The best iOS camera apps in 2023

Best camera phones
(Image credit: Redd on Unsplash)

They say the best camera is the one you have with you and iPhones have made that more true than ever. We always carry our phones and over the years their cameras have got so good that they have effectively taken over the market for small and mid-level point-and-shoot digital cameras. Apple’s iOS Camera app however isn’t as fully featured as it could be.

You may be surprised to learn that iPhone camera hardware supports an extensive range of features that aren’t in the standard iOS app including manual shutter, exposure and ISO setting and manual focusing. On top of this, developers add software features like focus peaking, exposure bracketing, clipping display and shooting in high-quality formats like TIFF. And in many cases these are all available for video shooting too. These features give you more creative control in addition to the regular automatic shooting modes, and can help you to take better pictures. Often inexpensive, they are a great way to unleash your inner photographer using the iPhone you already own – see our best camera phones list if you're in need of an upgrade.

Of course, even the best phone won't be the same as a fully featured digital SLR, see our best cameras guide if you'd like to take your photography to the next level.

The best iOS camera apps available now

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Things to consider when purchasing an iOS camera app

The apps have a range of pricing. Some are free to download with a core set of tools, and extras via in–app purchase.

In addition to one–click shooting, the apps offer a variety of modes like time lapse, video and light trails. Consider if these are things you would use. 

A number of the apps have editing tools and filters you can use after shooting to enhance your images. This can be useful if you don’t already have an editing app. 

Some of the apps feature AI-powered tools like refocusing or auto analysis and enhancement of images, combining the shooting and post-processing stages. These can be a good timesaver.

How we tested

Using iPhone 11 and 13 models, we tested the apps in a variety of lighting conditions and with different subjects including still life, landscapes, portraits and action scenes. Video performance was also assessed where supported. Ease of use was a factor, especially when using advanced manual controls during hand holding of the phone, as was the pricing model employed by each app developer. Where available we also tested any post–shoot editing tools provided in the apps.

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in MacFormat. Subscribe to MacFormat via Magazines Direct.

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