11 Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac in 2021 (Free and Paid)

Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac

A photo editing app is useful to cut the clutter in your photos and to add the needed changes. No matter, if you’re creating visual content for your brand or you’re posting your best photos on your personal Instagram account, a photo editing app will always help you to unleash your creativity. Today we will see the best photo editing apps for Mac to make the best out of your photos.

Gone are the days, when you had to do compromise with lousy photos that your digital camera clicked. For example, with imbalanced angles, over or under brightness, over-saturated colors, etc. But now time is different. Now you can click a decent photo in a few minutes using your phone camera. Furthermore, a photo editing app can take your photos to the next level.

Also, you can balance the essential aspects, such as brightness, contrast, and saturation to make your photos more appealing. So if you’re not using an additional photo editing app you’re missing lots of things. Moreover, if you already know about it and looking for Photo Editing Apps for Mac, then here is the deal.

Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac

To be straightforward, there is no such thing as the best photo editing app. It all depends on your preferences and requirements. For instance, you have a specific budget, or you’re looking for a free photo editing app. Also, you need it for professional use, or you just want to do some basic color correction of your best friend’s photos.

However, it is also fine if you’re a little confused about your requirements. I have made a list of the 11 best photo editing apps for mac of 2021. This list has photo editing apps for mac for various kinds of purposes and preferences. I have mentioned the main features and benefits of these apps too. Also, I have added both kinds of apps- Free and the Paid ones.

Now all you’ve to read this list and choose the best and photo editing app for you.

Let’s start the list with the number #1

1. Apple Photos- Simple and Free Photo Editing app for Mac

Apple Photos- Simple and Free Photo Editing app for Mac

This article is about the best photo editing apps for Mac then why not start with Apple Photos. In 2015, Apple launched Apple Photos for the first time in OS X Yosemite 10.10.3. And, since then, it has been known as one of the best free photo editing software for Mac.

There are a couple of reasons that Apple Photos didn’t lose the crown of the best. Firstly, it is a beginner-friendly program with simple and intuitive tools to navigate. As expected from Apple, it has a clean and simple to use UI. This tool also has an AI-supported Face recognition feature that recognizes the person automatically after entering the details once. Therefore, you don’t need to waste time organizing photos by yourself. Also, you won’t find any clutter while integrating it with iCloud Photo Library. Obviously, it’s because of Apple’s optimization which helps it to run better with other Apple products. Moreover, Apple Photos has AI-powered search, elegant filters, deep adjustments, and features like third-party editing. That’s why it’s one of the best photo editing apps for Mac.

Furthermore, the biggest pro of this app is- it’s free. That’s why many publications add it to the list of best free photo editor app for Mac. However, it works great as a basic photo editor but if you want to do some complex or advanced corrections then you should watch another advanced photo editor.

2. Affinity Photo- Overall Best Photo Editing app for Mac

Affinity Photo- Overall Best Photo Editing app for Mac

Affinity Photo is another well-known photo editing app for Mac. This editing app is well-compatible with the new macOS Big Sur and also works with the M1 chip. Meanwhile, you can use this app in Windows as well as on your iPad too.

The Affinity mentioned this photo editing app has super fast composition, editing, and printing acceleration. Also, it supports external GPU with multi GPU utilization and quicker rendering of live filters. You will get an efficient toolset to execute your essential editing tasks. For instance, Pan and zoom images over 60fps, live previews, real-time editing, etc. It supports modern camera RAW formats with Profile formats like PSD. Also, you’ll get a full set of 16-bit filters and professional color profiles in it. If you’ll see the interface, it’s simple yet stylish and has an uncluttered interface.

Furthermore, it has customizable toolbars document presets, and shortcut panels. As you’ve seen there are a couple of advanced features that you’ll get in Affinity Photos. However, it comes with a one-time price tag of $49.99. But at the time of writing, Affinity Photos giving a 50% discount which means it costs you $24.99. After that, you can use it on as many computers as you want. Moreover, you can also activate a 90-days free trial by confirming an E-mail. For me, that’s a pretty good deal. I also recommend you to must check Affinity Photos, if you want to invest in a photo editing app.

