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

How do you find the best photo editing apps for your iPhone photography? With so many editing apps available, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose when working on your images. In this article you’ll discover the 10 best photo editing apps that the top iPhone photographers recommend – from one-touch filter apps to advanced creative editing.

Best iPhone Photo Editing Apps 2016 7

1. Snapseed

All-purpose photo editor for image enhancements and corrections:

  • Exposure, color and sharpening adjustments
  • Crop, rotate, straighten, correct perspective
  • Selective adjustments, brushes, healing tool
  • Vignette, filters, HDR, black and white
  • Frames and text

Best iPhone Photo Editing Apps 2016 4

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.

This app excels in all basic photo processing techniques, including exposure, color, sharpening, cropping and straightening. It also offers advanced editing features such as selective adjustments and a healing tool for removing unwanted objects.

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

Elegant filter presets and a great selection of image adjustment tools:

  • Beautiful and subtle one-tap presets
  • Adjustable filter strength
  • Large range of presets available to download
  • Image adjustment tools for exposure, color and other enhancements
  • Integrated camera and photo sharing platform

Best Photo Editing Apps – VSCO

VSCO (pronounced visco) is another very popular photo editing app. While this app also functions as a camera app and photo sharing platform, it’s the rich collection of filters and user-friendly editing tools that really make it stand out.

Unlike other apps where the filters can be garish and overpowering, VSCO’s presets are designed to emulate classic and modern analog films. Many of the filters feature a soft, slightly faded look that’s quickly become very popular on Instagram.

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 for fine-tuning your image.

VSCO is FREE on the App Store and comes with a basic collection of presets to get you started. You can then download additional preset bundles if you wish – some are free while others must be purchased.

Learn how to use VSCO with our in-depth tutorials:
VSCO Tutorial: How To Shoot & Edit Incredible iPhone Photos
How To Use VSCO Filters To Create Beautiful iPhone Photos

3. Filterstorm Neue

Powerful app for advanced photo editing:

  • Masking tools for selective editing
  • Advanced tools such as curves, levels, tone map and channel mixer
  • Clone tool for removing and replacing objects
  • Clarity, sharpening, noise reduction, watermarking
  • Adjustable preset filters

Best iPhone Photo Editing Apps 2016 5

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

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

Another feature that really sets Filterstorm Neue apart 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 image editing with your iPhone, Filterstorm Neue is one the best photo editing apps out there.

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

4. Enlight

All-in-one photo editor with creative and artistic tools:

  • Selective control over exposure, color and details
  • Built-in masking within every tool for seamless blending of effects
  • Crop, rotate, straighten, correct perspective
  • Filters, gradients, light leaks, vignettes
  • Black and white, painterly and sketch effects
  • Clone tool for removing unwanted defects
  • Double-exposure, tilt-shift, photo montages
  • Drawing tools, text, borders and frames

Best Photo Editing Apps – 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.

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.

Whether you want to perform a simple edit or create an artistic masterpiece, you can do it all within Enlight.

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

Apply textures, grains and light leaks for beautifully creative edits:

  • Grit, grain, grunge and vintage film textures
  • Analog light leaks and beautiful gradients
  • Stack and blend effects using layers
  • Fine tune images with adjustment tools and presets
  • Save, share and import “formulas”

Best Photo Editing Apps – 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 mobile artists is 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 feature.

It can take a bit of time to learn how to take full advantage of Mexture’s 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 one of the best photo editing apps 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

Remove unwanted blemishes and objects from your photos:

  • Use the brush or lasso to select the object you want to remove
  • Let the app automatically replace your selection with surrounding pixels
  • Perfect for removing dust spots and wires from sky or other backgrounds
  • Remove people and other objects to create a cleaner composition
  • Eliminate sun spots and flares
  • Retouch portraits by removing blemishes and smoothing out wrinkles

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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.

