Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone and Android

Mobile editing is better and more advanced than ever before. Here’s our list of best editing apps for both iPhone and Android.

Person using a photo editing app on their iPhone.
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Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone and Android

Mobile editing is better and more advanced than ever before. Photographers these days are transferring files from their DSLR directly to their phone for a quick on-the-go edit in their app of choice. Why? It's a quick, convenient way to manage images that stand the test of time. Apps now carry multitudes of varying presets for any style and boast advanced features for ultimate post-processing jurisdiction. While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of different mobile editing apps, we took the burden of mulling through ones we simply cannot do without. Here’s our list of best editing apps for both iPhone and Android.

At A Glance…

  • The Most Popular - VSCO
  • The Most Experimental - Afterlight
  • The Most Organization-Friendly - Lightroom Mobile
  • The Most Spot-Removal Friendly - Snapseed
  • The One Android Users Can’t Use - Darkroom

VSCO


VSCO App - Photo of a money on a stool.

Unedited.

VSCO App - A monkey on a stool

Edited w/ VSCO.

To Know:

VSCO is one of, if not the most, popular photo and video editing application software available to creatives. It offers a variety of different presets, most of which emulate different film stocks, to slap on any image or video clips of your choosing. Its branding and UI/UX is perfectly sculpted for design-conscious individuals looking to take their photography to the next level. Users can also upload their VSCO images into a feed and follow other photographers whose work inspires them.

What We Love:

There are hundreds of preset options to choose from, which makes picking our favorite ones more difficult than any other program. They’re all so beautiful! We find that A6, AL5, M6, C3, and KP9 offer unique settings that make any image pop. While you aren’t able to adjust curves in the editing room, you are able to manually maneuver HSL toggles, play with exposure, and utilize split tone variations. VSCO is an outstanding way to share your favorite images and gain a following, without being socially wrapped up in numbers (since there is no current way to view followers / likes).

The Details:

App Name: VSCO

System: iOS and Android

Price: Free, but VSCO membership is $19.99/year with a free 7-day trial.

Type: Photo and Video Filters (and Sharing Platform)

Best For: Throwing on a fast filter, shareable content, and IG stories.

VSCO

Afterlight


Snapseed - Picture of a man inside a building's crack.

Unedited.

Afterlight - Man in building's crack.

Edited w/ Afterlight.

To Know:

Afterlight offers advanced features, such as curves, to manually adjust and edit any photograph of your choosing. While Afterlight does have an outstanding number of gorgeous presets, like VSCO, you’re able to add subtle effects to your images to really set apart the vibes. Add soft scratches and dust marks or create a glowly undertone to the highlights; it’s your chance to get creative with ways to differentiate your style amongst a pool of many others.

What We Love:

Afterlight strikes a balance between decent Instagramable manipulation and high power manual tools. Its UI gives you full control over what you want the final image to look like after editing. Its myriad of unique toolbox adjustments are a fun way to experiment with going beyond simple editing techniques. Users are also able to lock in exposure settings while tackling other points of interests, giving the photographer ultimate jurisdiction. It’s fun to circumnavigate out the tastefully organized catalog of tools, as well.

The Details:

App Name: Afterlight

System: iOS and Android

Price: $2.99 for a one-time download

Type: Photo Editing

Best For: Advanced editing techniques, experimental edits, Instagrammable baddies, and DSLR photographers in need of a fast edit.

Afterlight

Lightroom Mobile


Lightroom Mobile - Person in between the arms of another.

Unedited.

Lightroom Mobile - Person in between the arms of another.

Edited w/ Lightroom Mobile.

To Know:

Lightroom Mobile is a more condensed, compact version of Lightroom CC (made available for laptops, Macbooks, and PC’s). With swift ability to edit RAW files on the go, Lightroom Mobile is, by far, the most advanced option for mobile editing. It supports curve and selective adjustments, meaning photographers are able to edit only a select part of their image when choosing to. It properly handles metadata for all you organization freaks out there, as well as create web albums for easy access.. An important note to consider is that the app is only free for elective adjustments, meaning you will want to upgrade some of the aforementioned qualities.

