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2024's Guide to the Best Photo Editing Apps

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May 21, 2024• Proven solutions

Have you ever snapped a photo and thought, "This could really pop with a little tweaking"? If so, you're not alone. Millions of people reach for their smartphones every day, looking for that perfect shot. Yet, sometimes either the light isn't right, or the moment isn't captured just as we hoped. But fear not, because the digital world has blessed us with tools to tweak, transform, and perfect our pictures on our phones.

Whether you want to enhance a single photo, edit a casual selfie/professional portfolio piece, or simply apply a quick filter for social media, there's an app for your needs.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the 10 best photo editing apps for both iPhone and Android that are currently making waves.

photo editor

 

Quick Glance: Top 3 Picks for Mobile Photo Editing Apps

Among the many options available in 2024, three apps have consistently stood out: Filmora, VSCO, and Apple Photos. These photo editing apps combine powerful editing tools with user-friendly interfaces, making them our top picks for iPhone and Android users:

Filmora

Filmora is fantastic for making composite images, which means you can blend different pics into one artwork. Plus, it lets you edit/manipulate images, add still images to videos and use images as overlays.

VSCO

This app is known for its wide range of stunning filters that can transform your photos from plain to professional with just a few taps. It's super user-friendly and a favorite among those looking to add that artistic flair to their everyday shots.

Apple Photos

Apple Photos is ideal for iPhone users looking for a no-cost photo editing app. It offers a solid range of editing tools that integrate seamlessly with your iOS ecosystem. This free photo editor is perfect for quick touch-ups and simple edits.

 

What makes the best photo editing app for iPhone or Android?

When choosing the best photo editing apps, it's easy to get swept away, as there are endless options, each promising magical results. However, many of these apps rely more on aggressive marketing and expensive subscriptions than on their actual merits. These apps might enhance your photos - after all, most editing tools will. But you might find yourself overpaying for basic features that you could get for free elsewhere in more user-friendly formats.

Here’s what we consider before an app makes the cut:

User-Friendly Interface

First things first, the app needs to be easy to navigate. No one wants to spend hours figuring out where the basic tools are or how to apply a simple filter. The best apps should make it easy to jump right in, with intuitive controls and a clean layout.

Powerful Editing Features

The app should offer a comprehensive suite of editing tools. This includes not just basic adjustments (like exposure, contrast, color, and cropping), but also advanced tools such as curves, HSL adjustments, and local edits. These features allow anyone to perform in-depth tweaking and fine-tuning of images.

Speed and Efficiency

Let’s be real, no one likes a laggy app. The app should be able to handle real-time editing smoothly without crashing. This is particularly true when you’re tweaking larger high-resolution images.

Fair and Transparent Pricing

The best photo editing app should come with fair pricing and be free of intrusive ads. Their pricing should be straightforward and justified by the features they offer, without hidden costs or tricks to lock you into a subscription.

Repeatable Results

The best apps should provide reliable, predictable results you can count on whenever you edit a photo. This consistency allows you to develop and refine your unique style without the app's quirks getting in the way.

 

How do we test the best photo editing apps for iPhone or Android?

We started by downloading different apps, paying close attention to the size and the permissions each app required. We thoroughly tested each photo editing app’s user interface to see if they are user-friendly for beginners and sufficiently advanced for experienced editors.

Next, we imported several images into each app to test both the basic and advanced editing features. We also assessed how responsive and versatile these features were and monitored the apps' performance and stability on various devices.

We also considered cost efficiency by comparing the value provided in both free and premium versions. Additionally, we reviewed the quality of customer support and the frequency of updates. Finally, we considered real user feedback to ensure our recommendations meet technical standards and reflect genuine user satisfaction.

Out of all the photo editing apps we tested, ten stood out as the clear winners. These apps didn't just perform well - they also produced high-quality outputs.

 

Best filter-based photo editing app for iPhone and Android

VSCO (iOS, Android)

vsco

VSCO is a versatile photo and video editing app that appeals to both beginners and professionals. It offers 16 free presets and supports RAW photo editing. Users can enhance their images with tools like Contrast, Saturation, Grain, and Fade or adjust perspectives with Crop and Skew. This photo editing software allows you to save and replicate favorite edits with its unique Recipes feature.

Pros

  • It allows users to easily correct lighting and color issues, enhancing even "perfect" photos.
  • Users praise the beautiful presets that maintain the original quality of photos.
  • The app is loved for its simple and clean design, making it easy for anyone to use.

Cons

  • Some users face a persistent issue where editing a photo results in a black screen

 

Best Android and iPhone app for adding still images on videos/editing

Filmora (iOS, Android)

filmora

With Filmora, you can easily overlay images onto video clips, and adjust image duration and position. Additionally, you can rotate, flip, create composite images and videos, and adjust the colors of your images to fit your vision perfectly. It is a robust photo editing software for both beginners and seasoned editors.

Pros

  • You can tweak the temperature, tint, contrast, saturation, and brightness of images to get the perfect look.
  • It's easy to adjust the transparency of overlays and experiment with different blending modes to achieve unique effects.
  • The user-friendly interface makes it easy for anyone to navigate and use the various photo editing features effectively.

Cons

  • Users have expressed a desire for Filmora to expand its range of filters, noting that the current selection feels somewhat limited.

 

Best free photo editing app for iPhone

Apple Photos (iOS)

apple photos

Apple Photos, while not the most advanced photo editor, offers convenience and simplicity. It's seamlessly integrated into your camera roll and completely free, making it perfect for quick edits right after you snap a picture. Just open your photo in the Photos app, tap "Edit," and you’ll have options to adjust crop, angle, and lighting, or to add filters. If you're not satisfied with the edits, a simple tap on "Cancel" lets you revert to the original image.

