Updated: Feb 18
The key to captivating your audience on social media is with striking visuals that both engage and serve a purpose. Your content should always have meaning; you shouldn’t post just to post. Instead, every time you post it should be visually interesting and eye-catching. A great way to make sure your images are high quality is to retouch and/or edit them.
We’ve narrowed down the best mobile editing apps for Android, iOS, and iPad iOS and compiled them all onto this list:
Snapseed - Free
For a free, advanced, photo editing app this one takes the cake! It works on iPad, iPhone iOS, and Android. Someone with any level of photo editing skills can take advantage of this app and easily fix their photos, apply filters, crop, adjust or add text on a mobile device. It also offers quality sharpening tools, image straightening, and the ability to create your own filters.
The best part though is that all of the edits you make can be undone, and won’t permanently alter your image thanks to the in-app feature “edit stack” that lets you undo individual edits. However, if you like a particular edit stack and want to apply those exact adjustments to other images that is an easy option, too! As far as free apps go, it is user-friendly on a mobile device and offers a lot of the qualities that we love about desktop Photoshop.
Adobe Photoshop Express - Free
Speaking of Photoshop, this mobile version offers many of the same features that the desktop software does in a quick and easy-to-use fashion. This app works with both iOS and Android and users can easily adjust brightness, edit contrast, fix red-eyes, crop photos, add filters, and more. Also included are smart filters that automatically correct photos by fixing their colors, contrast, and other adjustments for quick on-the-go touch-ups.
Even though the app is free, you will have to sign-up for an Adobe account. When you sign up, all of your images from Adobe Photoshop Express will be saved to your Adobe Creative Cloud and to your mobile device.
Adobe Lightroom - Free
If you’ve used Adobe Lightroom on your desktop, you know that it makes editing a cinch, and the same is true for their free app that works on iOS and Android. Many of the adjustments are sliders so you can easily drag your corrections like contrast, color, brightness, saturation, and more to your liking.
This mobile app is ideal for professional photographers and photo editors looking to make quick adjustments to the high-quality features provided. Adobe Lightroom for mobile doesn’t give you everything, but it gives you enough to make professional corrections to your images and even allows RAW files, which is a really big deal for photographers!
Affinity Photo (iPad) -$19.99USD
While this app works only for iPad iOS and its sibling desktop app, it is still a great tool for content creators and photographers who take editing seriously and want something comparable to Photoshop. There is some learning involved, but once you get the hang of it you’ll see the price is worth it for all the features offered.
The perks are that you are able to make edits quickly through the interface that mirrors the desktop app. It offers layers that allow for non-destructive editing and you can even edit and save PSD files. Because of this, you can make changes later to the same file, for non-permanent editing which is a real game-changer for a non-desktop app. Not to mention it has a plethora of the same editing features as photoshop, so it is one of the best mobile editing apps you can buy!
Pixelmator Photo (iPad or iOS $4.99) or ($39.99 desktop)
Pixelmator is an innovative mobile app because it merges many of the elements of photo editing with graphic design. This allows creators to add filters, text, and graphics and also create collages and templates.
Another useful feature of this app is a button that will automatically correct a RAW photo for you, instantly fixing the color, contrast, exposure, light, and more. It also allows for non-destructive edits. This app is an inexpensive tool for content creators to play around with!
VSCO – (Android $19.99/year) (iPhone/iPad $19.99/year)
VSCO’s highlights are filters and presets, which offer a wider variety of options and adjustments than Instagram filters, making this app more versatile. You can easily adjust filters with a slider, creating realistic effects that are less heavily saturated than the Instagram presets. This mobile app also lets you make adjustments like cropping, vignettes, borders, exposure correction, contrast, temperature, skin tones, and more.
The other cool thing about VSCO is that the community is hosted directly in the app! Much like Instagram, you can share your images for your followers to see! The built-in sharing features also allow for sharing to WhatsApp and SMS.
The app is free to download but to take advantage of its 200+ filters and presets you’ll have to pay the $20 annual subscription fee.
Foodie - Free
This app is perfect for all the foodies out there who love to post and blog about their meals and recipes! Foodie’s editor is structured similar to Instagram, but it has more than 300 presets to take your food photography to a whole new level!
