- Most people prefer using a Mac for photo editing, Thanks to the high-quality displays better performance, and optimized photo editing software.
- There are plenty of basic and professional Photo editing apps available for Mac. These apps offer basic to advanced features to edit images.
- In this Guide, we are going to look at 10 different photo editing apps available for Mac. The list includes popular apps from Adobe. Open source apps like GIMP and basic editing apps like Fotor and also inbuilt option from Mac.
Photo editing apps offer a variety of tools to edit and enhance photos. They offer basic features like cropping and adding text, filters, and more advanced tools like support for layered editing, advanced color correction, and more. Some photo editing apps also offer AI features to edit images with simple text prompts automatically. Most people prefer a Mac for photo editing.
If you’re looking for the best photo editor for Mac, we’ll introduce you to the 10 best photo editor apps for Mac in this guide. The list includes basic to professional photo editing apps, open-source photo editing software, and built-in photo editing tools for Mac.
Table of Contents
Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac
- Adobe Photoshop: Industry-standard, powerful tools for photo editing, graphic design, and digital art.
- Apple Photos: Basic photo organization and editing, integration with Apple devices.
- Affinity Photo App: Professional-grade photo editing with a one-time purchase.
- Fotor Photo Editor: User-friendly, basic editing tools and templates.
- GIMP: Open-source, customizable, and powerful editing tools.
- Adobe Lightroom: Photo organization and editing, focused on workflow and non-destructive editing.
- Luminar Neo Photo Editor: AI-driven editing tools, easy-to-use interface.
- Pixlr: Cloud-based, accessible through a web browser and basic editing tools.
- Photoshop is considered an industry standard, making it essential for many professionals and businesses.
- Adobe Photoshop has several basic to advanced image editing tools.
- Uses generative AI to edit images with simple text prompts
- Pro subscription required to use
- Not beginner friendly and requires experience to use the app
- The app is also very resource-intensive.
Adobe Photo is the most popular and professional photo editing app for Mac. It offers powerful and advanced tools for photo editing. The app is compatible with Apple’s latest M-series silicon processors. The Adobe Photoshop app is not available from the Mac App Store. Instead, you can download the app directly from the official Adobe website and install it on your Mac. The app is free to try for 7 days and costs $20/month. The app is also available bundled with an app plan that includes all Adobe apps and costs $54.99/month.
Adobe Photoshop is made for professional photo editing. If you’re a beginner, you can learn how to use Adobe Photoshop by watching Adobe’s free tutorials. The app offers basic to advanced photo editing tools, including support for layers, adjustment layers, healing brushes, cropping tools, color balance, blend modes, clone stamp tools, and more. It also supports 3D editing, AI-powered enhancements, and various plugins.
You can make basic photo edits, such as adjusting brightness, cropping the image, changing contrast, and more. The app offers powerful image editing features such as automatic tools that automatically correct the images, support for multiple layers, advanced color management features, support for custom brushes, clone stamp tools, blending tools, and much more. You can also use the app for non-destructive editing. Photoshop also has tools for editing 3D images, realistic drawings, and motion-based content. Moreover, the app supports file editing in RAW and various professional formats, offering flexibility for different photographic needs. In addition to photo editing features, the app also offers basic video editing features.
The app also offers support for external plugins that you can install and extend the app’s features. Popular plugins include Portraiture for skin retouching, the Nik Collection plugin that offers a wide range of photo editing features, Noiseware for reducing noise in the image, and more. The user interface is simple and easy to use. The app offers various features for easy image editing. It has a precise selection tool for detailed editing and custom settings that let you add custom settings to images as you edit them. The app also has a History panel that keeps track of all the changes made to an image.
Adobe Photoshop supports various export formats and options, including social media integration. You can export the image and share it directly on social media. Adobe recently introduced new generative fill features that use AI to edit images. The generative fill features are available alongside Adobe photo editing tools for easy access. Generative fill also supports text prompts, where you can type text, and AI will make changes for you in an image.
