by James A. Martin

iPhoto for iPad, iPhone Mostly iPleases

Mar 09, 20123 mins
iPhoneTablets blogger James A. Martin apologizes for the corny headline, but he really was pleased with images he produced using Apple’s brand new iPhoto app for iOS devices. As good as the app is, though, there is room for improvement.

During its new iPad event this week, Apple introduced a version of its popular Mac OS iPhoto software for iOS devices. The iPhoto for iOS costs $5, and it’s optimized for both iPhone and iPad. I tested iPhoto version 1.0 on my iPad 2.

Apple has a history of creating elegant hardware and software, and iPhoto for iOS carries on that tradition. For instance, if you want to add an effect to an image, you click on a swatch book and choose between Warm & Cool, Duotone, Black & White, Aura, Vintage, and Artistic. I particularly like the Artistic effect, which transformed a photo I took of an Italian beach into something resembling an impressionistic landscape (see the screen shot comparison of the original and the impressionistic version).

iPhoto app for iPad iPhone iOS

The main idea behind porting iPhoto to iOS is to add multi-touch to photo correction. Here again, the app succeeds. For example, if you add a softening filter to a photo of someone with crow’s feet, you can get more precise using your finger than you might be able to with a mouse–and the person whose crow’s feet you’re removing will be thrilled, I’m sure. You can do plenty of other things with your finger (or a stylus), such as touching and dragging to improve colors. A single finger tap will straighten a crooked picture and a double tap will identify similar photos. And you can apply adjustments to a specific image area using finger-manipulated brushes.

The iPhoto app lets you create photo “journals” that can be shared via Apple’s iCloud, which is another cool feature. You can also upload images to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and iTunes; export to the camera roll; add to a slideshow; print (if you have a supported printer); and attach the file to an email. However, I wish you could post an image to Pinterest or upload to a Dropbox account. The app offers a feature for beaming photos from one iOS device to another. But I was unable to get iPhoto on my iPad to beam an image to my iPhone. You can also stream photos and slideshows to an Apple TV via AirPlay.


You’ll need to update to the new iOS 5.1 software to install iPhoto. And iPhoto is only compatible with iPhone 4 and 4S smartphones and the iPad 2 tablet; it’s not supported at all on the iPod touch.

Given that iPhoto is currently in its first version, I experienced some instability. Within my first 10 minutes of using the app, it froze. I closed and restarted it, and it crashed. After that, it did settle down. Also, expect to spend a little time learning how to use the app. The icons and UI aren’t always intuitive.

I don’t know if iPhoto is the absolute best image-editing app for iOS devices; there are certainly a lot of worthy competitors. But I can tell you it’s one of the most pleasurable apps of its kind that I’ve used. And given how many options you get to improve and alter your images, it’s $5 well spent.