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7 Best Free Photo Editing Apps for iPhone & Android in 2021

Last Updated on Nov. 18, 2021 – by David Morgan
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Best Photo Editing Apps for iPhone & Android

Using the best photo editing app for iPhone and Android can transform your photos, improve the look and feel of your Instagram feed, and impress your friends and family. With so many options available, including paid and free photo editing apps, you may feel lost and frustrated. You know you want the best app, but you don't have time to test out all the editors before choosing your favorite.

If you're wondering, "What is the best photo editing app?" you're in the right place. To help end your search, we've compiled and reviewed the top seven paid and free photo editing apps for Android and iPhone so that you can get back to sharing your world with your friends, family, and followers.

Top 7 Photo Editing Apps for 2021

1. PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector combines complete creative control, a user-friendly interface and royalty-free stock library provided by Shutterstock and iStock. Whether you've spent years learning the ins and outs of advanced editing techniques or you've just begun your creative journey, PhotoDirector's professional-quality tools can transform a quick snap into a stunning image.

Along with all the basic editing tools you'll ever need, you can experiment with color grading, making personalized collages, taking advantage of object removal tools or using the AI-powered sky replacement for adding flawless sunsets to your images.

You can even animate photos using the guided animation modules. Draw motion lines and create anchor points for a customized animation or add already animated stickers and decor to delight your followers.

Alongside animation, PhotoDirector also makes the most popular Instagram effects easy to apply. While some apps feature advanced techniques that overwhelm or intimidate beginners, PhotoDirector's user-friendly interface and straightforward functions will simplify the process.

No matter if you're editing one photo or hundreds, you can quickly upload, adjust, and create on-the-go with your phone or seamlessly transition to your Chromebook or tablet for edits at home.

Best Features:

  • Lighting and color tools
  • Filters and effects
  • Sky replacement and light ray tools
  • Photo retouch, red-eye removal, and beauty retouch tools
  • Animation tools and animated overlays
  • AI technology
  • Built-in stock libraries
Free Download
For Android and iOS devices

Need the desktop version for Windows and macOS? Get your free download here.

Free Download
For Android and iOS devices

Need the desktop version for Windows and macOS? Get your free download here.

2. Pixlr

Pixlr app UI

Pixlr specializes in providing just enough variety for users. You won't ever feel overwhelmed by the available options. Still, you can use intuitive brushes as well as preset effects, overlays, and style filters to transform your photos into black-and-white, film, or sepia tones.

While Pixlr is free to download, the free version of the app has ads and limits your access to editing tools.

Casual users may enjoy the simplicity of the Pixlr app, but anyone who wants access to comprehensive editing tools and advanced effects may find Pixlr lacking in more than one area. Pixlr's Premium subscription however does offer access to more editing tools, the price is more than twice the cost of PhotoDirector's monthly subscription and doesn't provide users with the ability to create professional-quality edits on the go.

Best Features:

  • The free version includes some basic editing tools, filters, and overlays
  • The app comes with several collage templates for easy creation
  • Its beginner-friendly interface works well for those with little or no experience with editing software

3. PicsArt

PicsArt app UI

PicsArt combines community with a user-friendly editing app for a fun, creative experience without a lot of hassle. While the free app features a somewhat excessive number of ads that pop up while editing, even those who are brand new to photo editing can access all of the basic tools while enjoying stickers, collage templates, and text functions.

You can also use PicsArt with your camera, applying filters, effects, and overlays to photos before you take them. Quickly crop, resize, flip or rotate, and enhance photos using the PicsArts "Effect" menu, or use the Dispersion tool to create dramatic images with the click of a finger.

If your interest in photography extends to sharing daily moments with your family, then PicsArt's functional tools can help you make minor tweaks and adjustments to your snapshots. You can also enjoy; trendy filters, colorful text, cloning options, and an eraser tool to remove objects from your photos

Unlike some other free editing apps, PicsArt even offers a "Motion" effect, allowing you to animate your images.

However, the major disadvantage to the PicsArt app lies in its pricey premium subscription and lack of truly advanced editing tools such as sky replacement, light rays, and other features you can find in PhotoDirector.

Best Features:

  • Solid lineup of editing tools for casual photographers
  • Wide variety of stickers, filters, and personalized collages
  • Simple, easy to use interface that allows beginners to edit without a learning curve

4. Snapseed

Snapseed app UI

If you're searching for a fun, simplistic photo editing app for casual use, Snapseed may not be the best app for you. Featuring a lineup of professional-quality editing tools, options to adjust color and exposure, and selective editing tools to perfect every image, Snapseed's powerful capabilities make it well suited for experienced content creators and photographers in search of a mobile editing interface.

While the editing platform is simple and streamlined, the array of editing tools – such as curves, imagine tuning, selective brushes, and detailed lighting and color scales – may feel overwhelming to beginners who only want to make a few small tweaks.

However, if you've got some experience in editing photos, you may enjoy the variety of options as well as the ability to layer edits and save "Looks" to apply to photos later. You can also use Snapseed's Portrait mode to smooth skin, brighten eyes, and create a pro-quality image. You can even use more advanced editing techniques like Bokeh with Snapseed's lens blur tool.

Snapseed also comes with several filters you can customize using the app's 30-plus editing tools. Additionally, the app is totally free, with no premium features.

That said, while Snapseed comes with more editing tools and filters than the other apps mentioned in this guide, the learning curve may be intimidating to novice users. PhotoDirector, in contrast, provides users with countless presets and guided modules to animate, enhance, and adjust their photos in seconds.

