How to Edit Photos on iPhone Simple Tutorial for Beginners

Published by: Josh Brown

Updated: Apr 6, 2022


When it comes to instant photo editing, iPhone has a pretty good built-in editor, so if you’re wondering how to edit photos on iPhone, be sure to check out this detailed guide.

Modern iOS offers plenty of basic image editing tools using which you can adjust the white balance and make some color adjustments, fix image distortions, add text, and apply filters. This way you can avoid using cheap and free online editors that will damage your photos quality. 

1. Update Your Phone to The Latest iOS Version

If you have iOS 12 and below, your interface and toolset may differ. To use the current editor, your iPhone must be of version 13.1 or above.

It’s worth noting that the new “Photos” app has a wider range of image editing tools. Thus, you can improve your edits more precisely than before. You can even edit videos using the same tools you use to edit photos.

To update your iPhone to iOS 13, find the “Settings” app on the home screen and open it. Go to “General” > “Software Update”.

Follow the steps above and your iOS will be updated to version 13+. If your operating system has already been updated to iOS 13, then you can enjoy the new features to edit photos on iPhone.

H2 2. Open the Editor

Open The Editor To Edit Photos On Iphone

When you edit an image in the “Photos” app, the original one is replaced with the edited version. However, image editing in this application is not destructive. This means that you can undo changes or revert to the original image any time you want.

To duplicate an image, open it in the “Photos” app and tap the “Share” icon in the bottom left corner. Then scroll down and click “Duplicate”.

Now, select the duplicated image, and tap on the “Edit” photo thumbnail in the right corner. This way you will move to the built-in iPhone editor.

3. Perform Basic Color Correction

Perform Basic Color Correction To Edit Photos On Iphone

The first step is to find the “Adjust” panel. It contains several tools to adjust color and white balance, including automatic photo enhancement. Tap the effect you want to apply, then drag the slider to fine-tune the intensity.

Here you can remove unnecessary shadows, brighten areas by adjusting the exposure, improve the color gamut, intensify colors, and add shine and sharpness by increasing contrast and adjusting saturation.

Also, right here you can adjust the hues and saturation of individual colors. This way you can make the grass and trees greener, and the sky bluer if a photo was taken in poor lighting or the horizon is completely overexposed.

It is possible to remove noise and excess grain in photos taken at night. Thus, you will make a picture a little lighter and softer, and create smooth transitions in the color range.

4. Fix Defects and Unevenness in a Photo

Fix Defects And Unevenness In A Photo To Edit Photos On  Iphone

When editing photos on iPhone you can straighten them and remove the tilt. It is pretty handy if your photo was taken in motion or your camera fails after a fall and deforms the correct aspect ratios and objects.

To do this, open the perspective tool, activate a grid, move the degree slider, and rotate a photo to one side. Users often use this tool while editing architectural photographs.

Here you can also crop a photo, flip it or tilt it. For example, by cropping an image, you can create better symmetry or apply the rule of thirds. You can crop both manually and using ready-made aspect ratios. 

5. Apply Custom Filters

Apply Custom Filters To Edit Photos On Iphone

So, when you properly adjusted white balance, removed unnecessary shadows, and fixed all deformations you may try color and BW filters. The most popular are Warm, Matte, Dramatic, and Ice effects.

The nice thing is that you can increase or decrease the strength of any filter using a slider. I should also mention that you can layer effects one on top of the other and create a unique image style. 

6. Add a Unique Inscription

Add A Unique Inscription To Edit Photos On Iphone

After you’ve completed the basic editing, you can add your inscription to a photo and give it an original look or even protect it in terms of intellectual property. To do this, click on the pen icon at the top right. This way you will open an additional interface. Then select the desired font and text color. Adjust its format and position. Save your project.

7. Compare Result

Compare Result To Edit Photos On Iphone

After you’ve edited a photo and saved a new version, you can still go back to the original image and compare the result. To do this, click on the “Revert” button located on the right bottom.

When you’re done editing photos on iPhone, tap “Done” to save the changes. If you use iCloud Photos, these changes are automatically uploaded to iCloud and synced across all your Apple devices.

The built-in feature set may be insufficient for you, e.g. you can’t remove noise from your photos, even out skin tone, or create a real matte effect in your pictures. No worries – you can delegate this work to the FixThePhoto color correction service. Using sophisticated photo editing techniques in Photoshop and Lightroom, experts will make your images look professional.

What Editors Can I Use Instead of iPhone’s Built-In One?

If you’re wondering how to edit photos on iPhone 5s/6, which doesn’t support modern iOS and its new features, including the updated editor, you can use similar free mobile image editors:

Adobe Photoshop Express includes a range of modern and basic photo editing tools and also supports RAW images. You will find several tools to enhance e skin, remove pimples and smooth out pores, whiten teeth and eliminate a red-eyes effect. It has many professional filters, thanks to which you can improve your photos, add a matte style, or a dramatic effect in one click.

Pixlr, in addition to basic color correction and some automatic tools, offers you to create unique images for stories due to a built-in advanced icon library, 100+ fonts, and one-of-a-kind frames. In addition, here you can work with the background, change it or remove it completely to make an image transparent. Although I should mention that in Pixlr you can’t edit photos in RAW format, only JPEG and PNG, like in the built-in iPhone editor.

Fotor embodies modern color improvement tools, unique image creation, and ease of use. This is a mobile JPEG photo editor with plenty of filters and color correction tools. Here you can eliminate a red-eye effect, whiten teeth, use curves and HSL, which makes the editor a bit similar to Lightroom. You can use duplicate photo finder to clear space in your storage from identical photos.


  • What should I do if my iPhone photos are blurry?

Make sure your camera is clean. In most cases, fuzzy images are the result of camera glass contaminated with grease, fingerprints, dust, etc. Take a damp lint-free cloth and wipe the glass of your front and rear cameras properly.

Then repeat with a dry cloth. If this does not help, I recommend taking your smartphone to a service center. Most likely you have damaged the lenses in a camera due to a recent fall and it is necessary to replace them.

  • Why do my iPhone photos look grainy?

Most likely, you were shooting in poor light or even at night. Even some top-notch cameras cannot cope with this. To avoid grainy shots, try enabling HDR mode in your camera settings.

Also, I recommend using additional light sources if you continue to shoot at night. Buy a desk lamp, connect a circular lamp or simply point a few flashlights at an object.

  • Can I edit RAW images in the built-in iPhone editor?

No, the built-in iPhone editor does not provide this function since a smartphone can only shoot in HEIF/JPEG format. You can improve RAW photos in cross-functional desktop programs such as Photoshop, Capture One, Lightroom, and the like.

  • Can I batch edit images in iPhone’s built-in editor?

No, currently iOS 13 doesn’t provide this feature since Apple has only recently begun to develop its built-in editor. Developers may add it to the subsequent iOS versions.

  • Can I edit videos with in iPhone’s built-in editor?

Yes, if you’re using the latest version of iOS, you’ll get the same set of video editing software, including color adjustment, filters, and text.

  • Can I extend the feature set of e iPhone editor with third-party plugins or presets?

No, Lightroom Mobile Presets or actions cannot be added to iPhone’s built-in editor. If you miss your favorite filters, try editing photos in Lightroom or Instagram.

  • Is it possible to edit a live photo in the built-in editor?

Yes, at the end of editing photos on iPhone, you can save them in the same Live photo format, and upload them to social networks later.

Josh Brown
Josh Brown

Marketing Director at Softorino



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