 3. Luminar – Easy yet comes with Advanced Features

Luminar- Easy yet comes with Advanced Features

Luminar is the perfect editing app for you if you want to turn your simple photos into creative ones. This photo editing app is professional-grade software with a bunch of versatile tools and features. And, yes, for an individual and creative Instagrammer it’s almost perfect.

First of all, Luminar has 60-plus filters to unleash your creativity without spending hours. The brand mentioned itself that it’s perfect to create a masterpiece in some famous photography genres like Portrait, Landscape, Travel, etc. Moreover, they added it’s easy to learn, just install the app and start creating your masterpieces. Some of the amazing features of Luminar, you won’t find in any other photo editing app. For example, AI Sky Replacement tool, and Portrait and AI skin enhancer. The sky replacement tool allows you to change the sky in one click. Meanwhile, enhance features will give your portrait a realistic yet alluring beauty.

Furthermore, you can make your photos eye-catchy by adding beautiful objects such as sun rays, moon, fireworks, and rainbows. Many popular websites like CleverFiles or Photolemur gave Luminar the tag of one of the best photo editing apps for Mac. You can use this app as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop too. Luminar is not free but it comes with a one-time. Also, you can enroll in 7 days free trial to try it first.

4. Photoshop Elements- Best Advanced Editing app for Newbies 

Photoshop Elements- Best Advanced Editing app for Newbies 

Now don’t confuse with both these Adobe photo editing apps- Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop Elements is more beginner-friendly and less complex than Adobe Photoshop. Also, it comes with fewer features as compared to Adobe Photoshop. Therefore, if you’re new to Photo editing, you can try Photoshop Elements.
Moreover, this app is not less than Adobe Photoshop and can fulfill your all basic editing needs. Even, some users are using it for their personal as well as professional work. It comes with fewer features but that also makes it extremely easy to use. You can use the RAW file format in it and easily use the Photoshop-like image retouching feature. It is straightforward too yet comes with helpful tutorials. Plus, Adobe added 58 guided edits to achieve various results. Therefore, you can visit that section if you feel stuck while achieving an effect.

Also, it features Smart Tag, Facial recognition, and automatic back-up to save your data in an organized way. It’s also a paid program and costs you $99.99 but you can use their trial to use it free for 30 days.

5. Pixelmator Pro – Photo Editing and for Graphic Designing

Pixelmator Pro- Photo Editing and for Graphic Designing

As the above photo editing apps for Mac, Pixelmator isn’t only for editing photos. You can do much more with this pro editing tool. For example, painting, graphic designing or you can add effects using it. Some users called it editing software that has everything you need for photo editing.

Furthermore, the new 2.0 update allows you to install it on Apple M1 Mac. Also, you will see Pro Display XDR, RAW editing workflows, and multi GPUs in the new update. Moreover, Pixelmator Pro has a new ML Enhance mode to make your color adjustment process easier. This feature has been tested on a catalog of 20 million professional clicked photos. Therefore, you can expect a fine quality color correction from this feature. Meanwhile, you’ll also see a starting point to make some fine-tune adjustments to your photos.

The ML Enhance has one preset to remove noise and image compression artifacts from photos. This is the feature you won’t find in most editing software. Meanwhile, features like ML Super Denoise, Quick Selection Tool, Ml Match Colors are the cherry on the top. For me, Pixelmator Pro is a photo editing app as well as an app to make stunning graphic designs. Smart Shapes, Resolution Independent, Layer based Editing, and Beautiful Brushes make it perfect for creating beautiful paintings. You can get Pixelmator Pro is $39.99. Meanwhile, you can install it for free for 15 days without any restrictions using their trial.

6. Fotor Photo Editor- Versatile and Beginner-friendly 

Fotor Photo Editor

Fotor is one of the powerful photo editing apps for Mac that every beginner can use. Maybe it might not be as powerful as another photo editor on the list but it does great. If you’ve never done photo editing and want to edit a photo ASAP, then Fotor could be an option. It has all the essential tools to be creative with your photos or to make them better.

Moreover, it supports all the major image formats including TIFF, JPEG, and PNG, and RAW files. One of the stands out features of Fotor is batch processing. This feature helps you to apply a particular preset to multiple images in a batch. Therefore, you can save a lot of time by not applying the same effect on 50 pictures opening one by one. For photo editing, you’ll get features like portrait retouching, one-tap enhance, background remover, and many more. Also, you can use features like borders, effects, tilt-shift, and collage maker to do something creative out of nothing.

