17 Free Photo Editing Apps to Install in 2021

By Ann Young 7 days ago, Software Reviews

Image editing on mobile devices has become very popular. It is very convenient for those who prefer staying mobile, and post many photos in Instagram or Twitter. Modern smartphones are fitted with advanced cameras with impressive optics, which allows you to take high-resolution images with great sharpness.

You can install a variety of free or paid apps on your phone. Some of them are designed only for taking pictures whereas others also support pro-level photo editing. With them, you can take photos, enhance and organize them on your smartphone or laptop. If you need a professionally edited photo, address FixThePhoto image editing service and get your photos edited fast, from $5-10 per photo.

Top 17 Free Photo Editing Apps

  1. Photoshop Express - For professionals
  2. Ribbet - For iPad
  3. VSCO - For iOS
  4. Photolemur 3 - Automatic photo editing
  5. InstaSize - For Insta bloggers
  6. Picsart - For social media
  7. Snapseed - For body editing
  8. Adobe Lightroom CC - Edit photos on the go
  9. Lens Distortions - For adding lens distortions
  10. Enlight Photofox - For professional editing
  11. Moldiv - For making collages
  12. Bonfire - Creative photo effects and filters
  13. Pixelstyle - Like Adobe PS CC
  14. Fotor - Cross-platform
  15. Polarr - +10000 effects and filters
  16. Photoscape X - For basic image editing
  17. Movavi Photo Editing App - For basic portrait enhancement

Choosing the best free photo editor for this purpose is rather challenging, but I tried to make it easier for you and here are the best photo editing apps for iPhone and Android that are FREE.

1. Photoshop Express

For professionals
  • Multiple format support
  • Many effects, basic image editing features
  • Work with Creative Cloud
  • Access to CC Libraries
  • Free Photoshop app
  • Registration required
  • Ineffective image editing function
  • Limited camera options, without settings
  • Not very effective RAW files processing

Verdict: Photoshop Express is the most confusing application on this list. On the one hand, the popularity of Photoshop and other Adobe photo restoration software do not allow doubting their quality, on the other hand, the application puzzles and shows not the best results. When you start processing RAW files in Photoshop Express, it turns into a solid endurance training.

Each action takes 10 seconds or longer if you want to retouch your skin, be sure to have a considerable amount of time and peace of mind - every touch to the photo causes a lag and stops the program for at least thirty seconds.

The same is true if you need to cancel the action even using a tablet for photo editing. Of course, if this was the only offer on the market, users would call it as one of the best photo editing apps, but Fotor, Polarr, Enlight and similar photo editing apps guarantee instant work with RAW files on phones.

When it comes to JPEG or PNG format image editing, Photoshop Express provides a fairly good set of tools. Still, Adobe reduced the number of filters and, as a result, there are only ten available. Frankly speaking, I don’t understand what is the difference between Photoshop Express and Lightroom CC Mobile. These image editing apps differ only in interface and name. I believe that it’s better to download Photoshop for free and install it on your PC than try using this version.

photoshop express interface

2. Ribbet

For iPad
  • Works with filters very quickly
  • Convenient control system
  • Great design
  • Too sensitive tools
  • A small number of good filters

Verdict: I suppose that only a small percentage of users have heard about this free photo editing app before and this is very bad, as the photo editing app is really worth studying and discussing. Ribbet is an application that is available both on the desktop and for gadgets, as actually, many users consider it to be the best photo editing software for PC. The application has a basic set of tools for color correction, image retouching, and filters applying.

If you’ve previously happened to work with Snapseed photo editing controls, you will immediately recognize them here. The team of developers seems to just copy the interface design and the controls – swipe sideways to activate the tool, swipe up and down to select the tool. Using this photo enhancer, you can work with filters.

This is the fastest and most convenient usage of filters that I have ever seen. All filters are activated and applied instantly without delays in performance.

