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9 Best Free and Paid Photo Editing Apps for iPhone and Android

How to make your photography stand out or be attractive to your audience? The photo editing apps can give you a hand.

Sometimes, shooting with a phone camera is one of the best ways to record the memorable and joyful times when traveling, dating, parties, weddings, gardening, parent-child campaigns, and other more cherished occasions. How to make your photography stand out or be attractive to your audience? In addition to developing some basic shooting skills and a sense of aesthetics, post-processing with photo editing tools can improve and enhance photos.

In this article, you will find a list of free and paid photo editing apps for iPhone and Android, then you will know to choose which one suits your different photo editing needs, including automatic and manual fine-tuning, color adjustment, denoising, sharpening, applying filters, face refinement, adding text, and stickers to photos, creating photo collages, etc.

photo editing apps for iphone and android

Part 1: The Fully Functional Photo Editing Apps for iPhone and Android

A fully-featured photo editing app can do almost every editing need because it offers a huge range of editing tools (manually fine-tuning and automatically), including basic cropping, rotating, double exposure, color grading, and sharpening adjustments, and a variety of filters. Here is a selection of top fully-functional photo editing apps that you can download to your mobile phone to tweak your photos.

vsco icon 1. VSCO

VSCO combines premium-quality editing filters and tools, thoughtful curation, and a diverse community for creative professionals. VSCO aims at empowering anyone to be a creator, with no expensive equipment and professional skills required. The free version gives users access to limited editing tools and filters, while you can unlock access to all 200+ Presets, advanced editing Tools, Video editor, and more with VSCO membership. Let's check out the core features that can be discovered in VSCO.

(1) Filters

VSCO is indeed a very easy-to-use and popular photo editing app due to its range of unique filters that can change the look of your photos as you like. The massive preset library is the core competitiveness that VSCO stands out from many photography editing apps. There are 123 free presets you can choose from. You can also purchase your favorite separately, or subscribe to the VSCO X membership to access the huge numbers of presets. For most users, it takes a certain amount of time to choose a suitable and satisfactory preset.

vsco presets
(2) HSL

The HSL tool is a commonly used feature that is used often by most VSCO lovers (only available for VSCO X). It allows users to modify specific colors to change the emotional impact of an image. H stands for Hue, which refers to the character of the color itself, S stands for Saturation, which refers to the intensity or colorfulness of color, and L stands for Lightness, which refers to the lightness of a color. The tool allows you to select red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, and adjust the H, S, and L of each color individually.

vsco hsl
(3) Split Tone

Split Tone, as a common color toning technique, allows you to add color to highlights and shadows. There are six different Colors to choose from for shadows and highlights. Slide the slider to adjust the intensity of the tones.

vsco split color

Overall, VSCO is an easy-to-use photo editing app for both beginners and pros. The filters do an excellent job at changing the look and atmosphere of the photo. The basic and advanced photo editing tools can meet almost all overall editing needs, no matter whether you are a beginner or a pro. That's why VSCO is one of the best and most popular photo editing apps among many users and is most frequently used.

snapseed icon 2. Snapseed

If you want to edit your photos more specifically and precisely, Snapseed is great. Snapseed provides superb traditional editing tools and nondestructive editing that borrow from Photoshop, which makes it become the first choice for serious photographers who would like to spend more time fine-tuning their photos. Therefore, before getting started, it is necessary to acquire some background knowledge about photo editing. It is not for casual users.

In Snapseed, you find all 28 editing tools. Let's have a look at the unique features that can only be discovered in Snapseed.

snapseed editing tools
(1) Curve

The Curves tool in Snapseed assists to enhance color and tones, so that makes your photos pop. For a long time, many users just use the Tune Image tool to adjust brightening, darkening, and contrast.

Similar to Tune Image, Curves control brightness, contrast, highlights, and shadows. You can control the intensity of blacks, and whites, and shift colors in the Channels section of the tool. Curves are more powerful but a little bit complicated. Tutorials and courses can help you understand what is Curve and how to use it. Or you can experiment and learn it by tapping and dragging on dots and lines and analyzing the immediate effects.

snapseed curve
(2) Selective and Brush

The Selective tool in Snapseed allows you to select a small area to adjust its Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Structure.

snapseed selective

The Brush tool gives you ultimate control over selectively adjusting brightness and color in different parts of the scene.

snapseed brush
(3) Expand

Snapseed's Expand tool allows you to automatically copy the edges of your images and expand the sides.

snapseed expand
(4) HDR

HDR is a high dynamic range image, which can make the light and dark details of the picture richer when the light is relatively large. The HDR tool can further adjust the filter intensity, brightness, and saturation, and there are four preset effects to choose from. These presets are Nature, People, Fine and Strong. These are designed for different types of scenes. You can experiment and see which one fits the mood of the image the best.

snapseed hdr
(5) Healing

The Healing tool in the Snapseed app allows you easily remove unwanted objects from your photos, such as blemishes, scars, freckles, and acne.

snapseed healing
(6) Portrait

The Healing tool in the Snapseed can remove blemishes from the portrait, and the Portrait tool (face retouching tool) can help you take your portrait photo editing further. You can take this tool to brighten your face, smooth skin, and make your subject’s eyes sparkle.

