The best iPhone photography filter and effect apps

By , Oct 17, 2013

App Store Fun with Filters Banner

Apple has a “Fun with Filters” section in the App Store now. It is a reminder of how many photo-editing apps there are out there. But, which ones are the best? It mostly depends on what you like to use photo editing apps for.

We’ve taking a close look at Apple’s list and weeded it down to our favorite photo filters and effects applications. Take you iPhone photography a step further with the various effects and textures offered by this selection of apps…


VSCO CamIf you prefer adding very subtle imaging effects, instead of making it look like you are using a Lomo cam, this app is perfect for giving your pictures that extra something, without just throwing a filter on top. You can fine-tune the temperature, exposure, and contrast to each filter. Then, add filters that offer specific enhancements. This app is available for free.


RepixMore than just a filter app, Repix is more like an artists app. Users create new and interesting effects on their photographs using nearly 30 brushes to add lighting enhancements, colors, effects, and more. Add borders and share your creations through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. This app is available for free.


MexturesWhen you want to add texture, light leaks, and film grain to your pictures, Mextures is your app. You can apply an infinite number of layers to blend effects. Create formulas, similar to the way photographers do in their light room, and export your final picture with lightning speeds. This app is available for $1.99.


AfterlightThis straightforward editing app is simple, but features powerful tools to help you master the art of photo editing. There are 15 adjustment tools to enhance contrast, exposure, temperature and more. Choose from 56 filters and 66 textures, as well as cropping and rotation tools. This app is available for $0.99.


TangentThink outside the rectangle (or square) with this shapely photo app. Add various frames, shapes, patterns, fills, and blends. Then, resize, rotate, and zoom your images. Add colors, adjust opacity, and mash up the photo until it fits your inspiration. There are 70 shapes and 68 background patterns for lots of options. This app is available for $1.99.

Pixlr Express Plus

Pixlr Express PLUSAutoDesk’s newest photo app lets you crop, resize, and adjust your iPhone pictures. Remove red eye, whiten teeth, and add overlays and filters to make your images pop. Add lighting effects and a border to finalize your picture for easy sharing on Facebook. This app is available for free.

PicsPlay Pro

PicsPlay ProWith this app, you can edit full resolution photos, zoom in during editing, and compare with original photos at any time. Crop, straighten, and rotate your images. Choose from more than 200 professional filters in 10 themes, including Vintage, Grunge, Color Splash, and more. Use the masking tools to add different layers to different sections. This app is available for $3.99.

Photo Editor by Aviary

Photo Editor by AviaryFor a huge selection of filter apps, Aviary has you covered. You can enhance images with a single tap, add lots of effects and frames, crop, rotate, and straighten photos, sharpen and blur images, and more. Add stickers, focus on a subject, and share your creations on various social networking sites. This app is available for free.


LuminanceThanks to a significant list of preset editing tools, you can easily add effects to your photos. Add an infinite number of layers to create a unique look that can’t be found anywhere else. Add white balance, saturation, film grains, and more to blend the perfect effects. Share your photos right from inside the app to Facebook and Twitter. This app is available for $0.99.

PicLab HD

PicLab HDTurn your pictures into graphic designs worthy of a wedding invitation with this powerful design studio app. Add text, artwork, light leaks, textures, film grains, photo filters, and more. Chose from a wide variety of fonts that have been created by graphics designers from around the world. Add illustrations, ornaments, and various design elements to complete your masterpiece. This app is available for $1.99.

These are some of our favorite photo filter and effects apps from Apple’s selection. What are your favorite photo filter apps?

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  • Zhimin BrownEyez

    OMG I WISH I GOT IPHONE 5s!!!!!!!

    • Jonathan

      You have about 2 years left before Apple stops selling them.

      • mobileuser

        Its been 2 years and they are still selling it 😛

      • Jonathan

        Wow, I vaguely remember posting that lol.

  • leart za jmi

    I hate mextures, its a good app, not great, but with the latest version i cant upgrade since i am in 6.0.1 and the app want ios 6.1 and latter…
    This is forcing the users to ios 7 and cant even write a review like this in appstore

    • gagetbOy

      why you still on 6.0.1?

      • leart za jmi

        after i loose the 5.1.1 jailbreak in july, i sold my iphone 4s and i find a new one in 6.0.1, its a new phone :)
        i know its a little stupid but i dont want a iphone without jailbreak, especially without my prefered tweak: Zephyr :)

      • gagetbOy

        understandable I got a google alert set for ios7 jailbreak and probably wont update my phone after that.

      • leart za jmi

        i hope ios 7 jailbreak come out this year, not like the ios 6 jailbreak, in february

      • Saulo Benigno

        And I’m still waiting for jailbreak on 6.1.3 .. I need to upgrade some other phones stucks on it the old 5.1.1 :(

      • leart

        you have iPhone 4, or 3gs/ipod 4G?
        for the newer devices its impossible to upgrade to ios 6.1.3 now, i think you know that..

        Ios 5.1.1 was the best so far, but the problem is that apps now target iOS 5.1.1 and later to work

  • Emil Pakarklis

    It’s good that VSCO is on the top :)

  • Justin Marshall

    Thanks for the introduction to Aviary. I’ve seen the app in passing but hate to admit the app icon kind of scared me away. It’s a really beautiful app though., and easy to use. I guess don’t judge an app by its icon, huh?

  • Culture Vapors

    Aviary > all

    • Saulo Benigno


  • Markus Hudobnik

    VSCO cam, Mextures, Afterlight, and tangent are my favorites

  • Bosco

    I love Snapseed and VSCO

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    Am I the only person that dislikes filters? The only filters I tend to use are either black and white ones or ones with a sepia tone…

  • anonymous

    Where is Deco Sketch ??

  • Ahlamsalameh


  • hemanti

    Instafusion :The best iPhone photography app.
    Instafusion Top iPad Photo-Editing Apps !!!
    Instafusion is Best Photo Editing Apps and Awesome Apps to Edit
    Photographs on iPhone!!! Instafusion – Best Image Blending APP – top
    paid app in US AppStore !!

  • Bert Sandy

    i’m stuck on ios 5.1.1, after upgrading ios 7.0 i dislike it and i restore my phone to 5.1.1 it’s the only ios that cydia have on the server…

  • Jadealyn

    anything else? like really cool apps (editting apps i mean) who agress with me? :) :(

  • Carmela Jackson

    PicsArt Photo Studio


    PicLab HD and PicsArt Photo Studio also pixies fun with photos

  • srijan

    i use instaglass app to edit my photos…it works wonderfully..

  • shuvoshri

    Make your image look creative in seconds through photo effects studio effection app… i just love this app…