How to apply filters in the Photos app for iPhone and iPad

iPhone 11 Pro camera
iPhone 11 Pro camera (Image credit: iMore)

Perhaps the simplest way to edit a photo on iOS and iPadOS is to use a filter. The Photos app for iPhone and iPad offers nine filters — including vivid, dramatic, mono, silvertone, and more. You can apply them to your photos in just a few taps, and these can definitely help perk up any picture, so give it a try!

How to use filters in the Photos app for iPhone and iPad

Filters in the Photos app are handy when you want to salvage an image or a photo that didn't turn out the way you'd hoped, or you want to change the mood and go for a unique effect.

  1. Launch the Photos app from your Home screen.
  2. Tap on the photo you want to filter.
  3. Tap the Edit button at the top right of the screen.

Apply a filter in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Launch Photos, tap the photo you want to edit, then tap Edit (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Tap the Filters button in the bottom menu in the middle.
  2. Scroll, then tap on the filter you want to apply.
  3. Tap Done.

Apply a filter in the Photos app on iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Tap Filter, select the filter you want to use, then tap Done (Image credit: iMore)

When you're ready to push your iPhone photo-editing to fun, new level, you should consider a third-party app, which will offer more choices than the native Photos app. Among the more interesting ones available in the App Store are Prisma, Popsicolor, and Olli by Tinrocket. Or you could stick with a more traditional photo editing app too, as these always have their own set filters and effects to enhance photos. Experimentation is key!

How to apply live filters with the Camera app on iPhone and iPad

How to use Live Photo Filters on iPhone and iPad by showing steps: Tap Filter button, select your filter, shoot as normal (Image credit: iMore)

Did you know that in addition to applying the filters in the editing process, you can also take photos with the filter already applied? These are called "live" photo filters, and you can easily access them from the Camera app. Using live photo filters lets you see how the image will turn out with the filter before you even take the photo! It's great and convenient if you just want to take the pictures as-is, without having to edit them later.

How to use live photo filters with the Camera on iPhone


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Updated August 2020: Updated for the latest versions of iOS.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.