in-depth tutorials:
How To Use Enlight App For Powerful iPhone Photo Editing
How To Create Unique iPhone Digital Art With Enlight App

5. Mextures

Sooner or later you’ll want to experiment with applying textures and other creative effects to your iPhone photos. While there are many worthy apps for doing this, the one that’s often mentioned first by many top mobile artists is Mextures.

Best Photo Editing Apps – Mextures

Not only does this app offer a wide range of textures, grains and light leaks, but each of them is fully adjustable and you can combine as many as you want through an easy-to-use layering approach.

Mextures does take a bit of time to learn how to take full advantage of its features, but you can get started in no time by using a wide range of preset “formulas.”

The creative options available in mextures really are endless, and it’s the perfect app for creating your own unique editing style.

Mextures is available for $1.99 on the App Store.

Check out our step-by-step tutorial to learn how to use Mextures to add wonderful textures to your iPhone photos.

6. TouchRetouch

Many apps now offer the ability to remove unwanted elements from a photo, but TouchRetouch is dedicated solely to this purpose and it’s still one of the easiest and most effective to use.

Best Photo Editing Apps – TouchRetouch

Using your finger, you can quickly and easily highlight the objects (or parts of objects) that you want to remove (shown in red). When you tap “Start” the app removes the unwanted objects and replaces them with pixels from the surrounding area.

Removing more complicated elements may take a few tries to get it perfect, but TouchRetouch makes it easy to start over if you’re not happy with the results.

TouchRetouch is available for $1.99 on the App Store.

Learn how to remove unwanted objects from your iPhone photos with our in-depth tutorial on TouchRetouch.

7. SKRWT

One drawback of having a fixed wide-angle lens on the iPhone is that it often results in somewhat “distorted” images where the image looks bent or stretched.

This is a common issue with all manner of wide angle lenses and it’s most noticeable with architectural photos and other images that feature strong lines where the “curving” effect is most pronounced.

Best Photo Editing Apps – SKRWT

With SKRWT, you can quickly and easily correct these distortions. This helps ensure that your final image more closely resembles how the scene looked to your naked eye. You could of course take a “normal” image and distort it in SKRWT for dramatic effect.

There are other apps that offer this type of functionality, including Snapseed and Enlight, but SKRWT is solely focused on this type of editing and is still one of the better options.

SKRWT is available for $1.99 on the App Store.

Learn how to correct perspective in your iPhone photos with our in-depth tutorial on SKRWT.

8. AfterFocus

AfterFocus is another specialty app in that it really only does one key thing, but it does it very well. This app allows you to imitate the shallow depth of field effect that can typically only be achieved with a DSLR.

Best Photo Editing Apps – AfterFocus

Shallow depth of field is when only your main subject is in focus and the background appears blurred. AfterFocus provides a very user-friendly way of achieving this effect.

You simply mark your image as to where the foreground and background are. You can even add a natural-looking bokeh effect where the background highlights are rendered as soft circles/hexagons.

This app can be especially useful for drawing the viewer’s attention to your main subject if the background is a bit busy and distracting.

AfterFocus is available for $0.99 on the App Store.

9. Lens Distortions

There are many apps on the market these days that allow you to add lighting effects and textures to your iPhone photos, but Lens Distortions is one of the best.

Best Photo Editing Apps – Lens Distortions

What really sets Lens Distortions apart from other similar apps is that all of the filters are created from actual photos of those same elements.

All of the effects are derived from optically-captured elements, including actual sunlight (Light Hits collection), haze (Fog collection), fragments of glass (Legacy collection), as well as a unique “Shimmer” collection.

Adding these images to your photos is remarkably easy and intuitive, and it’s great fun playing around in this app to see what sort of new creations you can come up with.

Lens Distortions is available for FREE from the App Store, but it only comes with a basic collection of effects. Additional effects are available as in-app purchases, and they’re definitely worth it.

10. Superimpose

If you want to get more creative and start compositing multiple images into a single photo, one of the best options is Superimpose.

Best Photo Editing Apps – Superimpose

If you’re not already familiar with masking and layering images, this app does require a bit of experimentation to learn, but it really isn’t that hard and can be learned in less than 30 minutes.

You can use Superimpose for a wide range of compositing effects, from simply removing an unwanted background from your image to creating truly unique compositions. With this app, you’re only limited by your imagination!

Superimpose is available for $0.99 on the App Store.

Learn how to use this app in our step-by-step Superimpose tutorial.

The 100 Best iPhone Photography Apps

If you’d like to learn about more iPhone photography apps, we’ve created a free report in which we review the 100 best iPhone photography apps.

100 Best iPhone Photo Apps

Conclusion

Whether you’re brand new to iPhone photography or simply looking for a new app to add to your “camera bag,” hopefully this list has given you some inspiration for new apps to try out.

