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The Best Free Photo-Filter Apps for iPhone & Android

A psychadelic filter of a cat lying on a couch, an anique filter over metal emu sculptures, and an eye and the Eye Shadow tool in the B612 app.
Amanda Gambill/B612

Don’t you hate it when you take what you think is the perfect Insta-worthy selfie, only to find the results don’t quite measure up? Or, maybe you’re on vacation and about to capture a gorgeous sunset, only for a tourist to walk right into your shot at the last second. Luckily, with the right photo filter app, you can fix all of these issues and more.

Most of us don’t have the time (or skills) to take professional-looking photos every time. That’s why, if you’re always snapping on the go, you need some quick photo-editing tools right on your phone. Even better if they offer easy, tap-and-apply filters, or makeup and face editors, right? Well, you’re in luck because we’ve found some of the best free(!) selfie-filter apps out there. Did we mention they’re all free?

Best Overall: B612 Camera & Photo Editor

Two women with the B612 Pearl 3 Filter applied, and the same image with the Glam and Purple Haircolor Filters applied.
Left: Pearl3 filter; Right: Glam makeup filter with Purple hair filter. Amanda Gambill

Pros

  • Tons of AR, beauty, and makeup filters
  • Loads of effects and stickers
  • Video editor with sound and special effects

Cons

  • Resolution on images could be better
  • Filters sometimes do not apply correctly
  • Can be tricky to navigate at first
  • Ads are annoying

The B612 app easily won out over the competition because not only is it loaded with beauty-specific features, but it also has anything else you could possibly want in a selfie app. Oh yeah, and it’s all really and truly free!

If you download this app, you’ll get all of the following features:

  • 17 categories of augmented reality (AR) filters: This is where you can turn yourself into an egg or scare your friends by making your eyeballs spring out of their sockets.
  • An endless supply of stickers: Seriously, just try scrolling through them all.
  • 16 categories of basic photo filters: Image need to be a little warmer or cooler? No problem! There’s also a “Retro” category if you want to look a bit more vintage, or just tap “Food” or “Trip” to tweak those vacay photos.
  • 14 categories of different effects: This is where you go if you want to sprinkle some fairy dust over yourself or turn yourself into a cartoon.
  • Face, body, and makeup editors: Face or hips looking a bit too round? This is where you slim them down. You can also reshape your eyes, lips, or brows, or see what you’d look like with purple hair.
  • “Touch Up” and “Retouch” options: Tap these to touch up blemishes, shrink your pores, or work on those wrinkles.
  • Standard photo-editing tools: Whether you just need to crop, add some text, or even paint, you can do it all right on your phone.
  • A video editor: You can trim video clips, add stickers and tons of cool effects, like fades in and out, or even add music.

All the basic photo filters also work live, in-camera if you don’t feel like spending ages editing and want to get it all in the shot.

There are a few downsides to the B612, though. As you can see from our example images above, the resolution isn’t the best. After you apply a filter, you also might want to double-check the final image on a larger screen, if possible. Areas in which an effect hasn’t been evenly applied can sometimes look wonky.

The app also opens in the live camera, and it can be a bit confusing how you get to your saved images. To do so, tap “Edit” at the bottom and, on the next screen, tap “Start Editing” under the plus sign (+) at the top.

The same as any other free app, there are ads, and there is no premium upgrade to turn them off. However, if you need a solid, full-featured, easy photo editor—especially with makeup and beauty filters—this one has it all … with cat ears.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best In-Camera Filters: Adobe Photoshop Camera Photo Filters

A mink and white ragdoll cat lying on a couch bathed in light and the same image bathed in a psychedelic orange pattern.
Left: Studio Light filter; Right: Pop Art filter. Amanda Gambill

Pros

  • A wealth of filters, with new options being added all the time
  • All filters can be applied live in-camera
  • Can skip editing altogether by applying filter of choice

Cons

  • Standard editing tools are very basic
  • No beauty filters or editing options
  • Can take a while to download new filters

Of course, there can be no talk of images or photography in general without Adobe Photoshop making an appearance. The mobile app is a significantly scaled-down version of the full-fledged program it’s named for, but the Photoshop Camera Filters app is still a one-stop shop for most of your photography needs.

Like all the options on our list, this app features a large selection of tap-and-apply filters, but where it really shines is in-camera. Before you even take a shot, the app offers appropriate filters (or “Lenses) based on your subject.

If you’re shooting a selfie, just tap the three-star icon at the bottom, and a huge selection of portrait filters appear for you to browse. Trying to capture the sunset? You’ll get options for changing or enhancing all the colors on the horizon.

Now for the bad news: there are very few basic photo-editing tools. You can crop and adjust a few color and exposure options, but that’s about it. Of course, if you just want to point, shoot, and post, this won’t be a deal-breaker.

However, anyone who expects to find even the most basic of tools in this app that they would find on the full program will be sorely disappointed. You’ll have to look to Adobe’s other mobile apps (and dip into your wallet) for more comprehensive photo-editing options.

Depending on your internet connection, it can also take a while for filters to load for the first time. This can be particularly inconvenient if you’re trying to use one while shooting. Also, except for a few “softening” filters, there aren’t any makeup- or beauty-specific tools.

