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Pixelmator Photo – probably the best iPhone photo editor

Developer: Pixelmator Team
Price: $7.99/£6.99
Size: 193 MB
Version: Version 2.0.4
Platform: iPhone & iPad

Pixelmator Photo

Pixelmator’s apps have been impressing for several years now. Pixelmator Pro is a genuine Photoshop alternative on Mac, while we called Pixelmator Photo “hands–down the best photo editor available for Apple’s iPad” in our 2019 review. In fact, one of the few reasons it didn’t get a perfect score was the lack of an iPhone version.

Given that the iPhone is, from a certain angle, the most popular camera on the market, the continuing lack of an iPhone app was a curious oversight. Thankfully, it’s one that Pixelmator Team has finally addressed with Pixelmator Photo 2.0.

The split tool is perfect for comparing and contrasting your edits

The only question that really needs answering, then, is whether there’s any reason not to instantly make this your go-to photo editing app. The quick and simple answer is “no,” unless you’re particularly wedded to one of the other great photo editing apps on the App Store.

There are no surprises if you’re familiar with the aforementioned iPad version. This app brings a desktop-class photo editing experience to iPhone, stripped down and streamlined for a mobile device.

Batch edits are one of many things you can’t do in Photos

One of the key advantages of the app over, say, the stock Photos app is the ability to edit multiple photos simultaneously. You can crop and reframe multiple photos instantly, or you can adjust things like the white balance, temperature, hue, and saturation of individual shots, then copy and paste those adjustments to a batch of other images.

Perhaps most impressive for the mobile user seeking to make swift edits on the fly are Pixelmator Photo’s machine learning features. With a tap of the ML button you can balance shots out to an often spookily effective degree.

The healing tool seamlessly removed a dog from the bottom right corner

There’s a similar feature in Photos, of course, but even more impressive is the ML Denoise feature, which uses machine learning techniques to remove camera noise and image compression. You might need to pinch and zoom to fully appreciate the difference, but it’s very real.

Thankfully, the developer makes it very easy to spot the difference with all of your adjustments through its in-built split feature. Hit this, and a movable divider will show you the before and after effect side by side.

There’s a comprehensive list of adjustment tools

Pixelmator Photo’s ML features can also up the resolution, match colours between images, and more. Its ability to automatically crop images proved impressive during our testing, squaring off particular night-time scene to centre on the key arch.

The app’s ability to remove objects from view entirely using the healing tool can feel faintly magical. We were able to remove a random dog from a beach scene with little in the way of discernible artefacts left in its wake.

Before applying the basic ML tool…

…and after applying the basic ML tool

There’s support from ProRaw and 600 over RAW image formats, and it’s all tightly integrated with Apple Photos, so you can jump to Pixelmator’s more comprehensive suite of tools direct from Photos. Edits made in one manifest in the other, too.

All this and you’re paying a single reasonable upfront fee for the app, with no costly subscription to maintain. Very refreshing.

No, you still don’t get layers here, but that seems more forgivable in this most compact of versions. (If you want to make the sort of complex edits that require layers, try the full-fledged Pixelmator app instead.) Pixelmator Photo aims to give you pro-level results as quickly and intuitively as possible, and at that it’s a resounding success.