In terms of image retouching, you can whiten teeth, partially correct the skin, eyes, but the application does not provide a tool for correcting significant skin defects. If you prefer to work on a tablet with the Android OS, then I think that Ribbet is one of the best free photo apps.

ribbet interface


For iOS
  • Convenient to work with the library
  • All the necessary tools for photo edit
  • Good camera application
  • Huge database of the best filters on the web
  • Conveniently works with social media
  • Not stable with RAW files
  • 90% of the filters are not available for free
vsco logo

Verdict: VSCO is a multipurpose automatic photo editor for mobile photography enthusiasts. Considering photo post processing, it is somewhere between Instagram and more advanced Snapseed. VSCO specializes in the development of image processing tools for programs such as Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Camera RAW, and Aperture.

Years of experience in this field and the growing popularity of the best free HDR software have played a role in shaping VSCO functionality, the number of filters and photo processing tools, which are perfectly balanced.

The idea of the service resembles Instagram. You can edit your images and post them in your profile, so you can use it as a picnic photo edit application. However, complementing the Instagram functions, VSCO allows you to create personal albums in addition to saving photos of other users to the collection and share all this content in other social networks.

All publications are also available in the web version with a stylish minimalist design. VSCO filters are deservedly considered the most popular when it comes to editing photos for social networks. A lot of celebrities use VSCO to edit their photos.

For photo editing, the program is not so good, for everything else - the best choice. Now VSCO offers video editing, though, this feature is available only for VSCO X.

vsco interface

4. Photolemur 3

Automatic photo editing
  • Quickly copes with large image catalogues
  • User-friendly
  • Processes RAW files slowly
  • More controls are required

Verdict: Photolemur provides automatic image editing with the use of AI technology. The app makes an analysis of the image in order to recover missing elements, correct exposure, improve colors and lighting. Photolemur doesn’t bring any difficulties in use.

The same is true if you need to cancel the action even using the best tablet for photo editing. Of course, if this was the only offer on the market, users would call it as one of the best photo editing apps, but Fotor, Polarr, Enlight and similar apps guarantee instant work with RAW files on phones.

Thanks to the integrated AI technology, the app greatly enhances the foliage and skies. One more advantage of the app is a recently introduced face editing feature. In case you are after more advanced controls, try Luminar. The same as Photolemur, Luminar is an AI-based image editing program, but it has a greater number of features.

photolemur 3interface

5. InstaSize

For Insta bloggers
  • Allows you to fully prepare photos for Instagram
  • Offers several additional features
  • Useful only in combination with Instagram
  • No image retouch features
instasize logo

Verdict: The app is positioned both as a photo editing program and as a software for preparing your pictures for posting on Instagram. You probably know that Instagram significant compresses the images while uploading, and the quality of the “before” photo can be much higher than the one published. InstaSize allows you to upload photos to Instagram without resizing.

If a picture is rectangular, after publication, a white background appears above and below (or left and right). The background color can be changed. You can also create collages, apply layers, select a picture from the gallery, or take a picture in the application.

After the image has been processed, you can post it directly on Twitter, Facebook or continue with Instagram. This application is enough to prepare quality content for Instagram – the rest are not needed.

instasize interface

6. Picsart

For social media
  • A large number of unique tools
  • User-friendly photo app
  • Possibility to import photos from social networks
  • Have its own social network
  • Fast performance
  • Many ads
  • Limited functionality in the free version
  • A lot of paid content
picsart logo

Verdict: PicsArt is a picture editor app designed for mobile platforms and it stands out among other free editing apps. The program offers many useful tools for image processing and can be even used as a teeth whitening photo editor.

The application has an intuitive interface: there are settings to adjust transparency rate and turn off layers display independently. If you used to work in Photoshop and similar editors, then in PicsArt Photo Studio you will feel at home at first sight.

I want to emphasize a unique option – you can use the picture from the camera in real time as a new layer. This allows you to combine a frame that has not yet been shot while seeing other preselected layers and pictures.

This enables you to experiment with multi-exposures, collages, and other interesting things. Like in most modern programs of this category, there is also a set of presets to work with colors like in Instagram and a set of various effects like other apps for pictures provide.

The software has its own camera application, which allows you to see in real time the result of the effects from the library combined with a frame that hasn’t been shot yet. Besides, you can adjust the image settings before shooting.

The application is an element of a creative social network. In this space, artists, photographers, and illustrators share their images, created with the help of this powerful editor, which makes it possible to get inspired from the digital art of other authors and upload your works without closing the application.

picsart interface

7. Snapseed

For body editing
  • Autodetection of photo genre
  • Convenient work with tools
  • DNG file support
  • Strange cropping tool
  • Poor image retouching quality

Verdict: It is one of the best free photo editing apps of professional level from Google. It contains a great number of editing options to enhance even the most ordinary photos.

