Picture perfect: the best photo editing apps for Android

Picture perfect: the best photo editing apps for Android

In the past two years, smartphone apps for image processing have made a huge leap forward. We'll show you our favorites - and of course, you'll also find more classic applications for developing RAW images, adjusting contrast and brightness, or removing annoying objects from photos.

Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all apps listed here can also be used as a free version and offer a real added value. Many applications then rely on paid upgrades, which often hide behind a subscription model. The costs for this are usually between one and three bucks per month. All the photo examples you can see in this article have been created with the free versions.


Allrounder: The best apps for photo editing

The all-rounders kick us off, concentrating primarily on "classic" image processing. In addition to the usual parameters such as saturation, brightness, etc., the apps usually offer a variety of filters and frames.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom: good, but better for Adobe customers

AndroidPIT lightroom screenshot combo
Those who already use Lightroom on their computer will quickly find their way around here. The selective application (center) of effects and filters is only possible for paying users. / © NextPit

In terms of functionality, the mobile app is very similar to the large Lightroom. Adobe users will quickly find their way around here. There are many features for editing the photos, most of which are also available in the free version. However, if you want to apply effects to limited image areas, import RAW photos or use the retouching stamp, you need at least a Creative Cloud photo subscription (from €11.89 per month).

Snapseed: a chaotic-free jack-of-all-trades

AndroidPIT snapseed screenshot combo
Snapseed offers a great range of functions. However, the app is quite chaotic - a few submenus would do wonders here. / © NextPit

Snapseed from Google is a good tip for anyone looking for a free image editing app. Besides really numerous photo filters there are also tools to adjust portrait features like head position, pupil size, etc. Another positive aspect here is that all filters can be adjusted in terms of intensity.

At least, in the beginning, the app with the little sorted menu and the numerous functions seems a bit confusing. Since the app is completely free of charge, we will gladly ignore it. Demanding users will enjoy RAW support.

Adobe Photoshop Express: a free Lightroom brother

AndroidPIT best photo apps photoshop mobile
Photoshop Express offers many ways to edit images. / © NextPit

Yes, Adobe and Photoshop again: Photoshop Express is more versatile than Lightroom when it comes to effects - there are countless filters and image overlays that can often be adjusted in their intensity to the respective scene. However, it is not possible to limit the effects to certain image areas.

Finally, Photoshop Express supports numerous frames and brings several text tools with it. Like Snapseed, RAW support is also on board. Another special feature is that the images can be exported in countless different formats, for example as LinkedIn profile images. And, the app is completely free of charge. Yay!

VSCO: image editing with a photo community

AndroidPIT best photo apps vsco
VSCO limits itself to quite simple effects when editing images. But you can see great pictures in the connected community (left). / © NextPit

The app with the less handy acronym can easily be named in the same breath as the previous apps. There are numerous filters and effects. A special feature here is that settings can be combined and saved in "recipes" - even if only in the Pro version, which is no cheap pleasure at €5.49 per month or €21.99 per year.

Another special feature of VSCO is the affiliated community where pictures are diligently shared. The quality of the photos published here is really impressive and worth a look.

You can download VSCO from the Google Play Store.

Photo Editor: the Encyclopedia of Photo Filters

AndroidPIT best photo apps photo editor pro
Photo Editor comes with countless filters. Furthermore, there are some gimmicks like colored pupils or beards, which have to be positioned manually in the picture. / © NextPit

This is exactly the right app for the filter junkies among you: Photo Editor really does have an incredible number of filters - and much more if you take out the rather expensive subscription. The creator demands here either €3.29 per month or €16.99 per year. It is also worth mentioning the possibility to create photo collages from several pictures.

Find your photo editor in the Google Play Store.

Portrait / Retouching

In this area, the focus is entirely on (self)portraits. The applications listed here all offer possibilities to remove skin impurities and the like from pictures. The effects range from subtle (slightly smoother skin) to extreme (digital sex change) - let yourself be surprised.

