Popular Darkroom photo editor for iPhone and iPad gets new features and a subscription model

Darkroom on iPhone
Darkroom on iPhone (Image credit: Bergen Co.)

What you need to know

  • Darkroom 4.4 is now available in the App Store.
  • The app now includes watermarking and an expanded icon picker.
  • The app also introduces a new subscription model.

Darkroom, a popular photo editor for iPhone and iPad, has been updated to version 4.4. It brings with it an expanded app icon picker and support for watermarking, but neither are the biggest change. With version 4.4, Darkroom is now available as a subscription.

Darkroom isn't the first app to go the subscription route and it won't be the last. And the company outlined the reasons for the switch in a blog post today.

Since we launched Darkroom 5 years ago, we have been committed to building a photo editing and management tool that rivals any market leader in features, experience, and design. We have also committed to working on Darkroom for the very long term. That's why we never took any outside funding from investors, and why we opted to go slow and steady, rather than fast and furious. This work will only grow in scope and volume as the team grows and the platform we're building grows with it.

The Darkroom team hopes that the additional revenue brought in by a subscription model will allow it to expand and, as a result, improve the app. It's a story we've heard time and again from developers looking to find a sustainable approach, and the Darkroom team things it has found it here.

So what does that mean for users? Firstly, if you previously bought any Darkroom filters – or paid for anything at all – you'll get all of the premium features for free. So don't worry about losing functionality as part of this move.

Everyone else will be able to subscribe for $3.99 per month or $19.99 per year. But importantly, there's the option to pay a one-time $49.99 fee.

For new users, a $3.99 per month or $19.99 per year subscription will unlock access to every filter and tool in Darkroom, on iPad and iPhones, now and in the future. As we grow and our product offerings expand, all new features and services will be included in this single subscription. For those who prefer to pay once and not have to reaffirm their commitments, we offer a one-time $49.99 purchase option.

Hopefully, that single $49.99 option will prevent users from piling on, as always happens when a company switches to offering subscriptions. Unfortunately, I fear that won't be the case.

You can download Darkroom from the App Store now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.