Being created as an alternative to Photoshop for iPad, it allows you to take full control of your photos, including a variety of tools for changing the vignette, blur, temperature and other elements.

A very useful feature of the app is the capability to overlay effects on top of each other for the creation of completely new ones. Snapseed supports many advanced features, such as double exposure, curves control, support of DNG.

Working with the tools is surprisingly easy, as you drag them up and down and then choose the strength of the effect by flipping left and right. Create a completely new custom effect just by saving all your settings.

As the best offline photo editor app, it supports the RAW format. White balance is easy to work with, similar to Lightroom. You'll be pleased with the Selective Color tool which allows adjusting a certain color in only one area with ease.

Many users call the program a clone of VSCO, because in terms of performance they are very similar (like all editors), but the advantage of Snapseed over VSCO is that it determines on its own the genre of the picture (portrait, landscape, etc.) and points to the user the possible tools for work.

snapseed interface

8. Adobe Lightroom CC

Edit photos on the go
  • You can work in Creative Cloud
  • Nice photography app
  • You can edit RAW, DNG
  • You need to register
  • Strange library work

Verdict: Adobe Lightroom is a classic program for working with RAW files, color correction and professional photo editing. Fortunately, you don't need to have continuous access to a computer or laptop to edit images in Lightroom, because due to the release of a simplified version – Lightroom CC, developers were able to adapt it for mobile devices.

Lightroom CC is one of the best photo editing apps that you can download for free. It is a full-featured photo manager and editor completed with support for RAW images, Lightroom mobile presets, exposure settings, watermarks, etc.

The best part consists in the fact that this program is totally free, you only need to register Adobe ID. Of course, if you wish to sync photos across various devices and use special features, you'll have to pay for it by signing up for an Adobe Creative Cloud plan, which costs $10 a month and gives access to Photoshop and Lightroom Classic.

It is not only the best photo editing app for PC, but a simple yet effective Facebook cover photo maker. Both beginners and advanced users can process images in the app.

A very useful feature is the Camera, as it gives an ability to change the focus point, ISO settings and shutter speed. I use it for product photography on my iPhone.

adobe lightroom cc interface

9. Lens Distortions

For adding lens distortions
  • Plenty of free interesting effects
  • Partially free
  • Requires payment to unlock better effects
lens distortions logo
Lens Distortions

Verdict: Lens Distortions is known for its impressive plug-ins and desktop applications and has developed a mobile photo editing app for Android and iOS which provides its set for image editing on mobile devices.

Whether it's a color filter you are looking for or an overlay effect such as a light leak or flash, Lens Distortions offers a variety of realistic effects which you may add to your photos. There are several sections with the sets of effects, only 5 of them are available from each section. If you want to get access to all 250 premium effects, you will have to pay a dollar a month.

It is one of the best apps for photographers, as it can control weather effects due to the qualitative overlays for photos which include sunlight, rain, flash, fog and snow. There are also glass elements and glitter effects for adding shine or blur to an image.

You may also combine several effects for a singular look. The app is a godsend for all fans of shooting landscapes and urban environment. You can't apply a filter and make a color correction in the app, but you may add such elements to a picture in just a couple of clicks.

lens distortions interface

10. Enlight Photofox

For professional editing
  • A huge number of opportunities
  • Many tools that are not in other applications
  • Ability to work with layers
  • Many useful tips while working
  • Hard to figure out
  • A lot of pop-ups
  • Only for iPhones
enlight photofox logo
Enlight Photofox

Verdict: Enlight has available a set of different free applications to work with, among which the only one is paid, Enlight itself. In fact, every program deserves separate consideration, but I enjoyed Enlight Photofox most of all.

Of course, when you open it for the first time, the number of menu items and sub-items may confuse you.

Pop-up tips on the entire display when you start using any of the functions really turn off. But you only need to try to edit a couple of pictures and the app will show you what it is capable of.