Tips: How to use AI instantly and automatically improve portraits and selfies photos and enhance facial details?

snapseed portrait

moldiv icon 3. MOLDIV by JellyBus

MOLDIV is an all-in-one photo editor that offers various features that satisfies everyone from newbies to professionals, but is totally different from VSCO and Snapseed in overall style. The functions of MOLDIV are very diverse and have almost everything, such as Edit, Collage, Magazine, Beauty, and more.

In Photo Editor, there are 180 filters divided into 13 themes (Basic, Portrait, Food, Pastel, Vintage, Professional, Analog, Art, Monotone, Natural, Elegance, Sexy, and Cute), so you can select a filter easily, even though you may prefer the filters in VSCO.


One of the most popular and useful features in MOLDIV is Collage & Magazine because there are 180 collage templates and 135 popular magazine-style layouts that allow you to create stunning and meaningful photo collages. Photo collage and magazine-style are the great way to tell remarkable stories and record all kinds of occasions. But you need to upgrade to Frames Pack to unlock the more special and interesting templates.

moldiv collage and magazine

Beauty Camera performed well but not outstandingly. If you want a professional face-retouching tool, you can try some dedicated face refinement editors like Facetune, and Pixlr.


From the comparative analysis of the functions of the three full-featured photo editing apps, it is very clear to see that Snapseed has richer photo editing functions and more powerful editing capabilities than VSCO and MOLDIV, which also confirms the product orientation of Snapseed is a "comprehensive and professional photo editing app for Android and iOS". On the other hand, the target user group for Snapseed is those who have a certain photography foundation, and have high requirements for post-production and photo editing tools.

The key feature of VSCO is the filtering preset. There are hundreds of presets for users to choose from. Users can foolishly apply a suitable preset to make an ordinary photo have a film feel and art in one step. It is suitable for mass users who do not know how to retouch pictures precisely.

MOLDIV has neither more powerful editing capabilities than Snapseed nor the higher-qualified film presets than VSCO. But the Collage & Magazine feature is worthy of trying. It is also very frustrating that the app always crashes if choose the Collage tool.

In short, VSCO is more artistic than Snapseed, and it pays more attention to the post-editing of pictures in terms of color, so it is more popular among users. Generally, Snapseed is used for fine-tuning, VSCO is for filters, and MOLDIV for the stylish.

Part 2: Part 2: Best Effects & Filters Apps for iPhone and Android

It always takes a lot of time to adjust and try repeatedly if you want to adjust a good-looking color tone for a photo. We shoot many photos during the journey or in daily life, but don't necessarily have so much time to edit or fine-tune precisely photo by photo. This is where filters come in handy: one-click to apply, simple fine-tuning, well express the emotion, and quick release!

vsco icon 1. VSCO

Although there are so many photo retouching apps that allow users to choose and apply the filers in one click, you may still prefer manual adjustments on VSCO to give your photos a filmic look, or fresh style. If you wish, you can tweak your photos by doing the further adjustments including fade, clarity, skin tone, tint, sharpen, saturation, contrast, temperature, exposure, and much more. VSCO offers 10 free filters for users to use forever, the premium subscription offers more than 200 gorgeous filters to choose from. Here are some of the best VSCO filters you can use for popping your photos.

(1) G9 Warm Portrait for Monaco holiday style
G9 Warm Portrait
(2) FP4 Fuji Pro 400H for twilight in deep blue
FP4 Fuji Pro 400H
(3) KE1 Kodak Ektar 100 for holiday style on the beach
KE1 Kodak Ektar 100
(4) G6 Neutral Portrait for the street view and lovers
G6 Neutral Portrait
(5) KP7 Kodak Portra 400UC for still life, food, and vegetables
KP7 Kodak Portra 400UC
(6) C5 Chromatic for old-school field style
C5 Chromatic
(7) DOG3 Isle of Dogs for the romantic style of pink sky
DOG3 Isle of Dogs

instagram icon 2. Instagram

Instagram is not only one of the best places to share photos, but also a good platform for photo editing including filters, effects, text, stickers, overlays, and more. It offers more than 30 filters that you can use for free. Here are the most used Instagram filters.

(1) Clarendon

The name Clarendon comes from a wealthy suburb called "Clarendon Heights" in San Francisco. It is located in the south of Golden Gate Park, in a high place, and has beautiful views. Clarendon was originally used as a video filter effect and was gradually applied to photos, which can strengthen shadows and brighten brightness. It is suitable for pets and abstract minimalist images. It was once the most popular on Instagram.

(2) Juno

Juno mixes cool green tones with warmer whites, reducing some of the brightness, making the picture darker and the characters look more vivid. It is perfect for urban portraits and city scapes.

(3) Ludwig

Ludwig is one of the 5 new filters launched in late 2014. The name comes from the design concept of "less is more" proposed by the famous German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Ludwig brightens up the sheen while filtering out some color, making it great for portraits, architectural structures, and geometry.

