These Are the Best Free Photo Editing Apps For iPhone and Android

These Are the Best Free Photo Editing Apps For iPhone and Android

Phones like the iPhone 13 Pro, Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S21 Ultra pack cameras that can give DSLRs a run for their money. When we come back from our day trip in the hills or our walk in town, it’s easy to just forget the images we took that day and let them further and further gather dust in our phone galleries.

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Doing creative photo editing can be a great way to get more out of your photography. And it doesn’t even matter if you have the latest, greatest phone with the best camera setup on the back or an older, cheaper phone; The iPhone App Store and Google Play Store on Android are full of great free and paid photo editing apps that can give your existing photos a whole new look, all from the comfort of your favorite squashy armchair.

I’ve rounded up a selection of my top picks, so get reading, make a cup of tea and settle in for an evening editing session. You can even turn your favorite photos into a photo book.

You can also check out this creative ideas to flex your photography muscles at home if you want to shoot and edit something new.


Edited in Snapseed.

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1. Snapseed

Free on iOS and Android.

Google-owned Snapseed offers a wide range of exposure and color tools for making adjustments to your images, but also has plenty of filter options, from vintage styles to modern, edgy HDR looks. You can layer the effects to create some interesting edits on your image. And best of all, it’s completely free.

lightroom editing app

Edited in Lightroom mobile.

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2. Adobe Lightroom

iOS and Androidsome features available for free, or $5 per month for full access.

Adobe Lightroom remains an industry standard for professional photographers and the mobile version is much the same. You won’t find any stickers, animations, or emoticons here, but you’ll get fine-grained control over your image and the same set of tools you’ll find in Lightroom on the desktop. It’s the app I use most to edit my own images on my iPhone and iPad, not least because the images sync in the cloud so I can start on one device and continue on another.


Edited in Photoshop Express.

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3. Adobe Photoshop Express

Free on iOS and Android.

Photoshop Express has many of the same features you’ll find in Lightroom, including exposure, contrast and color editing options, but removes some of the pro tools and cloud syncing and, most importantly, the subscription fee. It’s a great tool for tweaking your images to bring out their best, but you’ll also find a decent selection of filters and overlay textures, as well as tools for making cool collages of your images.

It’s not as open to wild creativity as other options on this list, but it’s a solid editing program at a price that’s hard to argue with.


Edited in Prisma.

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4. Prism

iOS and Android$8 per month or $30 per year.

Prisma does not handle subtle filters and basic image corrections. Instead, its trippy filters will transform your images into often bizarre artistic creations. The results have a painterly effect and many filters are indeed inspired by artists such as Salvador Dali and Picasso. The filters are robust, and while you can customize them, not every filter will work with every image. I found some to be more suitable for portraits, while other filters worked best with landscapes.

But it’s great fun to experiment with and when you get a photo that works, that’s it really work.

5. Bazaar

iOS only$8 per month or $48 per year.

Bazaart’s montage and collage tools allow you to combine several different elements – from photos, to text, to graphics – and layer them all to create a finished work of art. It has tools that let you instantly erase the background from behind a portrait subject (I was surprised at how well it worked!) to put in a new background or add various effects. It also has a large selection of templates to create beautiful collages for Instagram stories as well.

There are so many different ways you can compose different images that the only limit will come down to how creative you feel. Head over to Bazaart’s Instagram page for some inspiration.


Edited in Photofox.

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6. Photofox

iOS only.

Like Bazaart, Photofox has powerful tools for removing subjects from the background that let you compose into new backgrounds, or apply amazing effects. I especially like Photofox’s dispersion effect, which makes your subject look like it’s bursting into particles (trust me, it’s cool), as well as the glitch effects and the double exposure that overlays two images on top of each other.

As with Bazaart, there are endless possibilities of what you can do by placing and composing different types of images and applying different effects to each.


Edited in VSCO.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET


iOS and Androidlimited features for free, or $20 per year with a seven-day free trial.

VSCO started life with color grading presets for Lightroom and its roots are evident in the app today. Rather than offering stickers and animated GIFs for Snapchat enthusiasts, VSCO is all about the more artsy cinematic color filters. The app has a large selection of presets available, including looks designed to mimic classic rolls of film from Fujifilm, Kodak and Ilford.

It also has a large selection of black and white filters, making it a good choice to experiment with if you’re into moody monochrome photos.


Edited in PicsArt.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

8. PicsArt

iOS and Androidlimited features free or $48 per year for the entire suite.

PicsArt has a wide range of editing tools at your disposal, from basic adjustments like exposure and contrast, to cinematic color grading and dramatic filters that transform your images into picturesque works of art. There are many options for both the tone and shape of your face in selfies — I won’t get into the ethics of using these tools for “beauty” purposes, but I had fun using the tools to enhance my features deliberately changing into bizarre proportions.

There’s also a whole Instagram-style social sharing element to PicsArt, if you’re into that. Personally, I was mostly interested in the editing options.

Be sure to check out my guide to creative home photo projectssee us entire catalog of great tips and tricks for better phone photos.

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