How to Retouch Photos on iPhone Without Installing Anything — 2022

iPhones are capable of taking truly amazing photos even on models that are a few years old. However, we do not always get the best result when making the capture or we would simply like to give it a different touch to make it look the way we think it deserves. That's what editing apps are for, though if you're new to iOS or have never stopped to dig, you may not know it's possible. edit iPhone or iPad photos without installing apps of any kind. If you did not know this, keep reading because we will tell you what are the options that you have at your fingertips.

What you can expect from these features

To put into context the type of editing that can be done natively on the iPhone or iPad, we must say that not a professional editor . You will find many interesting functions and that in fact we are going to describe in the following sections, but the truth is that you will not find such powerful tools as you would find in third-party applications that are precisely focused on this type of work.

Now, does this mean that it is a bad editor? Absolutely. Although it is simple, it has very interesting functions and above all easy to use, as well as fast. In a third-party editor and depending on the editing requirement, it could take much longer to render the result and here it is instantaneous. Even if you use third-party editors on a regular basis, the iPhone editor can come in handy at some point for a quick touch up .

Photo editing from the native iOS app

The first thing you should know is where the editor is and that, although it is not hidden nor does it require advanced knowledge, it is not shown to the naked eye as perhaps some would expect. To access it you must open the app Photos and locate the photograph in question that you want to edit. Once you locate it, enlarge it and click on Edit at the top right (if the option does not appear, click on the photo again). Once you have got there you will find the following options that we describe below.

edit photos iphone

Retro mode scenarios

Only in photographs taken in portrait mode with the iPhone or iPad will you be able to find this option. It's the one just at the top left. It basically serves to switch between the different types of portrait lighting . To choose one, you just have to change between the options that appear at the bottom and which are the following:

  • Natural Light (Portrait mode default)
  • studio light
  • outline light
  • stage light
  • mono stage light
  • mono high key light

It should be noted that at the bottom of these options there is a kind of time line that refers to the level of intensity that you want to give the effect, being greater the further to the right you put the bar.

iphone portrait lighting

Change depth level

This feature is also only enabled for photos taken in Portrait Mode. What it allows is more or less blur the background or, what comes to the same thing, change the intensity of the bokeh effect. This option appears after the previous one with an icon that is shaped like a circle with a letter f in the center.

At the bottom you will find a bar in which the more you slide to the right, the less blur you will see that occurs in the photo, while if you move it to the left you will find that there is more blur. You will see that there is a dot just above this bar and it is what serves as an indication of what the default blur level is that the snapshot was originally taken with.

level depth portraits iphone

Brightness, color adjustments and more

In all the photographs, regardless of whether they are portraits or not, we find various editing settings. All of them are set in the same way as the previous ones, with a lower bar that can be moved to achieve a greater or lesser intensity of the adjustment in question. The first of them is him automatic which is the one that is marked by default based on how the iPhone or iPad interprets the photo through artificial intelligence. Those that allow customization are these:

  • Exposition
  • Brightness
  • light areas
  • Shades
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • black dot
  • Saturation
  • Vivacity
  • Temperature
  • Dye
  • Sharpness
  • Definition
  • noise reduction
  • Degraded

iphone photo settings

Available filters

How could it be otherwise, in the native iOS and iPadOS editor we can also find the always interesting filters that change the tonality of the images making them look different. it's possible combine them with other settings as previously mentioned. To find them you have to click on the symbol with three circles located in the lower center. There you will find these filters:

  • Original
  • Vivid
  • vivid warm
  • cold vivid
  • Dramatic
  • dramatic warm
  • dramatic cold
  • Mono
  • Silver
  • Noir

iphone photo filters

Photo rotations and readjustments

If your photograph has turned out or go out with him mirror mode , you can also tweak these settings. To do this you must click on the third and last icon that appears at the bottom when you are in editing mode. These other icons will now appear that will give you access to the following actions:

    mirror mode:either to remove this effect or put it on. It basically consists of flipping the photograph horizontally. It's the icon that appears in the upper left. 90º turns:As you press the second icon in the upper left row, you can rotate the photo from 90 degrees to 90 degrees. Automatic:This option that appears in the upper center automatically readjusts the framing of the photo. Image format:The icon that appears to the right of Automatic will allow you to select one of the following formats for the photo:
    • Original
    • Free
    • 1:1
    • 9:16
    • 8:10
    • 5:7
    • 3:4
    • 3:5
    • 23
    Image Crop:You yourself can cut out the part of the image that interests you with the guides that you will find on the sides of its preview. Address it:the options to change the angle of the photo are found in the first icon at the bottom left, having a bar with which to adjust it. Vertical and horizontal perspective:To change the perspective of the image you must go to the following two icons that appear after the previous one, also having a bar with which to modify it.

crop photos iphone

Two other settings

Although the most important thing is mentioned in previous sections, we cannot ignore two settings that we also find within the editing options in the Photos app and that can be useful in many cases.

    dialing:If you click on the three points located in the upper right part, the options will open to make markings on the photo as if you were writing with a pencil, a marker or a highlighter, being able to choose any color range and making those markings that you want as if you were in front of a paper photo. Red eyes:when you see a crossed-out eye icon, it will be that you can enable this option that, as its name suggests, will remove the red eyes of those people who appear in a photograph like this. These types of effects occur especially when taking photos with flash.

other iphone photo editing settings

Live Photo Editing

The iPhone 6s and later have the option of making Live Photos that, although they are displayed statically, are really images that when you see them from the iPhone or iPad gallery and click on them you will see that they are animated as if they were small video clips. These can be edited in the same way as the previous ones, but they also offer other interesting options exclusive to them.


If you are viewing a Live Photo from the native iPhone or iPad app, we recommend you slide it up when it is open to open some of its options. The first ones you will see are precisely those called effects, being able to choose any of these:

    Live:it would stay like this, being a static photo that is only animated when you open it or click on it. Loop:you can turn the image into a GIF by continuously playing the motion. Rebound:the familiar boomerang filter is in this setting making the photo look like a GIF, but instead of starting over, it does the opposite effect. So the photo will be looking like a clip that plays, rewinds and plays again and so on. Long exposition:this effect is ideal when photographing certain scenarios such as waterfalls or headlights of cars passing by at high speed, showing a single photograph as if it had been taken with a long exposure lens.

iphone live photo effects

Choose the exact frame

As we explained before, in the end the Live Photo does not stop being like a small video clip composed of several frames . By default, the system displays as primary the one it considers to be the sharpest and most stable. However, you can choose the one you want if you click on Edit and then on the icon made up of several circles and which is located at the bottom left (to the right of Cancel).

It should be noted that in order to choose the exact frame that you want to be displayed, you must not have changed the Live effect that we mentioned in the previous section. If you already changed it, don't worry, because you can go back to put it back and do the same steps again to change the frame. This setting is ideal for capturing just the moment you wanted if the iPhone didn't, such as typical jumping photos if you want to stay right with the frame you're floating on.

choose iphone frame