Using your finger, you can quickly and easily highlight the objects (or parts of objects) that you want to remove. When your object is highlighted in red, simply tap “Start” and the app automatically removes the selection, replacing that area 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

Straighten converging lines by correcting perspective and lens distortion:

  • Correct horizontal and vertical perspective distortion
  • Straighten converging lines (great for architecture shots of tall buildings)
  • Fix distortion from wide-angle and other lenses
  • Crop, straighten and rotate

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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. It’s most noticeable with architectural photos of tall buildings where the lines appear to converge towards the top. With SKRWT, you can quickly and easily correct these distortions and straighten converging lines.

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 best 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

Blur the background to create DSLR-like shallow depth of field:

  • Select the focus area with your finger, and let the app blur the background
  • Choose from various aperture styles
  • Control the amount of blur
  • Use the motion blur effect to create a sense of movement
  • Enhance your image with a variety of filter effects

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AfterFocus is a specialty app designed to imitate the shallow depth of field effect that can typically only be achieved with a DSLR or close-up photography.

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 use your finger to mark the foreground and background areas, then the app automatically blurs the background. 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 busy and distracting. It also has a motion blur option to create the appearance of movement.

AfterFocus is available for $0.99 on the App Store.

9. Lens Distortions

Enhance your photos with sun flares, fog, and other shimmering light effects:

  • Apply a variety of light and other atmospheric overlays
  • Adjust the overlay’s opacity, brightness and more
  • Layer multiple overlays on a single image
  • 100% optically captured effects

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

What really sets Lens Distortions apart from other similar apps is that all of the filters/overlays are created from actual photos of those same elements, including actual sunlight (Light Hits collection), haze (Fog collection), fragments of glass (Legacy collection), as well as a unique “Shimmer” collection.

Adding these elements 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.

Frame your shots with beautiful shards of glass. Draw your viewer’s eye with organic light hits. Or create atmospheric depth with glistening particles of light or fog.

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

Combine and blend multiple photos into a single composite image:

  • Superimpose one photo onto another
  • Create double-exposure images
  • Replace parts of an image with a different photo
  • Blend textures onto an image
  • Mask out unwanted portions of a photo

Best Photo Editing Apps – Superimpose

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

Best Photo Editing 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.

iphone-photography-tips-1

Of course, it’s worth remembering that no amount of editing can turn a bad photo into a good one. So always start out with the best image possible.

If you want to improve your photography so that you have even better images to edit, check out this tutorial where you’ll discover 10 iPhone photography tips to quickly improve your photos.

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

  • 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 🙂

    • Steve Duffey

      Is TouchRetouch the same technology that is in HandyPhoto?

    • Yes, I believe it does the same thing – although Handy Photo also offers other photo editing tools.

  • 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.

    • Firefighterswife928

      TouchRetouch is very intuitive and usually does a better job.

  • 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.

    • Firefighterswife928

      Mextures IS in the list.

  • 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!

  • Rieanna

    Can anyone tell me an app that’ll allow me to make my photos like this? 🌞

    • Lisa Jo Rudy

      This looks like double exposure – which can be done using an app like Superimpose. You’d take one image and then superimpose it over the other — you can also adjust the amount of opacity, so the effect can be subtle or intense.

  • emasttt
  • ashley

    I just love this girls photos. Can anyone tell me what filter makes it appear like this. Always has a pinkish tint to it…

  • Yusef

    How do you create this effect?

  • Abdullah

    Great article but I’m asking you guys why don’t you use procam3? It’s one of the best 👍

    • It is definitely a great app – but while it does contain some photo editing features, we would consider this to be more of a camera app rather than an editing app – which is one reason we didn’t include it in the list of best editing apps. Glad you enjoy using it though 🙂

  • Bob J

    Hope it will be useful for those who are looking for iOS app that can crop/resize photos to specific dimensions with accuracy of 1 pixel. It also works in batch mode.

    Crop-Size – 4.99 on the App Store

    Cheers!

  • Norma Jean

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e8498a4cc5c55d991be827bf0cf8b4704e77caa231a7f8508b0e8e39debf548.png

    Does anyone know with which app this was added on to a photo? (I cencured the text with a white part)

  • Erick Boileau

    and Pixelmator ? how can you forget it in a serious review ?