Still, for someone who’s just getting started with photo filters, or wants to skip editing and get everything done in-shot, Photoshop Camera is an excellent starting point.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best for Artistic Types: Pixlr

A woman sitting on a dock next to a blue lake with the Pixlr Sophia filter applied, and the same image with the Watercolor filter applied.
Left: Sophia filter; Right: Watercolor filter. Amanda Gambill

Pros

  • Tons of overlay effects, backgrounds, and stickers
  • Autofix option
  • Impressive collection of manual editing tools

Cons

  • Not many tap-and-apply filters
  • Zero beauty filters or editing tools
  • Have to upgrade to Premium version to eliminate video ads

The best things about Pixlr are its large selection of creative effects and overlays, and its Autofix feature. Want to add a cute background or border to your kid’s soccer pic or twinkling stars to a prom portrait? Need to quickly brighten a dark image? You can do all that and more in this handy app.

Pixlr also, surprisingly, has a lot more editing tools than Adobe Photoshop Camera. From cropping and color adjustments to double exposures and blurring, there’s not much you can’t do with this app. There are even a few brushes if you prefer manual editing.

You’ll find an okay selection of fun (but hardly subtle) filters. Unfortunately, what Pixlr doesn’t have—except for an all-black-and-white section hilariously called “Too Old”— is any beauty filters or makeup tools. Although you can use the Blurring and Healing tools to correct any imperfections, that takes a lot longer than a tap-and-apply option.

There are also annoying video ads. To turn these off and get more editing options and cool features, you have to upgrade to the premium version ($1.99 per month/$11.99 per year).

If however, you’re just looking to have some creative fun with borders, stickers, and effects, or you want a more comprehensive set of photo-editing tools on your phone, Pixlr is worth a download.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best with Video Option: CapCut

Pros

  • Loaded with effects you can apply with one tap
  • Easy-to-use editing tools
  • Can add music and stock sounds

Cons

  • Takes some practice to use
  • Minimal still-photo options

While a few of the other apps on our list also include a video option, none offer quite as many tools and cool editing effects as CapCut. If you’re looking for a quick and easy editor for those TikTok vids, this is the app for you!

With CapCut’s large selection of video and sound effects and frames, you can record, edit, save, and export your videos, all right on your phone. You can also cut or trim clips, or add special effects, fade-outs, or music. For a more in-depth look at this handy app, be sure to check out the tutorial above.

The only downside is this one can take a bit of practice to learn to use—especially if you’re completely new to editing video. There also aren’t filters or options for photo editing, so you’ll want to use a different app for that.

While CapCut might be a bit confusing at first, it’s far more user-friendly than any desktop video-editing software, so it’s an excellent place to start honing your skills. However, it’s completely free (there’s no premium version). Plus, if you upload your video to TikTok (both apps are owned by the same parent company), the watermark will even be removed.

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Best for Collages: Meitu

A collage of two cats made in Meitu.
Amanda Gambill

Pros

  • Drag-and-drop collage templates
  • Lots of filters, including beauty, makeup, and retouching
  • Photo- & video-editing tools

Cons

  • Many features require a VIP subscription

If you enjoy making photo collages and want an easy way to do it on your phone, look no further than Meitu. There are 14 templates from which you can choose on the free version of the app. Then, you just select the photos you want to use, and they’ll appear in the template. You can then tap an image to drag and drop it wherever you want.

You can also create posters, PicStrips, or add cute backgrounds and borders. There are also a ton of filters, including many that are beauty- and makeup-specific, and a video editor, to boot!

While you get a lot with the free version, many features, including some of the collage backgrounds, require a VIP subscription ($4.99/month or $29.99/ year). However, for making quick and easy collages right on your phone, you can’t beat this app!

Download on the Apple App StoreGet it on Google Play

Honorable Mention: Photo Filters +

Metal statues of emus outside of a store with the Classics K-Tone filter applied and with the Duotone Waller filter applied.
Left: Classics K_tone filter; Right: Duotone Waller filter. Amanda Gambill

Pros

  • Tons of filter presets and overlays
  • An auto-enhance button
  • Extra editing tools, including noise reduction and Gaussian blue
  • An intensity bar, so you can adjust every tool, filter, or overlay

Cons

  • iPhone only
  • No beauty or makeup filters

Finally, if you’re not specifically looking for makeup tools or beauty filters, but just need a reliable, easy-to-use image editor on your iPhone, check out Photo Filters +.

In addition to a large selection of preset filters, there’s an “Intensity” bar on everything, so you can adjust the amount of any feature you want to apply. You can do the same with the huge selections of overlays. Too many hearts or too much smoke? Just adjust the intensity to the desired level.

There’s also an Auto Enhance button (just tap the magic wand icon at the top of the screen), which really comes in handy when you just need a quick optimize-and-post option.

This app also has all the standard editing tools you’d expect, including exposure, saturation, and white balance. However, it also has a few many other apps do not, like fade, Gaussian blur, and noise reduction.

Alas, you have to have an iPhone to use this app—at this writing, there isn’t an Android version. However, all features are available on the free version. If you want to remove the ads, you can do so for $2.99 per month or $14.99 per year.

Download on the Apple App Store

If you want Insta-worthy selfies every time, one of these apps is sure to fit the bill. From preset filters and collages, to makeup and face-editing tools, you’re sure to find the perfect app to suit your pic-posting needs. And best of all, they’re all free!

Amanda Gambill Amanda Gambill
Amanda is the Managing Editor for LifeSavvy. She’s been writing and editing professionally since 2004. In her spare time, Amanda reads stuff no one else does (classics and historical bios), watches documentaries that put others to sleep (ancient cookware archaeologists found under a McDonald's), and writes stories about things that go bump in the night. Read Full Bio »

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