(4) Lark

Lark can be used when you want to brighten your photo a little bit or make it slightly washed out. Lark increases the exposure, decreases the saturation of reds, purples, and magentas, and increases the saturation of the blues and greens. Because it makes the blues and greens more prominent, it’s ideal for landscapes and seascapes.

(5) Gingham

Gingham gives a vintage vibe to images by introducing a slight haze and desaturation. It also reduces the highlights and applies a white vignette to the image. Because it creates a very specific warm and retro atmosphere, it’s perfect for stylish portraits and also product photography.

(6) Slumber

Slumber means sleep, and the origin of the name of this filter is that Krieger's assistant often used her son's photo as an object when testing this filter. According to the name of the filter, its effect intuitively has a hazy or dreamy feel. The little retro tones make the photo romantic and suitable, so it is perfect for street and nature photography.

(7) Systrom

Systrom boosts exposure and warm tones, and it gives the photo a washed-out feel but doesn't filter out all the colors. It is an old-school Polaroid photography feel.

(8) X-Pro

X-Pro is a high-contrast filter effect is often used to restore less-than-perfect cellphone photos taken in the early days, adding halo and gold tones for a dramatic effect like an old movie.


In this part, I prefer the filters on Instagram, because I can easily choose one that fits my pic. If you are a power user who wants more customizable intensity and advanced picture enhancement tools, VSCO is still the best.

Part 3: Best Face Refinement Apps for iPhone and Android

For those who love to take selfies, a professional face refinement tool is must-have, whether one-click to face retouch, or fine-tune. The best and most popular face refinement tool that is usually used on smartphones is Facetune2.

facetune2 logo Facetune2

Facetune, Lightricks' first product, was firstly released in 2013. Facetune2 is mainly used to edit portraits, adjust smiles, skin, eyes, hair, and facial structure, and also apply makeup, blur background and other functions. It can help users achieve Hollywood-level production standards and even retouch photos taken on mobile phones. It enables every user to create high-end, atmospheric, high-end portraits, comparable to a professional's Photoshop masterpiece.

Relight: Adjust the light source for dramatic studio lighting or a softer glow and give the photo new light.

Eyes tool: You can adjust the brightness and clarity of the eyes, as well as the shape and angle of the reflective spots. In addition, you can adjust the size of the pupil, and change the color and style of the pupil.

Defocus: Automatically defocus the background to add depth.

Backdrop: Change the background of any photo.


Bonus: How to Face Refine in One-Click with AI

AVCLabs Photo Enhancer AI AI portrait enhancer to instantly and automatically improve portrait and selfies photos and enhance facial details, reduce imperfections and blemishes, in a single click to tweak your portrait.

1. Use automatic algorithms for retouching portrait and selfies photos in a single click.

2. Automatically recognizes faces and enhance the facial details like hair, eye, lips, and skin with just one click.

3. Remove some small facial imperfections like wrinkles, under-eye bag, red eyes, scars, and smooth skin in one click.

4. Upscale portraits and selfies photos to HD and 4K with quality enhanced.

Part 4: Best iPhone and Android Apps to Add Text/Sticker to Photos and Create College

Sometimes a photo needs something extra, including texts, and stickers to deliver information and emotion. Combine the power of an image and the effect of words or stickers, and you have an even more potent mix. Stickers are sometimes used to make your photos look funny, especially if you want to express your emotions to your friends, followers, and loves particularly. Because not all photo editing apps are good at adding texts and stickers to photos as you wish, this part will show you some of the best apps for adding text and stickers to photos and create gorgeous photo college.

phonto logo 1. Phonto: Add Text to Photos

Phonto is a free app that allows you to add text to photos and is available for both Android and iPhone. It supports changing the size, color, shadow, background color, gradient, kerning, and stroke color. There are more than 200 fonts available and you can also install other fonts. It’s easy to use, allows for applying filters, cropping the photo, adding items, and provides additional styling and edit tools.

add text to photos with phonto

picsart logo 2. PicsArt: Add Text and Stickers to Photos

PicsArt has so many photo editing options, and the most popular one is to add and edit text. It supports adding text to images quickly, changing the text size, font, and color, resizing/rotating the text, adding text effects, add emojis and stickers, and lots more.

add text and stickers to photos with picsart

piclab logo 3. Piclab: Add Text and Stickers to Photos and Photo Collage

PicLab is the premier all-in-one editor to fulfill all of your photo editing needs. including adding texts and stickers to photos, and creating photo collages.

For typography, there is a wonderful collection of fonts you can choose from. It allows you to easily resize, rotate, and adjust the opacity of text, add multiple text layers to create beautiful typography, and add drop-shadows to your text.

For stickers, you can choose from a delightful collection of stickers, overlays & artwork to add to your photos, what's more, new art & stickers are added monthly.

For collage tools, there is a great selection of unique and fun collages, and incredible templates to produce magazine-quality work, similar to MOLDIV.

add text and stickers to photos with piclab


Each photo editing app has its own strengths and weaknesses. In general, for most basic and advanced photo editing needs, Snapseed and VSCO are the best. Snapseed is best for fine-tuning, and VSCO is best for applying filters and color adjustment, PicLab is best for adding text and stickers to photos and creating beautiful photo collages.