Adobe Photoshop Fix - Free
This free Photoshop works on both iOS and Android for seamless editing on portraits. Adobe Photoshop Fix isn’t about filters and presets. Instead, it allows for editors to make professional-level adjustments to their images. The app is best suited for photographers who need all the basics of editing without all the bells and whistles of other apps.
The best part is that you can continue making edits to the same image on your desktop and mobile.
Afterlight 2 - Free
This free app that works on both iOS and Android is “all-in-one feature-packed” because it offers a little bit of everything for easy editing and adjustments. You can add filters, frames, presets, make custom adjustments and even edit RAW files.
Afterlight 2 also comes with texture effects that offer unique overlays and effects that make your photos really stand out.
TouchRetouch – ($1.99/iOS & Android)
This app only serves one purpose, but that purpose is incredibly useful! It can easily remove unwanted objects from backgrounds or blemishes from faces with just a tap!
We’ve all been there... having taken a great photo only to realize something or someone was in the background that we weren’t expecting. TouchRetouch can quickly remove eyesores and it can even do it better than some of the Adobe software. As far as mobile apps go, this one is a must-have!
Mextures (iOS only $1.99)
This is a layer-based editing app that offers even more presets and filters than Snapspeed! Some of its features include dust, grain, color overlays, light leaks, textures, and gradients that can all be adjusted to your desire. The best part is that any edits you make can be undone for non-destructive editing.
Your images can look like they came from a fantasy world that will captivate your followers and have them wondering how you did that.
Photoshop Camera – Free
Photoshop Camera works on both Android and iOS devices for a fun editing experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s a big departure from the real Photoshop but it does offer some interesting features that other apps don’t. Its lenses allow you to make funky color edits or overlays like dinosaurs and clouds that are just plain silly. While you can still make basic adjustments to your images like contrast, brightness, and saturation the real fun lies in the lenses that let you be creative and whimsical.
Darkroom - Free
Darkroom comes with preset filters and other adjustment tools that let you make corrections lightning fast. One way it allows you to make edits quickly is with a feature called Batch processing. This allows you to edit a group of photos all at once. Darkroom also comes with many options to adjust and fine-tune individual images and even allows editing of RAW, live photos, and videos.
While the app is only available for iOS, one of the other perks is that the developers are constantly updating the app so there are always new features and improvements along the way.
Canva – Free or with a paid plan
Canva will make a graphic designer out of anyone! This easy-to-use app works on both iOS and Android, and lets you make a variety of social media graphics and other visual content. You’re not limited to just photos either. You can make infographics, videos, posters, and more using your own images or the stock images provided.
While there are filters, presets and some adjustments you can do for images in Canva, the ability to touch-up images like in Photoshop is not an option. It is more for taking your existing images and creating something new and interesting with ready-to-use templates.
There is a free version of Canva but to unlock all the fonts, templates, and images it offers you do have to pay for a Canva Pro plan.
Superimpose X -$4.99/iOS only
Superimpose X has some cool Photoshop-like features that make editing fun! You’ll be able to create images that are out of this world using the masking and layers features provided. You can easily superimpose objects onto landscapes and develop creations like a dragon flying overhead or a larger-than-life pineapple sitting in a field if that’s your vision. Whatever you want to create, Superimpose X lets you!
Visage - Free
If you’re looking for a free photo touch-up app then Visage might be the one for you. Users can easily make pimples disappear or whiten teeth with a few simple taps and swipes. This app is perfect for editing selfies and getting them just how you want!
The only downside to this freebie, knock-offer version of Photoshop is that all your images will have a branded hashtag at the bottom and the ads that play during your editing sessions will delay your process and may be frustrating, to say the least. You can avoid this and pay for the pro version which is $4.99 a month or $9.99 a year.
Photo editing has evolved thanks to the electronic devices in our pockets, creating a demand for mobile-friendly, on-the-go editing apps that can be used by virtually anyone. No matter what skill set you have there is an app for you to fine-tune your selfies, touch up images or create masterpieces that are out of this world!