Like the Pixelmator, you can do a little graphic design in Fotor too. Here you’ll find thousands of beautiful templates on different genres, 100+ fonts, and attractive stickers to create an eye-catchy design in a few minutes. Meanwhile, Fotor is a free tool yet you can unlock extra features by paying $39.99/year. If you want to pay monthly the price will rise to $8.99 from $3.33.

7. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC- Best Advanced Photo Editing app for Mac

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC

After the Photoshop Elements, I added Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that doesn’t mean Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC ranks after Photoshop Elements. Moreover, I want to tell you it’s one of the advanced photo editing apps for Mac as well as Windows. And, no list of best photo editing apps can be completed with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. This is the most advanced photo editing app after Photoshop Elements. So if you’re into advanced photo editing you might’ve already known this. But if you don’t know just install this app, you’ll love it.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC is a powerful editing app that comes with fully functional Digital Asset Management. This feature allows you to manage your entire photo catalog in a well-organized manner. Also, you can upload these photos to the cloud to access them from your Apple devices from anywhere. And, this is the feature you won’t find in any app on the list. Furthermore, the Adobe Lightroom CC comes with lots of photo editing tools which are enough to take your inner creative beast out from you. Features like blend, layers, color correction can make your photos better in any possible way you can imagine.

Most of the controls of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC have easy-to-use sliders. These sliders are a fun and easy way to control the light, color, brightness, and other properties of your photos. You can level up your photos by retouching their advanced properties such as sharpness, saturation, Hue, shadows, etc. There are hundreds if not thousands of advanced features you can use in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. Let’s say it’s one of the best and advanced photo editing apps for Mac. However, it is an ideal option for people who only want to do some serious editing work because it costs you $9.9/month.

8. GIMP- Comes with lots of Flexible Customizations

GIMP- Comes with lots of Flexible Customizations

GIMP is a photo editing app that you can use in the browser of your Mac. Like Apple Photos, GIMP is the one that ranks top in one of the best photo editing apps for Mac. GIMP was made and originally developed for Linux in 1996. Later it got popular and developers made it also usable for other OS platforms.

GIMP is basically one of the best manipulation programs for high-quality images. It is an open-source online editor and allows you to create a composition, restoration, and retouching. Therefore, you seriously can create whatever you want, all it depends on your creativity and imagination. Also, you can do image format conversion in it. The interface of GIMP is quite similar to Photoshop. Therefore, if you know how to use Adobe Photoshop, it’ll be easier for you to use GIMP.

Apart from photo editing, GIMP is quite useful in graphics creation. It gives an ability to its user to create and transform their photos into a unique art or creation. Moreover, many users of GIMP use it for creating icons and other graphical elements. It is best when it comes to improving your workflow using and adding other useful software such as Inkscape, Scribus, and SwatchBooker.

Moreover, GIMP is an open-source program. So you can customize it according to whatever you need. It works as a high-quality image manipulation framework with multi-language support such as C, C++, Perl, Python, Scheme, and more. And, there are lots of scripts and plugins made by the community that allows you to do that. However, talk about the downside, you might face some bugs in it otherwise this software is near to perfect for reach your creativity’s peak.

9. Photopea- One of the Best Web Photo Editing apps for Mac

Photopea- One of the Best Web Photo Editing apps for Mac

If you want to use Adobe Photoshop but can’t afford their subscription plans then Photopea can be a great option for you. Well, no editing app can beat Adobe Photoshop that easily but Photopea has similar options related to Photoshop. For example, layers support a wide range of brush collections, content-aware fill, etc.

Moreover, Photopea is a web program and completely free to use. Just open www.photopea.com and you’re ready to edit your pictures. You can use all the major kinds of image formats in Photopea such as PSD, XD, Sketch, CXF, RAW, etc. You can give commands using keyboard shortcuts similar you do in Photoshop. And, most of the keyboard shortcuts are the same as Photoshop. Therefore, if you know all the shortcuts of Photoshop, this editing app is the next one you should choose after Photoshop. Alongside the layer mask features, you’ll get other image editing tools too. For instance, spot healing, a clone stamp healing brush, and a patch tool. Yes, almost the same as you use in Photoshop.

