The 7 Best Free Photo Editing Apps for Your Phone


  • There are a variety of free photo editing apps you can install on your iPhone or Android.
  • Apps like Color Splash and Face Lab are good for single effects, while Photoshop Express and Pixlr are general purpose apps.
  • Here are the seven best free photo editing apps for iPhone and Android.

We take more pictures today than ever thanks to the camera app built into every iPhone and Android phone. There’s no longer a need to lug around a separate camera, so we document our lives on our phones. And that means there’s a huge need to clean up many of those photos. You can use the rudimentary photo editing tools that come with your phone, but you can do much better with a third-party photo editor.

Whether you are posting a photo to Instagram, uploading a picture to a digital photo frame or just Airdropping images to a friend, you can do wonders with the right photo editor. Here are seven of the best free photo editing apps for iPhone and Android that can help you up your photo game.

Pixlr

Pixlr offers a solid assortment of photo editing tools for free, including crop, rotate, color and brightness adjustments, along with special effects like selective blur and spot color. There are also a variety of page templates and collages where you can drop and arrange photos. All the features are available for free, but you can pay to remove the in-app ads. It’s available for both iPhone and Android.

Pixlr photo editor on iPhone.

Pixlr’s main toolbox includes all the major options you’d expect to find in a photo editor.

Dave Johnson


PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector is a full-featured photo editor for iPhone and Android, packed with tools like crop and rotate, perspective adjustment, and exposure control — along with special effects like object removal, sky replacement, light rays, and more. The interface is a little crowded and can be overwhelming for new users, though, and the app tries hard to upsell you to the premium version. Some of the more advanced features, for example, can only be applied once per day while using the free version.

Color Splash

Some photo editing apps are one-trick ponies, but they do that one thing so well they’re worth keeping. Color Splash, available for both iPhone and Android, converts your photo to black and white and then lets you add spot color back by using your finger. It’s easy to do and the effect looks great. Unfortunately, each photo gets a relatively small watermark unless you upgrade to the paid version.

Color Splash photo editor on iPhone.

Color Splash does just one thing: It converts your image to black and white and lets you selectively restore spot color wherever you like.

Dave Johnson


Face Lab

If the main reason you want to edit photos is to retouch faces, why not get an app that focuses exclusively on that? Face Lab is narrowly focused on letting you do touch-up work, with tools to tweak lighting, remove wrinkles, blur or swap out backgrounds, and even do full makeovers with hair color changes. The app is free for both iPhone and Android, but there are in-app ads and many effects are restricted to the premium paid version.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express is the most consumer-friendly iteration of the world’s most popular photo editing software, and Express for iPhone and Android has nearly every feature imaginable — this might be the only app you need. It has a dozen filters for basic photo effects, one-touch exposure and brightness controls, a healing brush to remove blemishes, crop and rotate, text overlays, and more. You can also create collages from multiple photos.

Adobe Photoshop Express photo editor on iPhone.

Like the desktop version, Photoshop Express on your phone offers a simplified way to enhance your photos.

Dave Johnson


Snapseed

This is the choice for casual photographers who are looking for a photo editor that keeps things uncomplicated. The interface is perhaps the easiest among all photo editing apps — just select the tool and then choose the intensity or otherwise customize your selection from a few choices. There are no sliders, dials or other widgets to slow you down. And there’s no shortage of features; tools range from white balance to perspective control to HDR enhancement to lens blur. Best of all, because this is a Google product, you’re not harassed with in-app ads or upgrade notices. Snapseed is available for iPhone and Android.

Snapseed photo editor on iPhone.

Snapseed has an incredibly simple interface with a generous set of free editing tools.

Dave Johnson


Adobe Lightroom

One criticism you can level at Adobe is that there are simply too many photo editing apps to choose from, and it’s not always clear why you should choose one Adobe app over another. That said, Adobe Lightroom is a smart choice if you are a dedicated photographer and interested in wringing as much editing potential as possible from your iPhone or Android device. Even on your phone, Lightroom has a deep bench of features, including the ability to mask your photo and apply effects selectively to just part of the image. You have the usual array of exposure controls, texture and clarity settings, a healing brush, lens adjustments, and more. If you can do it in Lightroom on the desktop, you can probably find the feature here on your phone.

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