Best Features:

  • Over 30 professional-quality editing tools
  • Presets and filters for one-tap editing

5. Adobe Photoshop Camera

Adobe Photoshop Camera app UI

Photoshop Camera uses an AI function, called Adobe Sensei, to apply masks, special effects, and some photo corrections to photos before or after you capture the image. The app's filters – known as "lenses" – offer a wide variety of colors, lighting options, and special effects to transform your photo in a single click.

Some lenses also include animated elements, such as shooting stars or movable smart objects.

Adobe continues to add new lenses to the app, each with several variations that can result in highly stylized photos. That said, while the app allows amateur photographers to get creative with point-and-shoot photographs, the lack of essential editing tools or advanced functions like animation, sky replacement, and Bokeh effect make it more suited to casual users than serious content creators.

If you want real capability alongside creativity, you may prefer PhotoDirector's comprehensive set of intuitive editing functions.

Best Features:

  • The app adds new lenses regularly, with a variety of adjustable options
  • Adobe Sensei tailored masks and filters based on the type of photo
  • Easy, point-and-shoot style of editing works well for inexperienced users

6. Werble

Werble app UI

Werble's fun visual effects and simplified layout make it a suitable choice for social media content. The animation effects definitely won't result in professional-quality result, but the app can add a unique touch to your images thanks to various effects packets and animated overlays.

Despite the app's user-friendly layout, it falls short when compared to PhotoDirector. For example, you can only access the app's best animation tools with the premium version.

Best Features:

  • Dozens of visual effects templates
  • A solid lineup of movement presets for animation
  • Supports layers for unique animation
  • 7. Canva

    Canva app UI

    Canva's primary appeal among is its library of versatile, customizable templates. You can sort through Canva's existing templates, choose one that suits your design aesthetic and make personalized adjustments.

    The app also provides graphics that you can use in your Instagram story creations. If you'd prefer not to create a story from one of the app's templates, you can access Canva's library of elements to craft a post of your own creation.

    While Canva does offer a limited array of photo effects, if you want to produce any professional-level photography edits, you will need to look for a more advanced app such as PhotoDirector. Canva's photo effects are limited to resizing, adjusting color, and overlaying filters onto your photo.

    Best Features:

    • Variety of templates
    • Text effects
    • Photo filters
    • Base-level photography effects

    The Best Apps to Make On-the-Go Editing Easier than Ever

    A few years ago, you most likely snapped a selfie using your cell phone, applied an Instagram filter, and shared it with the world. Now, many are jumping between editing apps and even applying additional touch-ups or tweaks from desktop photo editing software before sharing an image online.

    Luckily, you can capture your vision and achieve stunning results using one of the top five best photo editing apps for iPhone and Android. While each of our top seven picks has its advantages, only PhotoDirector combines ease of use and all the comprehensive editing tools you need in a single photo editing app.

    Even beginners can create shareable photos in minutes using PhotoDirector. Apply filters, combine images into a collage using the highly customizable templates, or brighten your photos with light rays and animated sparkle. PhotoDirector's AI editing tools include complete sky replacement, allowing you to adjust or remove the sky in your original image and seamlessly integrate a lovely morning or evening display. With its photo animation tools you can add motion to your photo in seconds.

    Edit, animate, and customize your photos to inspire your followers, and impress your friends and family.

    Get started for free today by downloading PhotoDirector.

    Free Download
    For Android and iOS devices

    Need the desktop version for Windows and macOS? Get your free download here.

    Free Download
    For Android and iOS devices

    Need the desktop version for Windows and macOS? Get your free download here.

    Photo Editing App FAQ

    1. What are the benefits of mobile photo editing?

    There are two big benefits of mobile photo editing:

    1. You can do it anywhere and anytime you have your phone, which for most of us is everywhere and all the time.
    2. Since most of use are just using our camera phones to take pictures, you don't have to worry about transferring your photos to another device.

    2. What features should I look for in a photo editing app?

    1. User-friendly
    2. Color correction and filters
    3. AI-powered tools
    4. Content-aware editing
    5. Photo animation
    6. Beauty retouching
    7. Color effects
    8. Light effects
    9. Sky replacement
    10. Overlay abilities

    3. What is the best free Photoshop alternative?

    Check out our article Best Alternatives to Photoshop article for a full overview of our top 5.

    1. PhotoDirector 365
    2. Paintshop Pro
    3. DxOPhotoLab
    4. Rebelle
    5. Pixelmator

    4. What is the best free photo editing app for Windows?

    Check out our article article 5 Best Free Photo Editing Software for Windows PC in 2021 for a full overview of our top 5.

    1. PhotoDirector Essential
    2. GIMP Photo Editor
    3. Movavi Photo Editor
    4. BeFunky
    5. Pixlr

    5. What is the best free photo editing app for Mac?

    Check out our article Best Free Photo Editor for Mac for a full overview of our top 5.

    1. PhotoDirector Essential
    2. GIMP Photo Editor
    3. Fotor Photo Editor
    4. Pixelmator
    5. Photoscape X

    6. Should I pay for a photo editing app?

    This is dependent on your needs and what kind of edits you want to make. If you're making simple adjustments like cropping, rotating or flipping a basic free editor should be fine.

    If you want to add photo effects you will benefit from paying for a quality photo editor. Some free editors offer advanced features like PhotoDirector but it is an exception to the rule. Most are usually clunky and don't provide the best results.

    There is also a paid version of PhotoDirector that includes a 4,000,000+ stock library and lots of extra creative assets.

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