Although photo editing is often associated with laptops and desktop computers, developers of software are aware that tablets and mobile phones have become increasingly important. This guide to the top photo editing apps for mobile devices is focused on mobile devices. However, you will likely recognize many names that started out on the desktop and then moved to mobile.
We have considered the different options available on different platforms when determining the best photo editing software. There is something for everyone.
These are the top photo editing apps available, regardless of whether you own a smartphone or tablet, and no matter if you’re an advanced user or a beginner, these are the best photo editing tools currently available. After you are done editing your photos, we recommend you take a look at our guide to the top video editing apps .
- These are the top photo editors available for desktop computers.
The best photo editing apps for 2022
1. Affinity Photo (iPad).
Having presumably spotted a gap in the market, what with Adobe charging monthly for its pro-grade creative apps, Serif audaciously rocked up with the low-cost/high-quality Affinity Photo (opens in new tab). This iPad app was even more innovative and featured the same features as its desktop sibling.
It’s actually the same app, with minor interface tweaks to the touchscreen. You can create complex photo edits with multiple layers, and then apply effects in real time using an iPad that is powerful enough.
The app supports many formats, which is smart. It can load, edit, and save PSD. You can also use the dedicated pre-processing workspace to process raw files. There are many color options available, including non-destructive blend modes and color spaces. You also have the ability to save changes to a document and then revert them later.
This is desktop-grade, impressive stuff. If you have Photoshop experience, there is a learning curve. Affinity Photo, once you’re proficient in it, is the best mobile full-fat photo editor.
The best photo editor you can purchase and the best available for free. Snapseed was once a darling iPad app that Google bought. It is still in active development, however, for iPhone and Android.
You get a surprising number of tools and an interface that rewards all levels of users for a free app. You need to get the fastest possible fixes? Open a JPEG file or raw file. Next, go to the Looks tab and select a filter. Finally, export. You want to go deeper? You can find all the tools you need, from basic cropping and tuning, to grunge filters or grain.
Snapseed allows for non-destructive editing, which is a departure from other free food. You can turn back and forth on any of your previous changes in the edit stack. If you have a stack that you are happy with, you can save it and apply it to other photos by one click.
Snapseed, despite all its smarts, is not likely to tempt professionals from their desktop apps. However, Snapseed is a great freebie for quick fixes on the go.
3. Pixelmator Photo (iPad).
These days, we hear about how whole careers could be destroyed by the advent of the machine. Pixelmator Photo appears to be the first step towards replacing photo editors.
Drag a photo from your camera (raw support is available) and then tap the ML button. It will attempt to fix your photo automatically based on the information it has gleaned from 20 million professional images.
Is it possible to always succeed? No. No. Yet, the button often works.
ML is a starting place, not a destination. You can tap the tools button to open a sidebar that includes sliders. This will give you complete control over many adjustments. Any ML already affected will be labelled accordingly.
Add tons of presets, color substitution, and a few creative tools (monochrome, grain, and sepia) and you have a great deal – and the best quick-fix photo tool for iPad.
4. Adobe Lightroom
- Android (PSfree or from US$1.99/PS1.79/AU$2.99 per month)
- iPhone/iPad (PSfree or from US$1.99/PS1.99/AU$2.99 per month)
Lightroom is a powerful desktop app that allows you to manage and edit large collections of photos. Mobile for Android and iOS opens in new tab. The experience is simplified, but still offers a wide range of tools, regardless of whether or not you are an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber.
You get no-nonsense adjustments and fine-grained control for free. The ‘Lens Profile Correction’ switch allows you to quickly correct photos taken with your phone. Other tools, such as cropping and adjustment (light, color, effects, detail), are quick but can make subtle changes to images. All of it feels refined and focused.
The app allows you to immerse yourself in the Adobe ecosystem with smart perspective repair tools, selective adjustments, and healing. TouchRetouch mobile can replace the last one, but you get all the other great features if Creative Cloud is purchased. Lightroom is worth the investment, even if you don’t have Creative Cloud. It has a great mix of efficiency and class, smarts and quality.