What We Love:

It's advanced, plain and simple. Lightroom Mobile has the ability to sync well with other Adobe applications so you don’t have to mull back and forth between two sets of the same gallery. It offers quick management for a large number of photos to cull through, as well as boasts color correction(s) of multiple photos at the same time. Its interface is similar to that of what you have on your computer, so it’s easy to navigate and explore options at a quick pace. Download your own presets from your favorite creators with just a click of a button and run around like high-tech editing options like a pro.

The Details:

App Name: Lightroom Mobile

System: iOS and Android

Price: Free

Type: Photo Filters

Best For: Advanced editing techniques, high volume batch editing, selective processes, and convenient workflow for those who have Lightroom CC.

Lightroom Mobile

Snapseed


Snapseed - Picture of a man inside a building's crack.

Unedited.

Snapseed - Picture of a man inside a building's crack.

Edited w/ Snapseed.

To Know:

Snapseed is perfect for any serious photo enthusiast. With its sleek user-friendly UI/UX experience, Snapseed offers full manual control over its effects and filters. Although the branding is sweet and simple, it’s quite complicated and the interface can be difficult to become familiar with. However, if you’re looking for a more elevated way to fine tune images, this is your app. You’re even able to remove unwarranted spots and dust marks that obscenely obstruct your image’s composition. Snapseed completely overhauled how user design now works in the app, putting the photo you're editing front and center.

What We Love:

Snapseed is everything you love about advanced editing techniques, nothing that you don’t. For every new filter you add to an image, Snapseed creates a Stack to easily save the layer you’re working on separately from one another — like a true editor! You’re able to tweak or refine any stack at any time. Additionally, users are able to copy the layer’s used image and paste them onto another.

The Details:

App Name: Snapseed

System: iOS and Android

Price: Free

Type: Photo Editing

Best For: Advanced editing techniques, layer processes, and spot removal.

Snapseed

Darkroom


Darkroom App - Woman in India.

Unedited.

Darkroom App - Women in India.

Edited w/ Darkroom.

To Know:

It would be worthwhile to note that this app is NOT available for Android, sorry! Only iOS. There’s a lot more to this app than fun filters. Darkroom provides RAW file support, iPad support, and a wide range of advanced tools for photographers looking for extra umph. The app’s combination of thoughtful UI/UX design and platform-aware functionality enables users to scale its full toolbox of toggles gracefully from one device to another, making this app an excellent contender for edits on the go.

What We Love:

A helpful function of Darkroom that sets this app apart from the rest is it’s tight-nit integration with iOS’ iCloud Photo Library instead of requiring users to manually import images. This enables photographers to cull through images from only 1 gallery set, instead of separately and making the editing process feel labored; similar to that of Lightroom Mobile. Darkroom comes with an extensive list of filters to apply and edit on any image, much of which are beautiful and encourage users to manage images with ultimate decision making. It’s an advanced app with grand choices.

The Details:

App Name: Darkroom

System: iOS

Price: $3.99 for premium tools, $5.99 for all the filters and tools

Type: Photo Filters and Editing

Best For: Advanced editing techniques, high volume batch editing, and iCloud integration.

Darkroom
Darkroom App - Man riding a bike in India.

Edited in Darkroom.

How We Tested

The photographers and filmmakers on the team are no strangers to tests and reviews. We cull through multiple variations of application softwares and gear devices to find which are the best one for us, and our audience, to use. When it comes to editing applications, the best way to test each one is to sit down and edit the same few photos again and again in each app to find 1.) ease of use, 2.) filter diversity, 3.) advance scale, and 4.) organizational methods. While these 5 applications are similar in method, they differ in design and preset identification. Each offers a variety of features that distinguish themselves amongst one another. If you found this article to be helpful, watch the video for Taylor’s on-site instructions and visual depiction. She tells her story pretty well, too.

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