This is a paid tool that offers several subscription options, including single-app subscriptions, photography plans, Creative Cloud All Apps plans, and special discounts for students, faculty, and businesses. To use the app, you need a Mac OS 10.5 or later. It integrates with other Adobe products like Lightroom, Stock, Behance, and other Adobe apps. Overall, Adobe is the best option for professional graphic designers, photographers, and illustrators for professional image editing and creative work.
- Free to use and comes with built-in macOS.
- Offers a good selection of editing features
- Edit videos and photos in a single place
- Not great for advanced photo editing
Apple Photos is the best app for people looking for a simple photo editing app for Mac. The Apple Photos app is built into the Mac and offers simple editing features like rotating, cropping, exposure and color adjustments, removing red-eye, changing white balance, and more. It also includes controls for brightness, contrast, and tone adjustments. The Apple Photos app is free to use. Aside from photos, you can also use the Apple Photos app to enhance videos. It is best for people who need a simple photo editing program without installing a third-party app.
The Apple Photos app supports various photo editing features. You can apply various filters to the images. The Photos app supports built-in filters that allow you to change the look of your photo and video. The app also supports the automatic enhancement feature that lets you adjust the color and contrast of your edited photo or video.
The user interface is simple and easy to use. You open the Apple Photos app on your Mac, select the image you want to edit, and click the Edit button in the upper right corner of the window. This brings up the built-in editing tools in the Photos apps. In the sidebar, you can access editing features like color, contrast, white balance, and more. There’s also a Reset Adjustment option to reset the image settings to their default values.
Apple Photos retains the original photos and allows you to undo changes and return to the original look of the photo. If you want to experiment, Apple Photos lets you easily create duplicate photos.
Overall, Apple Photos is the best option for anyone looking for a simple photo editing app without installing a third-party app. You can use the basic video editing features of Apple Photos to edit the videos. The app is free to use. The changes you make to a photo in the Apple Photos app are automatically saved to other Apple devices with the same iCloud account.
Affinity Photo App
- Affordable option
- Offers a similar interface to Photoshop.
- Offers a wide range of features and tools to edit photos professionally.
- Supports Photoshop plugins and has an online store for additional content.
- Lacks some AI-related features
- Not beginner friendly
Affinity Photo is the best option for people looking for an alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It offers essential features similar to Adobe Photoshop and has a wide range of features. The app is best suited for beginners or professional photographers who are looking for an affordable alternative to the Adobe PhotoShop app for Mac. The app can be purchased once instead of signing up for a monthly or yearly subscription.
The user interface is similar to Photoshop. The app offers features for beginners and professional photo editing. The basic photo editing features of the app include cropping, rotating, flipping, resizing images, adjusting colors, removing unwanted objects, and more. It also offers advanced features like retouching options like frequency separation, cloning, touch-up, dodge, and burn tools. It also has quick selection and edge tools for easy editing, multi-layer compositions, blending modes, and more. You can add and style text, create custom brushes, and paint symmetry into images.
The app also supports HDR merging, panorama stitching, and 360° image editing. It also supports various export options, batch processing, macros, focus stacking, noise reduction, and more. The app also has a dedicated workspace for editing RAW files. Similar to Photoshop, Affinity Photo also supports a variety of plugins that allow users to extend the features and capabilities of the app. The app is also compatible with many popular Photoshop plugins.
Affinity Photo is a paid app and is available for a one-time price of $69.99. The app is also available for iPad and costs $18.49/17.99. You can also try the app for free for 30 days for Mac and Windows. You can download the Affinity Photo app from the official website and install it on your Mac.
Fotor Photo Editor
- Provides a simple and easy-to-use interface suitable for beginners
- Offers both basic and professional editing tools.
- Includes design templates for social media content.
- Free version available
- Allows editing multiple photos simultaneously.
- Not suitable for users seeking a comprehensive alternative to professional tools like Photoshop.
Fotor is the best option for those looking for a simple, easy-to-use alternative to advanced photo editing apps like Photoshop and Affinity Pro. The app offers a user-friendly interface and basic to advanced photo editing tools like cropping, rotating, resizing, curves, layers, and more. The app also supports templates, making it an ideal option for anyone looking to create and edit content for social media quickly.
