Set iPad Photo Apps to Highest Export Resolution

A pretty town we visited

Photo resolution is really important for my website illustrations…but not in the way that you might think. While it’s important to have great images which can be clearly seen, it’s equally if not more important to have a website that actually loads the page quickly enough to not frustrate people. Finding this fine line is a constant challenge for me and it’s perhaps the one thing that I spend more time on than any other when writing this blog.

Introduction & Objectives

IPads are great tools for editing photos, yet anyone who’s used iPads a lot for this purpose has realized that the final resolution your photos are exported in can vary a lot. Some apps let you adjust this…some don’t. Anyone who uses photos a lot in their professional work needs to know what control they have over the resolution of the photos they export from editing apps. This quick guide includes my favorite editing apps that do allow some user control over final resolution output.

Frankly, if an app doesn’t offer user control over a simple aspect like final resolution of exported photos…well then the app is isn’t worthwhile for me!

How to Use This Guide

One thing I should mention is that this guide is essentially a visual one. It’s in the form of simple cheat sheets for each app.  Each one shows you where in the app to go and then how to go about changing what you need to, to assure that the best resolution is used when exporting your photos.  

Also each cheat sheet links to that editing app in Apple’s apps store.

Pixelmator App |

One additional thing I need to mention is that there is one app that I do use a lot that I’m not including here…that app is Pixelmator. I’m not including it for the simple reason that Pixelmator has no setting to change resolution because photos always keep the same resolution that they had when were imported. In that sense, Pixelmator works as closely to the iPad’s built-in photo editing utility as is possible. 

Pixelmator is an amazing photo editing app that probably works more like Photoshop than any others I’ve used…including Adobe’s own Photoshop apps for ios too!  It uses layers, and most of the tools are designed to function exactly like Apple’s own apps do, so for people who use Pages in particular, there’s less of a learning curve. There is in-app help, which is good, but can’t come close to addressing all the powerful features this app offers…so expect a significant learning curve (unless you use Pages with images and Photoshop already.)  The tools offered are too numerous to list here but some include adding shapes and text in a way making this a great layout tool, painting, drawing and retouching down to one pixel size with tons of brushes, a clone tool, a lot of great easy customizable filters (my favorites are sharpening, light bleed and bokeh effects,) and quite a few preset templates as well as integration with iCloud.

Here are my visual guides:

Visual Guide: How to Set the Highest Export Resolution for ios Photo Apps

Snapseed App |

I was under the assumption that Snapseed save photos in their original resolution unless that was changed. Something ai read recently led me to think that I may be incorrect in my assumption. Since Snapseed is owned by Google, there doesn’t appear to be an easy method to contact support…so I don’t have anymore information about final resolution output currently. I’ll add an update here if I learn anymore.

I love Snapseed and use it a lot because it offers a broad range of tools including fine-grained useer controls, a great sharpening and noise reduction tool, a lot of really great customizable filters for HD, dramatic, grunge, retrolux, vintage, noise, black & white, glamour glow and tonal contrast filters, as well as a repair tool, a selective adjustments tool, adding text, and they just added a curves tool. They also offer a lot of in-app tutorials for doing advanced editing.


Enlight App |

Enlight is one of my favorite apps because of the broad range of editing tools they offer. Everything from great preset filters to fine-grained tuning controls, to adding text, manipulating and retouching actual images, and they have some really cool artistic filters like painting and drawing too. This app also offers more tools for borders, frames and collages than the vast majority of apps out there…however their borders are destructive (unlike Photogene⁴s) meaning that they do encroach upon the image…with one exception. If you use their Instafit tool you can add cool decorative or solid colored borders that aren’t destructive.

But it is also unclear in Enlight’s settings whether or not you can set the app up to maintain a photo’s original resolution.

Enlight App

Photogene App |

It appears to me that Photogene does allow you to save your exports in the original resolution…however I’ve not thoroughly tested that aspect. One important thing to note here is that while Photogene is an amazing app that I use daily in my work for adding borders to photos that fall outside the original photo’s dimensions…thereby not obstructing any portion of my image…the app is no longer supported. It still generally works great but can exhibit some flukey behavior. In fact when you open the app, Apple displays a warning telling you that the app hasn’t been optimized for the current ios and it may function slowly…and it sometimes does.

So sometimes the app won’t open properly. My workaround for this is to open an image in Snapseed 1st and then use Snapseed’s ‘open in’ share extension utility to reopen the image in Photogene…which bypasses the glitch. The only issue with using my workaround is this…now that I know Snapseed does decrease resolution, that would probably occur before the image was passed on to Photogene.

It’s worth it to me to deal with the glitches because of the broad range of editing tools Photogene offers including some great frames, nondestructive borders, unique filters, a lot of fine-grained user controls, a clone and retouch tool and adding text and annotations to images.


PhotoToaster App |

I’m not entirely certain if PhotoToaster allows you to maintain the original resolution of photos entirely. It’s not completely spelled out in the settings I show below, and I’ve not tested it or researched that aspect yet.  If I do discover anything useful I’ll update it here.  In general PhotoToaster and the suite of apps it’s a part of (developed by East Coast Pixels…these guys were originally with Adobe) offers a broad range of quick filters, great assortments for textures, light bleeds and frames, and one of the best fine-grained sets of user controls available.

PhotoToaster App

Link to a great article that explains a lot more about photo resolution, photo quality and how these are affected by photo editing apps.

Chart of Photo App Resolutions

This chart shows some of the apps he tested and the resolution they use natively.

I ran across the above article right after I published this post. In it Rob DePaolo discusses in great detail more about this topic as well as provides a great comparison of several of the most popular ios photo apps. I thought I understood a lot about this but his article filled me in on some points I was confused about.



About vsajewel

Hi...I'm the author of 2 main blogs on vsatips...which is about tech tips for mobile devices like cellphones & tablets. vsatrends, my 2nd blog, is focused more on lifestyle trends...especially those with a strong design element. I also host a YouThe channel which includes aspects of both websites.
This entry was posted in Apple's New iPhones, iWatches and ios 8 Announcements, ios, iPad and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s