Snapseed is a powerful mobile photo-editing app

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 7, 2021
Apple, Apps, Google Android

Snapseed is a free photo-editing application by Google for the mobile operating systems Android and iOS. Third-party tools are often superior to those that ship with operating systems by default; this is true for desktop systems, e.g. Paint on Windows, but also on mobile devices, e.g. Google Photos on Android.

Snapseed is a free application that supports several features, including options to apply filters to photos and use image editing tools. The Android application was used for this review.

Once you have installed Snapseed and opened it, you are greeted with a screen that is blank almost entirely. Tap on the open button to load a photo from the device. An option to create a photo is not provided, which means that you need to use a different app to capture photos on the device.

The photo is loaded, and you may use the Styles and Tools menus at the bottom to edit it. Styles displays filters such as portrait, structure, bright or smooth, that you may apply. If you have used apps like Snapchat or Instagram before, you know how these work.

Tools may be more interesting to the majority of users, as it provides a mix of image editing tools, such as crop, rotate, brush, add text or tune image, and more full-image manipulation options such as making the image black & white, adding a grainy film effect to it, or adding frames.

Each effect and tool is applied with just a few taps. Some offer additional options once they have been selected. The Text tool lists several different text styles that you may select, and options to change the color and transparency of the text. Naturally, you may also add your own text by double-tapping on the text to edit it. Changes can be saved to keep them or reverted, and there is a undo option to undo steps.

The Export menu displays options to save the photo to the device, save it to a different location on the device, or to share it using the operating system's built-in sharing options.

Closing Words

Snapseed is an easy to use application. Its functionality may appeal to users who like to apply filters to their photos before uploading them to various services on the Internet, but also to users who like basic tools such as crop or text.

Now You: do you use photo-editing tools on your mobile devices?

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Author Rating
3.5 based on 3 votes
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Operating System
Android, iOS
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  1. Snappy said on March 11, 2021 at 3:35 am

    Snapseed is really nice little easy app on mobile Android for what it is.

    I also like that it’s so easy to export photos with resizing and set compression ratio as some times one may want to make a small picture with good compression before posting or sending on chat where it’s not necessary with lots of megapixels, the only down side is that the export have too few settings for sizes and compression ratio.

    The one big option among the tools missing is a way to blur out/mosaicing part of the picture one wants to sensor from the public, which is quite commonly needed feature before sharing pictures with friend and publicly, I really hope Snapseed could add this feature.

  2. Anonymous said on March 8, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    I use it on my Android phone. Also NIK Software when it was free by Google.

  3. Gerryp said on March 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    To add to the post: After tapping on Open, the last file location that was accessed opens – Recent, Downloads, or Images.
    To access the other two, click on the hamburger menu in the upper left corner and a side panel
    Unlike Google Photos, Snapseed has no Settings menu but it does have more Tools options than

  4. Anonymous said on March 7, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    Tiny screens aren’t the best for photo editing. Snapseed website says they do Snapseed for PC. Their download link results in 404 error “ page can’t be found”.

    For the moment, anyone who wants to test it is left with the phone app option.

    1. Crackhead said on March 8, 2021 at 2:46 am

      I still have the installer and portable 1.2.1 version, with serials, for safekeeping. =) Still works well.

      1. Jim Duggan said on March 9, 2021 at 5:03 am

        Can you share it please? The portable version for Windows…

  5. VioletMoon said on March 7, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Yes, quite nice, Martin. I tried the program on a photo of some petroglyphs that was washed out because of the lighting in the area and the time of day. The end result amazed my auntie who didn’t think much of the original photo [nor did I]. She says now she can frame the photo for showing to her friends!

    My phone shows Looks | Tools | Export

    I assume Looks and Styles is the same? Don’t know.

  6. olidie said on March 7, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    Where are the comments (by me and by another reader) that were visible before?

  7. olidie said on March 7, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Yes, Snapseed is a nice, easy to use photo editing app. Originally it was developed by NIK Software, a German company that google bought some years back.

    It is worth noting that Snapseed is able to edit RAW files. Unfortunately google has not updated the list of supported cameras in quite a while so it will not work with many recent camera. Jpgs work fine.

    The Snapseed app itself has not seen an update for one year now. Either google is happy with it’s current state, does not care about the app anymore and/or has different plans. I tend think the latter. It would not surprise me if google merges Snapseed with their Photos App and made some feature “premium”.

  8. ard said on March 7, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Normally I do not make any editing of photo’s /video’s on my phone, as I prefer to use my desktop programs for that. The Desktop has better programs for editing, has more convenience in mouse and keyboard and offers a larger screen so you can see good what you try to achieve and the resutls. Doing this on the phone reminds me of the late 80’s where my first computer had likewise limitations that have improved over the last decades. Why should I go back to the old difficult days of using a desktop but now on a tiny screen with small buttons???

    1. olidie said on March 7, 2021 at 4:13 pm

      Oh, after reading this comment I remember that there used to be a Snapseed desktop application back in the NIK days. That I something I could very well imagine using these days: a simple, clean but powerful editing software.

      1. Froogle said on March 8, 2021 at 2:40 am

        Yeah, this is the one after Google bought it. Miraculously it doesn’t require a google account or any other garbage to function. So at least Google have ONE good app.

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