5 Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone and Android

Elevate your mobile photography with top photo editing apps for iPhone and Android — crafted for swift, hassle-free edits and timeless masterpieces.

Mobile photo editing has taken the world by storm, reaching unparalleled sophistication. Modern photographers transfer files from big cameras to smartphones for swift, on-the-go touch-ups with their favorite mobile editing apps. Why the shift? It's simple — mobile editing provides an agile, hassle-free way to craft timeless masterpieces. With a treasure trove of presets for every aesthetic and cutting-edge tool for post-processing perfection, these apps leave no room for compromise.

But with a dizzying array of options, which ones rise to the top? We've done the heavy lifting for you. Here's our curated list of iPhone and Android photo editing apps.

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System: iOS and Android

Type: Photo and Video Filters (and Sharing Platform)

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

VSCO is one of, if not the most, popular photo and video editing application software available to creatives. It offers various presets, most of which emulate different film stocks, to slap on any image or video clip you choose. Its branding and UI/UX are 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.

Hundreds of preset options make picking our favorite ones more complex 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 can’t adjust curves in the editing room, you can 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).


Edited w/ VSCO.

2. Afterlight

System: iOS and Android

Type: Photo Editing

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

Afterlight offers advanced features, such as curves, to manually adjust and edit any photograph you choose. While Afterlight has numerous gorgeous presets, like VSCO, you can add subtle effects to your images to set apart the vibes. Add soft scratches and dust marks or create a glowy undertone to the highlights; it’s your chance to get creative with ways to differentiate your style from a pool of many others.

Afterlight strikes a balance between decent Instagramable manipulation and high-power manual tools. After editing, its UI gives you full control over the final image's appearance. Its unique toolbox adjustments are a fun way to experiment beyond simple editing techniques. Users can also lock in exposure settings while tackling other points of interest, giving the photographer ultimate jurisdiction. It’s also fun to circumnavigate the tastefully organized catalog of tools.


Edited w/ Afterlight.

3. Lightroom Mobile

System: iOS and Android

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 is a more condensed, compact version of Lightroom CC (made available for laptops, Macbooks, and PCs). With the 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 can edit only a select part of their image when choosing to. It correctly handles metadata for all your organization freaks out there and creates web albums for easy access. An important note is that the app is only accessible for elective adjustments, meaning you will want to upgrade some of the aforementioned qualities.

It's advanced, plain, and straightforward. 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 many photos to cull through and boasts color correction(s) of multiple photos simultaneously. Its interface is similar to what you have on your computer, so it’s easy to navigate and explore options quickly. Download your own presets from your favorite creators with just a click of a button and run around with high-tech editing options like a pro.


Edited w/ Lightroom Mobile.

4. Snapseed

System: iOS and Android

Type: Photo Editing

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

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 straightforward, it’s quite complicated, and the interface can be difficult to become familiar with. However, this is your app if you want a more elevated way to fine-tune images. You can even remove unwarranted spots and dust marks obscuring your image’s composition. Snapseed completely overhauled how user design works in the app, putting the photo you're editing front and center.

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. Users can copy the layers used to image and paste them onto another.


Edited w/ Snapseed.

5. Darkroom

System: iOS

Type: Photo Filters and Editing

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

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 oomph. The app’s thoughtful UI/UX design and platform-aware functionality enables users to scale its toolbox of toggles gracefully from one device to another, making this app an excellent contender for edits on the go.

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


Edited w/ Darkroom.

How We Tested

Our team of photographers and filmmakers is well-versed in evaluating software and gear. We're always trying to identify the top photo editing apps for you and our audience. To put each app to the test, we took the same set of photos. We edited them repeatedly in each app, assessing four critical criteria: 1) user-friendliness, 2) diversity of filters, 3) advanced editing capabilities, and 4) organizational features. Though the five apps we selected share similar functions, they each bring unique designs and standout features. For a more in-depth look at how we conducted our testing and to see the apps in action, check out Taylor's video, complete with on-site instructions and a personal touch to her storytelling.

Edited in Darkroom.

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