As for Fotor’s photo editing features, it offers simple tools like cropping, rotating, resizing, color adjustments, and more. There are also features like sharpening images and enhancing blurry images. The app also offers the ability to add artistic effects and remove red eyes. It also offers advanced options like curves and layers for fine-tuning, distortion correction, skin smoothing, HDR synthesis, and more. It also supports templates for creating content for social media and more. It also offers noise reduction, lens correction, and other special adjustments.
The app’s user interface is simple and easy to use. The app is designed for beginners who want to edit their images quickly. Unlike Photoshop, which uses a toolbar and layers, Fotor only lets you apply effects and edits to the entire image. The Fotor app is available for free. You can subscribe to Fotor Pro for $8.99 per month or $39.99 per year for additional features like noise reduction, lens correction, and more. Fotor also has a higher-end subscription called Fotor Pro+, which costs $19.99 per month or $89.99 per year and offers even more advanced features.
- GIMP is completely free and open source.
- Cross-platform compatibility: Available for Windows, macOS and Linux
- Offers basic and advanced editing tools, from simple to complex photo enhancements
- Users can customize the interface to their preferences, rearrange tools, and create shortcuts.
- Uses less memory and runs smoothly on older or less powerful computers.
- Supports third-party plugins for added functionality.
- Challenging for beginners
- User interface could be better
GNU Image Manipulation Program, short for GIMP, is an open-source photo editing app for various operating systems, including macOS, Windows, and GNU /Linux. The app is free and supports various photo editing features suitable for beginners and advanced users. If you are looking for a free, open-source alternative to professional business software like Photoshop, GIMP is the best option for you.
The user interface is a bit dated, but you can get used to it after some time. The app offers basic to advanced photo editing tools. The app lets you crop them with the crop tool, resize them with the resize tool, and more. It also offers advanced image editing tools like color correction, stacking images using layers, fixing small mistakes with the healing tool, or even editing high-quality RAW images directly from your camera. GIMP also supports external plugins to expand its capabilities.
Overall, GIMP is the best choice for users looking for a free and open-source photo editing app for their Mac. It offers basic and advanced photo editing features for beginners and advanced users. GIMP is free to use. You can download it from the official website GIMP and install it on your device.
If you’re into open source, you can also try Darktable, a free and open-source image editing tool. The app offers free editing tools to edit your images on Mac. You can resize, change colors and brightness, add cool effects, and even draw shapes.
It also offers features that let you manage all your photos in a single place. Darktable also lets you take pictures directly with your camera and edit them. The app is free to download. You can download the app from the official Darkable website and install it on your Mac. The app is lightweight and similar to GIMP. It is compatible with most Macs.
- Offers powerful photo editing tools
- Manage all your photos in the app.
- Seamless integration with other Adobe products like Photoshop for advanced editing.
- Create a workflow and streamline the editing process.
- Syncs with Adobe Cloud to access photos and edits on all devices.
- Requires a monthly or annual subscription
- It may take a bit for beginners to learn all the features.
- Additional cloud storage beyond the basic plan may require additional payment.
Adobe also offers Adobe Lightroom for editing raw photos. The main difference between Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom is that Photoshop is primarily used for graphics editing. You can use Photoshop to create images from scratch, edit tiny details in an image, and more. Adobe Lightroom, on the other hand, is designed for editing images in raw format and supports simultaneous batch processing of images and much more. Adobe Lightroom is the best choice if you’re looking for a simple photo editing app that helps you manage your photos and gives you a straightforward photo editing experience.
Adobe Lightroom offers many built-in basic and advanced photo editing features. You can easily import multiple photos and tag images, sort them by metadata, and compile them into sets. Instead of individual photo editing features, Adobe Lightroom provides a workflow where you can import, edit, and export images. All image edits made in Adobe Lightroom are non-destructive, so the original images are not altered. You can re-import the image and edit it according to your needs. In addition to photo editing, Lightroom also offers video editing features, such as applying presets, cropping, retouching, and fine-tuning various aspects such as contrast, highlights, and color.
