How to edit your photos on your smartphone

Nowadays, living in an increasingly digital world, it can be difficult to make your photos stand out and look the best they possibly can. On Instagram alone, more than 95 million photos are uploaded to the platform each day, and the drive to post interesting and fresh content is higher than ever. In this post you can learn a few tips to take your photos to the next level on your smartphone, whether you’re just starting out, or if you’re experienced with photo editing technology.

Beginner: Using the photos app

One of the easiest ways to edit your photos, is simply by using the photos application on your smartphone. The method to change your photo settings will vary depending on your phone but the processes for an iPhone and Android are explained below.


  1. The first step on your iPhone is to select the photo you want to edit. 
  2. In the top right hand corner you should see a button that says ‘edit’, tap on this.
  3. Next, you’ll be presented with a variety of options. If you tap on the button that looks like a magic wand, Apple will edit the photo on your behalf, based on what it thinks will look best. 
  4. If you’re not happy with what Apple decides, click on the magic wand again and the changes will be removed.
  5. To add a filter to your photos on the Apple photos app, you’ll need to tap on the button at the bottom of the screen that has three circles overlapping each other. This will bring up a variety of filters that you can try out, including making your photos black and white.
  6. The button at the bottom next to these three circles that looks like a square changes the dimensions of the photo. By tapping on this you can crop the photo or rotate it, using the square with the arrow in the top left hand corner.
  7. Finally, if you want to manually change the colour, saturation, definition, or shadows you can tap on the buttons next to the magic wand. By tapping these buttons, you’ll now have the option to swipe on the dial to increase, or decrease the settings on your photo. There are a lot of settings you can choose from here and it’s fun to play around with them to see what makes your photos look the best they can.
  8. When you’re happy with the way the picture looks click ‘done’ in the bottom right corner, or if you want the image to go back to the original you can tap ‘cancel’ in the bottom left corner.


On an Android the process is similar to an iPhone, with a few small differences.

  1. Display the image you want to edit or otherwise manipulate.
  2. Tap the Edit icon. If you don’t see it, tap the screen and it shows up.
  3. When you click edit changes will be applied immediately to the image. If you tap the Reset icon you can undo a change and to cancel everything, simply tap the Cancel icon (the x in the top left corner). 
  4. The editing tools are presented in three categories, shown at the bottom of the screen, basic settings on the left, image effects in the middle, and crop on the right.
  5. The basic settings button allows you to change individual settings like exposure, brightness, shadows etc.
  6. Image effects will present you with a range of filters you can apply to your photos.
  7. Crop will allow you to change the dimensions of the image or rotate it.
  8. When you’re satisfied with your efforts, tap the save button in the top right corner.

Intermediate: using Instagram 

If you have an Instagram account, you can also edit your photos directly on the app. The main difference between editing on your photos on the photos app versus Instagram, is that Instagram gives you a lot more filter options to choose from.

  • Select the photo or photos you want to edit or upload by tapping the + in the top right corner. 
  • Click ‘next’ in the top right corner and you’ll see a variety of filters on the screen. You can tap on these to see what your photo would look like with the filter.
  • If at any point you are unhappy with the way the photo looks you can tap on the arrow in the top right corner ‘<’ and then tap ‘discard’.
  • Instagram also gives you the option to edit the photo manually with the ‘edit’ option, which will be shown in the bottom right corner when you have selected the image you want to edit. Again, just as on the photos application, you will have the option to change the brightness, contrast, saturation etc here. 
  • Please note if you select multiple images to post, any filter you add to one image will be applied to the other images too. With multiple images selected you also won’t be able to click ‘edit’. 

Advanced: photo editing apps

There are also a variety of great free photo editing mobile apps that you can use to enhance your photos in a way that isn’t possible with the Photos app or Instagram. 

For example, with Enlight Quickshot you can edit the colour of the sky in the background of your photos, making it look like the picture was taken on a sunny day, even if it wasn’t, simply by tapping on the cloud icon! With Pixlr you can add special effects, text, and borders to your photos before you upload them and, using PicsArt you can quickly select or create fun stickers, combine your pictures into highly customisable collages. With all these apps there are both free and premium versions, which remove the number of adverts you see and give you access to more photo editing software.

Will you be using these tricks to edit your photos? Let us know in the comments below, and if you have any other technology queries tweet @techtroublesho1.

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