Adobe Photoshop Fix: Image editing with a focus on portraits

AndroidPIT best photo apps photoshop fix
Adobe Photoshop Fix offers many ways to make your selfies Instagram-ready. And with the various morphing tools, you can deface faces in a great way. / © NextPit

Yes, another app from Adobe. Photoshop Fix offers a variety of ways to edit portraits. This starts with the repair of punctual skin impurities and the softening of entire skin areas up to the changing of the face form. There are also filters to improve detail/structure. Also very nice: most effects can be applied to individual image areas with a configurable brush. In addition, the app is completely free of charge.

Facetune2: More is not possible with Portraits

AndroidPIT facetune screenshot combo
More smiles, more details or a completely different background? Facetune2 is extremely flexible. / © NextPit

Facetune2 is probably the most powerful app I've ever seen in the area of portrait retouching. Even the free version has a really good range of functions and allows you to whiten your teeth, smooth out blemishes or apply make-up. Whoever completes the quite expensive subscription model (€3.49 per month, €20.88 per year) can, for example, exchange the sky or completely change the scenery.

Here you can find Facetune2 in the Google Play Store.

FaceApp: everything from beard to sex change is included

AndroidPIT faceapp screenshot combo
Somewhere between a horror cabinet and party fun: FaceApp has really impressive filters to offer. Data protection is a sensitive topic here. / © NextPit

For fun effects around portraits, this app is probably unbeaten. In the free version, you can make yourself old and young, and access a small selection of beards, hairstyles, and effects. Those who complete the subscription model can adorn themselves with a wide selection of beards, hairstyles, and accessories or even change their sex. Unfortunately, the subscription model is relatively expensive with €3.99 per month and €20.04 per year.

TouchRetouch: Get rid of it!

AndroidPIT touchretouch screenshot combo
Sink ships: With TouchRetouch you can remove unwanted objects from photos. As long as you don't zoom too far into the picture, it actually works quite well. / © NextPit

As the name suggests, TouchRetouch focuses entirely on removing objects from the image. This works much better than the somewhat disappointing Adobe Photoshop Fix. But TouchRetouch still doesn't reach the level of the Content-Aware-Fill-Tool from the full-grown Desktop-Photoshop. Those who regularly want to retouch disturbing power lines or traffic signs from their photos will receive a good tool for a one-time payment of fair €2.29. There is no free version.

You can download TouchRetouch from the Google Play Store.

Artistic Effects

A photo filter with some Hollywood teal orange or creepy green is not enough for you? The following apps will transform your recordings into works of art, from Impressionism to anime style.

Prism: the forefather of art filters

AndroidPIT prisma screenshot combo
Prisma regularly offers fresh art filters. However, most functions are reserved for paying customers. / © NextPit

Prisma has amazed in 2016 with its effective filters. At that time it was unbelievable how photos could be transformed into paintings at the touch of a finger. The free version offers many filters that can also be applied separately to foreground and background and a community connection. Very annoying is the advertising, besides, the users are pressed into a 3-day test phase for the pro version, which changes itself after expiration into a yearly subscription (€15.99, monthly subscription €1.69).

Varnist: prism, only less annoying

AndroidPIT best photo apps varnist
Varnist resembles Prisma, but is less annoying around. However, the separation of foreground and background works better with Prisma. / © NextPit

Varnist is very similar to Prisma in terms of structure and functionality: Here, too, there are countless free filters and the possibility to apply them separately to foreground and background. Varnist also has a subscription model (€0.99 per month, €9.99 per year), but doesn't advertise it so aggressively and doesn't annoy much with advertising. If you are looking for an app with art filters, you should first try them out here.

Instasquare: unique effects, but annoying

AndroidPIT instasquare screenshot combo
With Instasquare you generate unique effects - but the app is really annoying with advertising. / © NextPit

Instasquare stands out especially for its photo sketch effects. The motif - typically a person - is transformed into its contours and placed over the photo as a luminous frame. There are also numerous art filters such as Prisma and Varnist. As great as the effects are, so annoying is the advertising. No matter what you want to do in the app: You have to watch a commercial first. But the results are worth the wait. There is currently no ad-free paid version.

Photo Lab: Complete Look from the Community

AndroidPIT best photo apps photo lab
Photo Lab offers a feed with new filters on a regular basis. The effects usually work well and are sometimes really impressive. / © NextPit

The idea of Photo Lab is that you can turn your photos into a finished work of art with a single tap of your finger. The photo effects used for this are partly user-generated, and accordingly the quality varies greatly. In the feed, you can also find many really great made and partly animated effects. Unfortunately, the app is almost unusable due to the many advertisements. After all, for a single payment of €3.29 the advertisement can be removed.