I would like to mention a convenient and simple function, which, for some reason, is not even present in the most well-known services – the capability to undo one last modification and also redo it. You may also increase a photo to the level of pixels.

Sometimes it is useful to look at the details of the edited picture. With one of the best photo editing iPhone apps, you may begin to edit several photos at the same time and save them as unfinished sessions. If you don't save them, up to 10 items will still be kept open.

If you are happy with your result – it is convenient to share a photo directly from the app in social media, messengers, e-mail, and, of course, Instagram!

Aside from the full set of tools for photo post processing, which is available in the free version, the new app now offers the ability to work with layers.

Layers allow you to combine multiple images in one photo, create an original collage, apply different photo overlay effects and so on. You may edit the layers individually, erase objects from the background, modify the transparency of any of the layers, transform their shape, size and perspective.

enlight photofox interface

11. Moldiv

For making collages
  • Great colorful design
  • Ability to edit videos
  • Many filters and presets
  • Instant RAW files opening
  • Too sensitive settings
  • While photo editing the image has the worst quality
moldiv logo

Verdict: Moldiv is one of the best free photo editing apps for creating collages from images. When you open the app, you will see the main screen with a huge selection of collage templates. The areas in a future image can be separated for 2, 4, 5 or 6 photos. After several swipes, you will be able to look through the entire selection of templates and pick the most suitable one.

As one of the best photography apps, it allows you to process multiple photos on one canvas, apply images in layers and professionally modify the resulting photos, apply effects and decorative elements.

The app uses an innovative system of creating collages, according to which users can choose a frame and photos, and the system will select the position, size and color of the border, depending on the overall tone, size and saturation of the added images!

The app features the function of creating thematic collages, color correction and filters, change of signatures and stickers, export and import photos to social media.

What I really like about this image editor is that you can modify the internal boundaries of the collage. One of my favorite tools is "Scissors".

With its help, you can create a collage with clippings. It is very convenient when you wish to insert not an entire photo into a collage but some specific element. "Scissors" allow you to cut out a fragment from any image and insert it into your collage.

moldiv interface

12. Bonfire

Creative photo effects and filters
  • Nice camera app
  • Many filters
  • Horrible design
  • Available only on Android
bonfire logo

Verdict: Bonfire Photo Editing App offers every tool a good image editing app should have, so you can make your images look amazing without addressing expensive photo enhancement services. But the biggest advantage of the app is the presence of a large number of filters. It is one of the best photo editing apps due to its stunning effects that can be applied in image post processing. The user gets 110 unique filters and effects that can improve even the failed shot.

The app's thoughtful interface allows you to quickly adjust and apply the desired filter. Apart from the basic feature set, Bonfire photo editing app pro has an array of very interesting effects, for example, the Fancy filter that imitates watercolor painting.

Automatic photo editing allows you to obtain a high-quality picture instantly, even if the original file had flaws. You may use the preview function, compare the original and edited photo, then post it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp.

bonfire interface

13. Pixelstyle

Like Adobe PS CC
  • Supports RAW
  • Small application size
  • Good image retouching functions
  • Very irritable color correction work
  • Complicated work with layers
pixelstyle logo

Verdict: If you are engaged in picture retouching or painting without color correction, I would recommend using this particular photo edit app. In Pixelstyle, the toolkit and the style are very similar to Paint.NET, as it focuses more on drawing and offers a set of brushes and other relevant tools that work very well.

There also many useful tools provided for retouching. Be ready for the quest when you want to do color correction - these functions were hidden by developers deep among the rest of the settings.

The main drawback of these functions is the lack of a real-time preview with the slider movement. You will have to wait a couple of seconds while the change is processed and applied.

Together with the high sensitivity of all settings, the picture processing turns into a series of irritable clicks on Cmd + Z to cancel actions. Still, unlike similar editors, it supports RAW images processing, though not in the fastest way.

pixelstyle interface

14. Fotor

  • RAW support
  • Many photo editing filters
  • Quick color correction work
  • Simple user interface
  • Hundreds of effects
  • Many features are labeled with the Pro icon and are only available after purchase
  • The on-and-off disappearance of images in the gallery
  • Some features are available only to Premium users

Verdict: Fotor is a treasure among other photo editing apps because it features amazing capabilities. The main Fotor advantage is the fast RAW image editing and color correction, white balance adjustment, and similar tasks with colors and tints. By the number of functions.

