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iphoto toolsLast week, as part of Apple’s unveiling of the new iPad Apple Unveils New iPad at San Francisco Press Event [News] Apple Unveils New iPad at San Francisco Press Event [News] Read More , it also introduced the iOS version of iPhoto – similar to Apple’s popular photo management and editing software Preserving Your iPhoto Library For Your Grandkids & Beyond [Mac] Preserving Your iPhoto Library For Your Grandkids & Beyond [Mac] The end of the year is a good of time as any to tidy up, organize, and back up your iPhoto library. Even if you're using Apple's Time Machine to back up the contents of... Read More of the same name for the Mac. With the iOS camera increasingly replacing traditional point-and-shoot cameras and video cams, the new iPhoto should be welcomed by avid photo hobbyists who want to better organize and edit photos on their iOS devices.

Software Requirements

iOS iPhoto ($4.99) only works on the iPhone 4 and 4S, the iPad 2 and the newest iPad, which went on sale March 16th. The software always requires the most recent iOS 5.1 or later software update.

iphoto tools

Photo Management Features

While iPhoto works best on a larger screen iPad, my review is based on the optimized version of the iPhone. Compared to many other iOS photography apps, iPhoto packs in dozens of features and controls that could be overwhelming for some users, while hugely appreciated by others.

iphoto features

The iOS version of iPhoto includes all the photo management and editing features of the desktop version of the application, except for the very useful Smart Albums How To Create Essential Smart Albums for Your iPhoto Library How To Create Essential Smart Albums for Your iPhoto Library Read More .


The app connects to all the photos in your mobile device’s Photo library, including the Camera Roll and images and videos copied to Photo Stream 6 Things You Need To Know About The Photos App In iOS 5 6 Things You Need To Know About The Photos App In iOS 5 Last April, I proclaimed the iPad the best photo sharing device for photographers. With the release of iOS 5, the Photos app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch did not receive a major overhaul... Read More . Your library of photos get beautifully displayed in albums (see above screenshot) which mirror the albums setup of the device’s Photo Library.

iphoto features

An additional album in iPhoto contains copies of all your edited images, and thankfully any edits you perform on images in iPhoto do not overwrite the original in your Photo Library. You can also mark photos as Favorites (see the Awards icon in the Editor) and they get put into a separate Favorites Album in the app.

iphoto features

The menubar of the home screen consists of sections for Photos, Photo Events, and Journals – the latter of which (screenshot below) is unique to iOS iPhoto.

iphoto features review

Editing Features

The editing features of iPhoto is where things start to get a little tricky and cumbersome. As an editing app, iPhoto is not like third-party photo apps (e.g., Instagram and Best Camera) in which you apply single tap filters and effects. Rather, iPhoto attempts to be a fully featured editing tool for correcting or adjusting exposure, white balance, color temperature and saturation, red-eye, spot and blemish removal, and much more.

iphoto features review

iPhoto includes tools (tap the Toolbox icon in the menubar to access them) for cropping and rotating images, as well as converting them to black and white, sepia, and several other photo effects.

Though iPhoto has dozens of tools to choose from, you will definitely want to simply tap the magic wand icon which auto-enhances your images, saving you the trouble of doing manual adjustments.

iphoto features review

In the top menubar of the Editor, you can tap the Before and After icon to quickly compare the changes you are making to your selected images.

iphoto features review

As in the Mac version of iPhoto, you can also tap the gear icon on the bottom-right of the menubar in order to copy edits and adjustments you make to one photo, and apply them to a similar one. You also get the option to Revert (top left red button) back to the original state of the image. Again, all image adjustments are non-destructive. The original photo in your Photo Library is always kept in tack.

When you tap the Toolbox icon in the Editor, you get tools for straightening, cropping and rotating images, and another set of tools for adjusting the exposure and add contrast.

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Under the same Toolbox there are photo brush tools for adjusting the colors of say blue skies, green plants, and skin tones. There are additional advance tools for adjusting the white balance of an image, and a palette of options that include Warm & Cool, Duotone, Black & White, Aura, Vintage, and Artistic effects.

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All these tools are applied using multi-touch editing. At any time in the process you can shake your iOS device to bring up the undo button, or you can tap the Revert button to get back to the original state. All adjustments are automatically applied and saved as you make them.

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iPhoto doesn’t of course have the professional tools you would find in Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture, but it is sufficient for photo hobbyists who want to use their supporting iPhone or iPad in much the same way they use the Mac version of the photo editing program.

Sharing Features

As you might expect, you can post photos in your iPhoto library to your Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter account. In addition, the app also includes a way to beam photos between your iPhone and iPad, as well as stream them directly to your Apple TV with AirPlay.

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You can also play slideshows directly from the app, as well as create what are called photo journals. These are based on a selected theme in which you add photos, text notes, quotes, titles, and even the date and geolocation the photo was taken. Journals can be exported to iCloud and iTunes and shared as a slide show on Apple TV.

iphoto tools

In many ways you might consider iOS iPhoto to be more advanced and feature rich than its long established Mac version. Or you might find it too overwhelming for a mobile device. Either way, let us know what you think in the comments below.

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  1. Farhath
    March 20, 2012 at 2:36 am

    IPhoto takes for ever to load, and with even one new photo added to camera roll it takes more than 2 min to upload and u cannot use iPhoto till its loaded. Also iPhoto does not run on background so u have to keep iron and stare at it for 2 or more min. I want recommend it.