Photopea is a ready-to-go web browser editor but if you’re new to photo editing they also created a learn page to help beginners. You can go to the learn page by clicking here.

Alongside the Mac, you can open Photopea in Chrome, Opera, Firefox, and EDGE. However, for some users, Photopea’s UI will sound a bit outdated but you’ll get a clone of Photoshop for free. And, this reason is enough to make it one of the best photo editing apps for Mac.

10. Photolemur- One of the Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac with Quick Adjustments

Photolemur- One of the Best Photo Editing Apps for Mac with Quick Adjustments

Do you just started a Photography business but you don’t know about photo editing or you want to do basic enhancements of a photo within a few seconds? If you’ve got these conditions Photolemur can be your lifesaver. No matter, if you’re a Pro or never try your hand in photo editing before.

Photolemur is an AI-based photo editing app that can edit your photos almost on its own. It has different kinds of templates for various image genres. Moreover, it tells you the template that can make your photo better than before. The company mentioned this process will only take 12 seconds to give you amazing results. Also, you can use the batch feature to add a particular template to a bunch of images at once. Furthermore, if you’re into landscape photos, it could do crazy work for you with ease. You can change the atmosphere, highlight the details, and even change the sky with Photolemur.

There are some surprising features you’ll fall in love with. For example, PhotoXpanse to turn your photos in 3D or Infinite Pix to turn your low-quality images into a masterpiece. Also, you can use it in the Macs with the new chip of Apple. Now Photolemur’s webpage will seem similar to Luminar’s webpage which is because both programs are owned by the same company- Skylum. Although Photolemur is for photo enhancements without any advanced functionality yet custom editing is possible with Luminar. So you can choose according to your preferences. Moreover, the basic plan of Photolemur will cost you $79 for one PC.

11. Pixlr- Photo Editing app for Mac, Windows, and iOS


Pixlr is another browser photo editor that you can use in Mac, Windows as well as in Android and iOS. This is the software you’ll love for its easy-to-use interface. You won’t get overwhelmed by seeing Pixlr’s dashboard for the first time. However, it takes a little bit of time for you to absorb all the functions if you’ve never used a photo editing app. Still, it’s an easy and powerful app to start your photo editing journey.

Furthermore, you’ll get almost all the essential tools to fulfill your photo editing needs. Also, it comes with slider-based adjustments like you see in Photoshop. Therefore, you can adjust the photo’s properties like brightness, contrast, saturation only by using your mouse. Plus, you’ll get a free AI-based background remover to remove the background from your photo in a few clicks. It supports layer-based editing to add as many aspects you want in your photos to create a masterpiece. Also, you’ll get lots of decorative text, elements, stickers, borders in its library. So you won’t have to design a graphic from scratch.

Pixlr provides 2 different versions of itself- Pixlr X and Pixlr E. Where Pixlr X is for quick and easy graphic designing Pixlr E is for advanced editing stuff. You can use them according to whatever you want to create now. Pixlr X doesn’t come with Flash that makes it more secure but limited to some functionalities. Moreover, both of the versions come with a free plan but you can also unlock the advanced features by subscribing to their monthly or yearly subscriptions. The premium pack costs you $7.99 and the creative pack costs you $14.99. But as a free version, it’s one of the best photo editing apps for Mac as well as iOS, Android, and Windows too.


So this was the list of the best editing apps for Mac as well as other OS. I have added the editing apps from the perspective of multiple aspects. For example, you’ll find free editing apps for Mac as well as apps that every pro must know about. I also added editing apps for Linux OS and the apps a newbie can learn in a few minutes. Now don’t ask the question of which is the best from all these 11 best editing apps because it totally depends on your needs and priorities. Like we are talking about the best editing apps for Mac here but if you want a free editing app for iOS, then Pixlr will work great for you. Meanwhile, if you want to try hand-in advanced settings, go with Adobe Photoshop. You got it. It all depends on you and what you want from an app.

Lastly, I hope this post will help you to find the best editing app for your Mac. And, if it did, let’s know in the comments which app you’re going for. Also, share this post with all your known aspiring and pro editor friends.

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