The user interface is simple and easy to use compared to Adobe Photoshop. The app integrates easily with other Adobe apps. You can export the images to Photoshop for detailed editing. If you are a beginner, you can use Adobe’s free tutorials. Adobe Lightroom is a paid app. You can subscribe to the app for $9.99/month. It’s also bundled with Adobe Photoshop and Creative Cloud plans. Adobe Lightroom is also available for free on mobile devices.
Adobe Photoshop vs Adobe Lightroom
If you are still confused between Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, here is a feature comparison between the two apps to help you decide.
Organizing and processing photos in a single place
Image manipulation, creation, and enhancement
Comes with basic editing and processing
Allows pixel-level perfection, extensive retouching, and more advanced features to edit images.
Limited retouching capabilities
Advanced retouching. Supports layered editing.
Non-destructive workflows but without layers
Utilizes Layers and Smart Objects for non-destructive editing.
Integration with Other Apps
Works seamlessly with Photoshop
Includes Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw, works seamlessly with Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for mobile
Adobe Photoshop Express
Photographers, for users looking for basic editing and processing
Suitable for Professional Photo Editors, Photo retouchers, fine artists, compositing artists, graphic designers, and illustrators
User-friendly with universal adjustment sliders
Need experience to use the app.
Luminar Neo – Photo Editor
- Offers a range of AI-powered features such as Sky AI, Relight AI, and Portrait Bokeh AI for easy editing.
- The simple and easy-to-use interface is suitable for both beginners and professionals.
- Fewer adjustment options and filtering capabilities.
Luminar is a simple photo editor app for Mac with AI-driven photo editing features that are suitable for beginners as well as users who want professional photo editing tools. The app offers a variety of AI photo editing features, such as Sky AI, Accent AI, Skin AI, and more. These AI features help you make advanced edits to the image and save time.
The app also offers basic and advanced manual photo editing features. You can make basic photo edits such as crop, rotate images, change contrast and brightness, and more. In addition, the app offers advanced features like super contrast to adjust tonal ranges, layer support, powerline and dust spot removal, high dynamic range custom color profile processing, professional-quality tools, and more. It also has AI editing features to manipulate images. The AI features are available along with the manual tools. You can simply tap on any tool and apply the changes to the image.
The user interface is simple and easy to use. It offers a streamlined workflow interface. You can import the images from your device, edit them, and export them to different formats. The app is free to try and offers three subscription options. You can choose a monthly subscription for $8.99, an annual subscription for $49.99, or a one-time lifetime purchase for $99.99.
- Pixlr offers a free version with a good selection of editing tools that make it accessible to many users.
- Offers a simple and easy-to-use interface that is suitable for both beginners and advanced users.
- You can edit images without having to create an account.
- Offers a wide range of editing tools, filters, and effects for creative editing.
- Support for Templates.
- Allows users to save and access their images and projects in the Pixlr library.
- Some of the advanced editing features found in professional software may be missing.
Pixlr is the best option for those looking for a simple cloud-based photo editor for Mac. It offers basic and advanced photo editing features on your Mac. It offers template support and a Pixlr library to store and retrieve images and projects.
The app offers basic photo editing features like cropping, resizing or removing backgrounds, and more. The app also lets you add text, draw, or doodle on your photos. It also supports filters. You can export or save your edited photos in PNG, JPEG, BMP, or TIFF formats and share them directly on social media.
Pixlr also offers advanced photo editing features like Double Exposure for layer effects, Color Splash to highlight colors, and Focal Blur for more impact. You can choose from different effects packages, adjust the tone of the photo with overlays, and more. You can keep track of all the changes you’ve made to the images and undo them at any time.
The app offers a simple and easy-to-use interface. You can find all the photo editing functions in the toolbar. Similar to other apps, you can import and edit the photos and export the images to different formats. The Pixlr app is free to use. You can download the app from the Mac Store and install it on your device. There is also a Pro subscription that comes with additional benefits.
