While cameras have become a standard part of smartphone hardware these days, the stark fact is that not all cameras are created equal. Well, even the same camera takes different pictures in different conditions – there will be times when it will take a shot that seems inch perfect with all the colors just right and others when it will deliver results that look like something dug out of an ancient family album: high on sentiment but alas, low on color quality. Of course you can “touch up” and edit images that don’t come out just the way you wanted them to, but this is a tedious process more often than not, involving endless fiddling with bars, brushes and the like. So what if you had an app that simply “borrowed” the color composition of one image and transferred it to another, giving both images exactly a similar appearance as far as color rendition goes?

Sound the trumpets please – Color Thief does just that.


Available for iOS for $1.99 (the developers clearly do not subscribe to the Best Things in Life are Free ideology), Color Thief is designed for just one function: allowing users to share the color composition of one image with another. And the charm is that it lets them do so with utter simplicity. Launch the app and you are presented with two rows of images – the one on the top contains the images on your camera roll, while the one below contains four sample images and once again, all the images on your camera roll. To switch colors from one image to another just scroll across to them and place them one below the other – and then just move the arrow that lies between them in the direction of the image to which you want the color of the other to flow. If you are not too impressed, you can even make the colors flow in the opposite direction. Once you are done, you can save the re-colored image to your camera roll, mail it, send it to an app or share it on Facebook and Twitter, as per your inclination.


And that essentially is ALL the app does. If you are among those harking for an app that will let you play with different shades and filters, and maybe just touch up a particular portion of a photograph, you are out of luck, Color Thief ain’t for you. It is a simple color swapper, but what it does, it does extremely well and without murdering image resolution – yes, before you ask, we were to transfer filters from Instagrammed pics to others without affecting the latter’s resolution. What’s more, in most cases, the results were very good indeed. And unlike in other ‘color filtering’ apps where your color filters are limited to a few options, here EVERY picture you take or save into your camera roll is a filter in its own right. Like a picture on the Web and want similar colors? Save it on to your camera roll and simply transfer the colors to another image of your own.


It is easy to use, works at the rate of knots (colors transferred in a snap on our iPhone 4S and iPad, 3rd generation) and delivers very good results. Yes, we wish it cost nothing, but considering what it delivers and the ease with which it does so, we think Color Thief is pretty much a must-have for all those who love to tweak photographs.

Available from: iTunes App Store
Price: $1.99

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Editorial Mentor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.