The key to successful post-processing is to just use a handful of the best photo editing apps, and learn to use them to their full potential. That way you can quickly and easily enhance your iPhone photos using the best tools available for the job. Happy editing!

If you also want to take incredible photos with your iPhone, please join 138,712 subscribers who receive our free iPhone photography email tips that you won’t find anywhere on this website.

  • Mat

    Awesome post, Kate! I love using Snapseed and VSCO (thanks to your list last year). I think I’m going to try AfterFocus next. These lists are awesome!

    • Glad to hear you find these lists helpful Mat! Have fun with AfterFocus, and do let us know how you get on with it 🙂

  • carlos9a

    Am I the only one who pronounces SKRWT as “screw it” or is that the actual way it’s meant to be said? 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lens Distortions before. I’m going to certainly try it out. Thanks for this list!

    • I do believe that is how you pronounce SKRWT! Lens Distortions is a really great app. We’d love to hear how you get on with it. Happy editing 🙂

  • Cyndi

    Is there an app that would let me take a image, copy it and place it side by side?

    On my PC, I use Photoshop or Fireworks to do this.

    • David Rondeau

      You could use Leonardo, which has good layer functionality. Once you have the image as a layer, you can just duplicate it, move it, and repeat. In fact, I think Leonardo is the one app that I think should be on this list, but isn’t.

    • If you mean put a copy of an entire image next to itself (rather than overlaying an element within the same image) then something like Diptic should do the trick.

    • Cyndi

      Each of the old ladies is one image. I put an image on a canvas, in Adobe Fireworks on my computer, and then copy and paste it until I get five.

  • Katherine Laris

    Looking for an app that allows two images side by side, but juxtaposed. Like this:

    • eu

      photogrid!

  • maxiheat

    “pixilmaker ” is favorite if mine(I use an iPad mini though) as well as “you doodle pro”(which is more of an drawing app and the simplicity of it is what draws me to it) there is an app called toolwiz photos for android is there a similar app for iOS?

  • Mario

    I like this list, thank you.
    I am looking for an app to handle noise in pictures, i hate take pictures at night or even with out enough ligth becose the noise. I m pretty sure that there is some app that can help me.

  • Touchretouch was incredibly easy and took only 30 seconds of effort to remove the elements I wanted to remove. I highly recommend it!

    • TouchRetouch is great isn’t it! Such a useful app 🙂

  • alegna

    Do any of these allow you to add text to the pic?

    • Austin

      Yes, Enlight offers a function to be able to add text with multiple font options. It also has a collection of preset “artistically done” phrases that you can throw into your photo for an additional effect.

  • Laine Rudolfa

    This would require applying textures using, for example, iColorama app. Also you’d have to remove the background and Superimpose app is the best for that. 🙂

  • malekjamal1998

    What do you think of Polarr? I’ve tried it and found it very efficient…

    • Laine Rudolfa

      This app is pretty good. If you’re used to its interface and find its features suitable for your editing style, I’d suggest to stick with it. 🙂

  • Steven Zhong

    Does anyone know the name of this app? Thanks!!

    • Laine Rudolfa

      It seems that the photo was created using Jittergram app.

  • deefaat

    does anyone know what app or filter is this? thanks.

    • Laine Rudolfa

      This could be created using Mextures or VSCO cam app.

  • Thank you for this list. I find most of my own favorite mobile photo tools included. Mostly, I am using Snapseed, SKRWT, Enlight, Camera+ and sometimes Pixelmator. I’ve tried VSCOcam and Mextures and really liked them, but found it a bit hard to retrieve filters I was looking for. I’ll give them another try now after having read your article.

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Glad you enjoyed the article! VSCO cam has a lot of extra filters that you can buy within the app. Maybe you can find some good ones there! 🙂

  • kjsdjjj

    Does anyone know the name of this two app’s? =)

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Duplication effect can be achieved with Enlight app. As for the second photo, it seems that there is a filter applied. This can be achieved in apps like VSCO cam or Mextures. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Georgia Barlow

    Hi there! Will there be an in depth tutorial or review of Filterstorm Neue made at some point? Rob DePaolo often mentions this app as his favourite for editing but I’d like to know more about it before purchasing and it will be helpful for when I do. Thanks heaps!!

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Thanks for your suggestion, Georgia! We’ll definitely keep it in mind. 🙂
      For now we don’t have any in depth tutorials, but you can check out this article which covers creating depth of field using Filterstorm Neue and other apps – http://iphonephotographyschool.com/depth-of-field/

  • Jaqueline Saucedo

    Anybody know what app this is ?