Pros

  • The app is equipped with a broad range of adjustments, which allows you to fine-tune exposure, color, and other elements.
  • With Apple Photos, you can manually set your crop by adjusting the grid tool, and use an intuitive wheel to straighten or tilt your photos.
  • The app provides options to rotate, flip, and adjust both vertical and horizontal perspectives.

Cons

  • Some users noted they experienced difficulty in placing text over an image

 

Best free image editing app for iPhone and Android

Snapseed (iOS, Android)

snapseed

Snapseed is a professional photo editor developed by Google. It allows editing of RAW DNG files, with options to save non-destructively or export as JPG. Users can adjust exposure and color either automatically or manually. The app enhances image details and offers standard or custom cropping. It also includes tools to rotate images, straighten skewed horizons, correct perspectives to perfect geometries, etc.

Pros

  • Snapseed has a user-friendly interface and robust editing tools.
  • Offers both quick enhancements and advanced editing capabilities.
  • Provides precise and diverse filters.
  • The app is fast and reliable.

Cons

  • Some users complained the app decreases the sharpness of pictures when they are opened for editing.

 

Best social media-based app for Android and iPhone

Instagram (iOS, Android)

instagram

Instagram allows users to edit photos taken or uploaded from their phones. Once a photo is selected, users can adjust various aspects like vertical or horizontal perspective, brightness, contrast, structure, warmth, and saturation. There's also an option to add and adjust the colors to the photo's shadows, highlights, and more.

Pros

  • This app allows you to enhance the brightest parts of your photo, bringing out hidden details.
  • By darkening the edges of your photos, the vignette effect naturally draws the viewer’s eye towards the center, emphasizing the subject.
  • It adds crispness to your photos, making every detail pop and giving your images a clearer appearance.

Cons

  • It lacks the extensive features found in specialized photo editing apps.

 

Best for more transformational edits like compositing or fine retouching

Adobe Lightroom (iOS, Android)

adobe lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is a trusted tool used by millions to create professional-quality photos and videos. It offers one-tap presets or filters that users can apply to pictures, videos, and reels. The photo editing software also has advanced tools for detailed retouching, object removal, background blurring, and other precise edits.

Pros

  • The interface is simple and user-friendly, facilitating an easy editing process.
  • It provides a diverse range of tools that enable unlimited editing techniques and styles.
  • The cost of the app is reasonable, providing good value.

Cons

  • The "remove or heal" feature in Adobe Lightroom tends to underperform when dealing with larger elements in photos, which can be frustrating.

 

Best AI photo editing app for Android and iPhone

Pixlr (Android, iOS)

pixlr

Pixlr is a free and user-friendly photo editor formerly known as Pixlr Express. It offers a robust editing experience without the need for account creation. Users can enhance their photos with over two million combinations of free effects, overlays, and filters.

Pros

  • You can effortlessly create collages with a selection of preset layouts, customizable grids, and backgrounds.
  • This free photo editing software easily removes blemishes, red eyes, and smooth skin. It also whitens teeth with its targeted correction tools.
  • You can modify the mood of your photos with overlays that can amplify warmth, and cool tones, or add surreal shades.

Cons

  • Some users noted they experienced frequent crashes during editing sessions.

 

Best free photo editing app for Android

Google Photos (iOS, Android)

google photos

Google Photos provides flexible editing tools that you can use on both mobile devices and computers. You can add filters, crop images, and more with the Google Photos app. If you enable backup, your edits will automatically sync across your Google Photos account.

Pros

  • Users can back up their photos and videos in either High quality or Original quality.
  • All your photos and videos are stored securely and remain private to you.
  • It allows users to apply content-aware filters, adjust lighting, and easily make other significant edits.

Cons

  • Google Photos does not have advanced editing tools

 

Best effect-based photo editing app for iPhone and Android

Aviary (iOS, Android)

aviary

Aviary is an intuitive photo editing app that allows users to enhance and personalize their images. It features a selection of natural filters to elevate your photos. The photo editing app also integrates powerful editing tools with stunning effects to unleash your creativity.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use photo editing tools for perfecting pictures.
  • Hundreds of categorized stickers to enhance collages.
  • Colorful texts with a variety of funky fonts for added expression.

Cons

  • Offers a limited selection of filters

 

Conclusion

In wrapping up our guide to the top photo editing apps for iPhone and Android in 2024, it's clear the market offers many options. Each app is designed to suit different editing styles and needs. From simple fixes to complex artistic creations, these apps provide a variety of features. After extensive research and testing, we have handpicked the best 10 apps. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you'll find a tool that fits your needs perfectly.

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FAQs

Q1: What should I look for in a top-notch photo editor?

A good photo editor should offer comprehensive editing tools, including layers, color correction, filters, and retouching options to handle a wide range of editing needs.

Q2: Can photo editors also handle video editing?

Yes, some photo editors can handle video editing as well. A tool like Filmora offers more comprehensive video editing capabilities. In other words, Filmora can handle photo and video editing tasks effectively.

Q3: Are there any professional photo editors available for free?

Yes, you can find professional-grade photo editing apps like Pixlr for free. In addition, apps like Filmora offer a free version where its full-featured editing tools and built-in effects and templates are free.

Q4: Which photo editor is the easiest for beginners to use?

Filmora, Adobe Lightroom and Apple Photos are great for starters. They feature user-friendly interfaces that are easily accessible to users of any skill level.

author avatar
Ollie Mattison
Ollie Mattison is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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