Find Your Next Best Photo Editing App for Mac
There are quite a few basic photo editing apps for the Mac. I hope you find this list helpful. To summarize: If you’re a pro, you can try Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Adobe Lightroom, and Luminar Neo. If you’re a casual user, you can try Apple Photos, Fotor, and Pixlr. If you’re looking for a free option, you can try GIMP (free) and Pixlr (free version). If you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them with us in the comments below.
How to Choose the Best Video Editing App for Mac
Functions: Features are the biggest differentiator between video apps. Pay attention to the features you need in the photo editing app. If you’re looking for a basic photo editing app, look for basic editing features like crop, rotate, adjust brightness, apply simple filters, and more. If you’re looking for a more advanced photo editing app, look for retouching, advanced editing tools, plugin support, and more. Here are the most common features you should look for in a photo app. You can choose the features depending on your needs.
- Basic editing tools: Crop, rotate, resize, adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.
- Advanced editing tools: Layer support, masking, blending modes, advanced color correction, and more.
- Filters and effects: A wide variety of pre-set filters and customizable effects.
- Raw file support: Handling and editing raw files from camera brands and mobile phones.
- Retouching tools: Skin smoothing, blemish removal, red-eye correction, pimple removal, and more.
- Text and typography tools: Adding and customizing text with various fonts and styling options.
- Brushes and drawing tools: custom brushes, pencils, and other drawing tools for artistic effects.
- Hdr support: High dynamic range (hdr) editing and multiple photo merging capabilities.
- Noise reduction: Tools to reduce or eliminate noise in high iso photos.
- Batch processing: Ability to edit multiple photos simultaneously, applying the same adjustments simultaneously.
- Integration with cloud services: Syncing and sharing across devices through cloud integration.
- Plugin support: Ability to extend functionality through third-party plugins.
- 3d editing capabilities: Tools for editing and manipulating 3d images.
- Color grading tools: Advanced tools for color grading and creating a specific look or mood.
- Ai-powered enhancements: Using artificial intelligence for automatic enhancements and suggestions like generative AI prompts.
- Photo Management: Easily manage, organize, tag, and manage your images.
- Export options: Various export formats and options, including social media integration.
- Accessibility: user-friendly interface, tutorials, and support for beginners.
Compatibility: Check for the compatibility of the photo editing app with your Mac. Recently, Apple shifted to its silicon processor. Most third-party apps are compatible, but it’s always better to ensure compatibility to avoid issues in the future.
System Requirements: Check the Mac you use meets the system requirements to run the app. This ensures the Photo editing app runs efficiently on your Mac without causing performance issues. Most apps list minimum system requirements like the required operating system, Processor, RAM, Graphic card, Storage, and more required to run the application on your device. You can match the app’s requirements with your Mac specifications and check the compatibility.
User Interface: User Interface is another important factor you should consider, especially if you are a beginner. The user interface should be clean and easy to navigate to edit photos without ambiguity. Most professional-grade photo editing apps require a learning curve to use the app. It is always better to choose an app with an easy-to-use interface.
FAQs on Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac
1. Are There Any Free Photo Editing Apps for Macs?
Yes, there are several free photo editing apps for the Mac, such as GIMP, Photoscape X, and Apple’s built-in Photos app. GIMP offers a wide range of professional tools at zero cost. Photoscape X offers basic editing features with in-app purchases. If you’re looking for a basic and completely free option, you can use Apple’s Photos app, which offers basic editing features and is included with macOS.
2. Can I Use Mobile Photo Editing Apps on My Mac?
Yes, some mobile photo editing apps are available for the Mac as well. You can find the Mac version of the app in your Mac’s App Store. When you find it, you can download and install it on your Mac. One of the popular photo editing apps available on iOS that is also available for Mac is Fotor.
3. How Do I Learn to Use Professional Photo Editing Software on Mac?
Professional photo editing apps require some knowledge to use them. Most professional video editing apps offer free video tutorials to help you learn how to use the app. You can also find free YouTube videos and blogs that show you how to use certain photo editing apps.