Animate images

Pixaloop: Animation from heaven to hell

AndroidPIT best photo apps pixaloop
Is the sky real? Who cares if he looks as chic as the picture here / © NextPit

Pixaloop was the first app of this kind I tried - and it's still my favorite. Even in the free version, there are numerous filters that give the photos an animated sky, add snowfall or rain and even animate the camera perspective. In addition, the app is really easy to use and does without annoying advertising. Unfortunately, the free version of the GIF export is missing - if you don't know what to do with the MP4 video clips, you need an extra app or just have to upgrade (€4.20 per month, €21 per year).

pixaloop 2019 12 16 16 45 59
Neither sky nor fog nor camera movement originate from the original recording. / © NextPit

Here you can find Pixaloop in the Google Play Store.

Pixamotion: animates your photos

AndroidPIT best photo apps pixamotion
The arrows determine how the content should move. At the same time, your motif parts are fixed with pins. / © NextPit

While Pixaloop can do a lot and inserts a lot of animated things into your pictures, Pixamotion focuses more on animating existing picture elements - and the app can do that really well. The service is really well done. A one-time payment of €4.19 removes the advertising and grants full access to the various rain, snow and spark overlays. In addition, the Pro version offers more options for exporting animations (resolution, length and so on).

pixamotion 2019 12 16 16 47 45
Pixamotion allows a flowing animation of single image areas, which can be very well delimited. I could have gone to more trouble with the backpack. However, this motif is only suitable to a limited extent anyway. / © NextPit

Here you can find Pixamotion in the Google Play Store.

Vimage: a lot of potential, a lot of annoyance

AndroidPIT best photo apps vimage
The layer system (directly below the picture) is well thought out, but in practice difficult to see through and buggy. Hopefully, this will soon work out better, because the animation itself is well thought out / © NextPit


Vimage is located between Pixamotion and Pixaloop in terms of functionality. The app forge tries to master the range of functions with different levels. However, the operating concept makes the app more complicated than simpler. We also had to deal with a lot of bugs when trying it out. The potential is great, but at least by December 2019 Vimage is lagging behind the competition - the costs of €2.49 per month or €15 per year are not justified.

vimage 12 16 16 51 28
Just like PixaMotion, you can also use Vimage to animate individual image areas and add overlays, such as the column of smoke that rises from the volcano crater. / © NextPit

Collages and FaceSwap

Cupace: Your head on Superman's body

AndroidPIT cupace screenshot combo
With Cupace you can throw out new bodies and faces. / © NextPit

Want to portray your friends as superheroes? With Cupace such tricks are no problem. First, you cut out the faces of your friends from existing photos and create a face collection. Afterwards you can insert the faces from this collection into other pictures. There are a few rudimentary ways to adjust brightness, saturation, and contrast. If the skin tones are too different, they cannot be adjusted. Only the penetrating advertising is annoying.

Adobe Photoshop Mix: Clone yourself now!

AndroidPIT best photo apps photoshop mix
Photoshop Mix is very good for cutting out people or things and inserting them into other images. / © NextPit

And once again Adobe: With Photoshop Mix you can assemble a picture from individual photos. If, for example, you have taken several photos from a tripod and positioned yourself at a different position in the frame for each picture, you can clone yourself with Photoshop Mix. Thanks to the supported image area selection, this usually works really well. The app is completely free.

Pixlr: The #1 for photo collages

AndroidPIT best photo apps pixlr
Pixlr works with templates. So it is no problem to assemble photo collages from several pictures. / © NextPit

Double exposures and numerous image effects such as brightening, darkening, and sharpness, which can be limited to individual image areas: Pixlr is very versatile. The app stands out in particular due to the simple possibility of creating collages from several photos. In addition, there are many filters, frames, and overlays.

Do you have any more tips for us?

A hint to the end: Some of the apps considered here are or have been criticized because of data protection. Due to time constraints, it is unfortunately not possible for us to work through all data protection conditions and general terms and conditions of the applications. If this is a sensitive topic for you, I recommend at least a short research on the respective app before you install it.