    • Laine Rudolfa

      This looks like very strong HDR effect. Similar look can be created using Drama Filter in Snapseed app. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • Lyrikal

      zSnapseed

  • Matthew

    Surprised that Facetune didn’t make the list.

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Facetune is great for portrait editing, but we find these 10 apps the most powerful on the market. 🙂

  • Paul

    Pixelmator and Lightroom Mobile are the best ones I’ve found and I’ve used pretty much all of these so you might want to consider taking a look at those two –
    1) Adobe Lightroom Mobile – free on the App Store
    2)Pixelmator – 5.99 (I think😬) on the App Store

    Hope this helps!😄

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Thanks for suggesting your favorite apps, Paul! 🙂

  • Caitlyn Bosley

    I’m new to photography and was wondering, which app out of these, lets me stack photos and still do photoshop techniques? So far the best I can do with the regular camera app are these two.

    • Laine Rudolfa

      I’d suggest to go for Enlight app. It has a lot of powerful features and you can combine several photos as well. 🙂

    • Caitlyn Bosley

      Great, thanks 🙂

  • Laine Rudolfa

    Thanks for sharing, Michal. 🙂 This one is for Android though.

  • Albaner 18

    hello I really like your tips, it would help me if you tell me which app are these photos made of

    • Laine Rudolfa

      The B&W conversion can be done in almost any kind of app, for example, Snapseed. Also, you can add fade in multiple apps, even in the iPhone’s native editing tool by adjusting the “Black point” under the “Light” section. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • I’m looking for a photo editing app that doesn’t down sample the original image. I have been using PicsArt and really like it, although now that I’m using a DSLR it’s down sampling my photos to about the size my iphone photos are.

    • Laine Rudolfa

      To avoid resizing or resolution loss, I’d suggest to use apps like Snapseed that allows you to save full resolution photos. 🙂

  • BBB1984

    hey guys can someone please tell me which app can be used to create a similar photo with these geometric shapes? Thank you!

    • Laine Rudolfa

      It seems that this image was created using 2 different photos. You can mix images together using apps like Superimpose or Enlight. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • BBB1984

      thanks Laine! I found out that they used Pixlr. Just thought the second photo on the parliament building was like a geometric filter on something!

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Thanks for the note! Yes, it could be that the other photo is a filter. Hope you’ll achieve a similar effect with the Pixlr app. 🙂

    • Juanita Manis

      You can also create this effect using Image Blender, which is a great app for superimposing 2 photos.

  • Archie Stephenson

    Hi. Starting to experiment with iphone photos. Is there an app that will allow me to edit a portion of a photo while keeping the rest of the photo unedited? For example, increasing exposure makes parts of a photo look better and other parts worse, so I want to edit certain areas of pictures.

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Sure, you can apply selective edits using apps like Snapseed, which is a free app on the app store! 🙂

  • Bilz

    Any idea where i can find a filter like these two!? thanks

    • Je-ann

      You may create your own filter that can look like this using Filterstorm Neue. Enlight may also have some presets that looks similar to that.

    • ExplorerMax

      In vsco, you could choose a black and white filter and then change the highlights color to pink, purple, or any other color option.

  • Adventurous Andrea

    Does anyone know how to make images like these? 🙂 (the background of the second one, not the technology images added in.)

    • Laine Rudolfa

      It seems that these could be created with vector drawing apps like Inkpad or iDesign. 🙂

  • Mariah

    Can someone tell me what app I can use to make my photos look like these? Thank you!

    • Laine Rudolfa

      Looks like filters from VSCO app. 🙂

    • Mariah

      thank you!

    • ExplorerMax

      If using VSCO, “E” class will get you closest to this look. May add some cream highlights.

    • ExplorerMax

      looks like Retica’s “680 Cool” filter

  • Pankaj Joshi

    Found an interesting new app ‘Picazzy’ on App Store. Its effects are quite new and different. A bit slow, but I found the outcome worth it

  • João Pedro Santos

    Hey guys can someone please tell me which app is this filter from?
    Thanks a lot!

    • Laine Rudolfa

      This could be VSCO app or Mextures app. 🙂

  • Shivitee

    From which app can we get this kind of effect plz?
    Thnk u !! 🙂

  • YoGoerz

    Is Pixelmator not THE app to have any more?

  • Juanita Manis

    You can do the same thing TouchRetouch does using Snapseed, which is FREE. Just go to TOOLS > Healing. It’s easy to use.

  • Juanita Manis

    I would add Hipstamatic and Mextures to this list, if you are into adding filters to your images. Also, I find Squareready the best app for keeping my photos’ original proportions for Instagram.

  • Perrypelican

    What about Leonardo. How can Leonardo be excluded from a list like this?

    • Lisa Jo Rudy

      it’s always tough to select the “top ten,” and Leonardo is a lot of fun!