First Look at Editing Photos in iPadOS

One of the reasons that I upgraded from the iPad mini 2 to the 2019 version was to be ready for iPadOS and the redesigned Photos app. And after my preliminary testing, I can tell you that I'm not disappointed.

IMG_0033.jpg Highlights adjustment in iPadOS

There's a lot to unpack in iPadOS, and even the Photos app is worth a few articles itself. But I thought that I should start with the new editing tools, since that's what many of us have been waiting for.

New Adjustment Sliders

The interface is redesigned. It's clean and easy to navigate. When you enter Edit mode, you have adjustment categories on the left side: Adjustments, Filters, and Cropping. When you click on a category, the tools appear on the right side. Click on Adjustments, for example, the the following tools are available:

  • Auto
  • Exposure
  • Brilliance
  • Highlights
  • Shadows
  • Contrast
  • Brightness
  • Black Point
  • Saturation
  • Vibrance
  • Warmth
  • Tint
  • Sharpness
  • Definition
  • Noise Reduction
  • Vignette

Next to each tool, there's an adjustable scale that allows you to apply the effect in the desired amount. With Auto, you can move the scale up and down to fine tune the appearance of the image. So it's no more "all or nothing" for Auto.

Having the additional adjustments are welcomed. I can perform many of the basic edits that I need in the Photos app, which wasn't the case before. And the quality of the adjustments are quite good.

A Few Missing Pieces

There are still a few missing pieces, however. I would love a Retouch brush for simple spot removal. I'm happy to have Vignette, but I wish I could control its shape as well as the amount applied. At the moment, it's just amount. And Apple has abandoned the B&W tools. I loved those.

There is some compensation for taking away the B&W panel by making the Filters amount adjustable. So I'm no longer stuck with just Mono, for example, I can apply the filter at different percentages. But it's still not the same as the excellent B&W panel that we once had. Gone are Intensity, Neutrals, Tone, and Grain. Maybe they will come back some day.

Beefed Up Cropping Tool

IMG_0034.jpg The Crop tool in iPadOS Photos.

The Crop tool now supports vertical and horizontal transform tools. We have flip and rotate. And the Auto correct is now an option and isn't automatically applied.

Filters Are Now Adjustable

Apple didn't add any additional filters. But as I mentioned earlier, all of the existing ones are now adjustable from 0 percent to 100 percent. This definitely makes them more useful.

Edits Saved to iCloud

Once I tapped the Done button in Photos, my edited image was uploaded to iCloud and shared across my devices, including the Mac that is running Mojave. On the iPhone running iOS 13.1, I could see the individual edits in the Photos app. On the Mac, the picture had been enhanced, but no sliders we modified. I'm guessing that that will change with Catalina.

Bottom Line

The new Photos app on iPadOS is a substantial improvement over its predecessor. I really like it now. And I hope Apple continues with its evolution.

I will cover more aspects of Photos and iPadOS in upcoming articles.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.