Which app is your favorite? And have we forgotten a particularly great application? We are looking forward to your comments!

The article has been extensively revised. Old comments may therefore no longer match the current app selection.

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  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Jan 2, 2020 Link to comment

    nothing beats a pc for editing and a real camera for taking pictures

    • Stefan Möllenhoff
      • Staff
      Jan 2, 2020 Link to comment

      nothing beats a formula 1 car in race track speed. but do you always have one and do you really always need to go that fast? ;)

      Deactivated Account

      •   25
        Deactivated Account Jan 2, 2020 Link to comment

        Right! Very clever :-)

  • Kirti Sharma Oct 22, 2019 Link to comment

    I love to edit my images on my smartphone so I use many of these applications to edit my photographs. Perhaps you will need to pay for some of these apps if you install them from google play store but I usually download my applications from the 9Apps app store. It is easy to use and every application available at is free.

  • Dean L. Jul 10, 2019 Link to comment

    The two apps I use the most are Google photos and Aviary. I'm going to have to check a few of these out.

  • Gavin Runeblade Sep 11, 2018 Link to comment

    What is the best app to turn a 6meg image file into something closer to 300k? On the PC I'd use Irfanview because it is simple and lightweight and I can easily specify the dimensions (say 800px1200p or whatever) and it will re-render, then I can specify my new file's name so I can tell it apart. Because that's where 90% of mobile image apps also fail: they force a random gibberish name on all your modified images. I want to enter my own name or even (shock and horror) save over the original image destroying it forever. But I want to choose. retouching and making it look better, filters, morphing, all the fancy stuff, honestly, I am an uncouth heathen and don't care about that, lol.

  • harshatecordeon Sep 10, 2018 Link to comment

    Excellent information..

  • Allan Morris Jan 2, 2018 Link to comment

    Canva is pretty easy to use. With the help of this app you can edit your images like a pro without much image editing skills.

  • johnny Dec 30, 2017 Link to comment

    Best app list for photo editing but i personally use vengtage effects it have great feature and editing concepts. But i need more fore on editing and making dslr back ground blur so i recently found new app for this purpose .

  • Mehmet Uzar Dec 29, 2017 Link to comment


  • Albin Foro Dec 29, 2017 Link to comment

    I bought Vignette for my first smartphone, though rarely use it. Good to point out that it operates either as an editor or as the camera interface for the various filters so that you're shooting a "Holga" or "Diana" camera. It also permits intensive personal customizing and saving of the different filters, so in fact it's a "filter factory" of sorts and not limited to preset choices. I do quick edits on Snapseed, but big fingers don't work so well - anything serious is on the PC or laptop. Should also put in a good word for Photo Mate R3, now ads/$, for DNG / RAW images - not bloated like Lightroom and works with the good DNGs that Bacon Camera cooks on my Camera1 phone.

  • Vanessa Dean Jul 25, 2017 Link to comment

    Does anyone know something similar to I would like some professional program that could be used on my phone while traveling, so there is no need to bring my laptop everywhere.

  • Chris Chris Feb 22, 2017 Link to comment

    "Ist ist art? Definitely not" ... Art is a subjective thing, and I personally think you do can create art with this kind of app. I got a lot of great artworks from Deep Art Effects (highly recommended - a better alternative to Prisma). It doesn't take any artistic skills but you still get great creative results.

  • Ionut Popa Jan 5, 2017 Link to comment not quite a photo editing but allow you to compress and share photos

  • Milos Radovanovic Sep 26, 2016 Link to comment

    I've been using Photo Editor for Android for a while now. It's similar to Aviary, but easier to use. Has quite a number of features you can download free in addition to the default version.

  • Shweta Singh Sep 23, 2016 Link to comment

    I like this article but here one android app isn't applied which is PIP Camera Plus i think it is perfect photo editor app.

  • Aakash Sohani Sep 12, 2016 Link to comment

    Other then these, for video you can try Videorama. It is powerful, yet easy to use video editor and movie producer for iPhone & iPad. Read about it at BETAPAGE.

  • Tiffany Yun-Hsuan Chang Aug 26, 2016 Link to comment

    try Comet app! It allows user upload their photo in bulks at a time!

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