Fotor is on the same level with professional programs, but still does not reach Lightroom, although it is better than Camera RAW, and it works much faster. We can even call it best photo editing app for PC. I don’t understand why Fotor filters and scenes are separated into two different sections for image processing. They provide approximately the same result, only the scenes are more focused on contrast and exposure, and filters on color regulation. I like the fact that Fotor has no advertisement except for a small banner offering to download the full version.

As one of the best apps for photo editing, Fotor provides basic image editing and color correction tools. It features the majority of basic effects and filters that could be useful for photography enthusiasts. Very simple and nice interface will help you get a hang of all the capabilities of the program. What I really enjoy is the ability to work with RAW images, because not every application offers this feature. The "Fotor HDR" function significantly helps in image enhancement.

The number of free photo editing apps for computers rapidly grows. Usually, people are looking for the best beginner photo editing software for beginners like Photoshop or Lightroom. With the advent of app stores for desktop operating systems, many developers have rapidly begun to create new or adapt existing good photo editing apps.

fotor interface

15. Polarr

+10000 effects and filters
  • Supports all platforms
  • Support JPEG images up to 30MP
  • Can work offline
  • No Raw Files Support

Verdict: Polarr is, unfortunately, an underestimated application for image editing on Mac, although it deserves as much attention as all other programs. At first glance, this product is like a standard photo editing app in a minimalist style. For unpretentious users who are satisfied with just basic tools for their needs, there are automatic photo editing tools. I want to highlight such features as automatic detection of faces and even their features in the photo, which raises the automatic photo editing to a new level.

To enhance the image, there are more familiar tools, such as skin whitening, changing its tone, the possibility to subtly and accurately change the face shape, remove defects, glares, etc. The more familiar you get to Polarr functionality, the more useful features you will see. The application offers a full view of information from EXIF. Advanced users can create and save their own filters, manage brushes and color masks.

Of course, the application cannot be compared with professional software, and it should not. Its target audience is advanced amateurs and professionals interested in fast and accurate, not deep, photo processing. Polarr proves that free photo editing apps can be effective.

polarr interface

16. Photoscape X

For basic image editing
  • Good image import system among analogs
  • Great filters and presets
  • Strange export performance
  • Don’t show white balance correction

Verdict: If you are interested in a full-fledged and free Lightroom alternative, Photoscape X seems to be designed just for you. The program is one of best free photo editing apps and is available in the App Store. Its key advantage is that developers took into account all the drawbacks and shortcomings of Lightroom.

As a result, it is known as one of best photo editing apps for Mac. The software includes several sections – Viewer, Editor, Cut Out, Batch, and others. It provides full RAW files support, with comprehensive data for each image when it’s viewed.

Most of all I like the function to view the images. There is no need to move photos from the folder to the application or endlessly search for photos after clicking “File-Open”, and even no more endless directories that work in a strange way.

Here you can look for photos right in the application using the familiar folder hierarchy. It works impressively fast. For example, a SD-card with 650 RAW photos is loaded in less than 30 seconds.

Everything related to the color work, magically transforms the original photo, especially the preset filters that are done very carefully, so as not to shift the balance of light or saturation in your photo to the extreme. Although, I haven’t found white balance adjustments.

photoscape x interface

17. Movavi Photo Editing App

For basic portrait enhancement
  • Auto photo editing
  • Very fast work
  • The most user-friendly interface among other apps
  • A huge number of graphics effects in 13 categories
  • No RAW files support

Verdict: This is a very useful program for beginners, as its main feature is auto image correction. Movavi photo editing app is the easiest one for beginners. Here you will not find any layers, 3D objects, masks, filters or other specialized functions - this is not Photoshop alternative. The focus is made specifically on photo processing and is suitable for users with any level of knowledge.

In this software, a huge number of incomprehensible and complex tools has been replaced by a user-friendly interface and very understandable features. If you are afraid that a standard photo edit app is a program with a tremendous number of functions and most of them are burdensomely complex, then the free version of Movavi photo editing app Lite is right for you. It is more like Camera RAW than LightStream: open the photo, edit it, and save it.

movavi photo editing app interface
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