Alastair Arthur Photography


Photography by Alastair Arthur

Returning to Apple and a few favorite iOS photo apps


I'm not sure how many times I've switched between iOS and Android. I had a Motorola when my wife got her first iPhone, a 3GS. Somewhere along the line I used the 3GS for a while, an iPhone 4S, Nexus 4, iPhone 5S, HTC M8 and a Nexus 5X (the iPhones usually second-hand). With the offer of a used iPhone 7 Plus, I'm now back to Apple.

Switching is pretty painless now, with most services cloud-based and available on both platforms. Especially now that my favored notes app, Google Keep, is on iOS which was a pleasant surprise. Maybe it has been for ages and I just never thought to look. Only my journal apps (Journey on Android, Day One on iOS - both excellent) are unique to each.

I know there will be a few frustrations. I do like the consistency of the Android back-button for example, and why does Apple insist that all the icons should shuffle up automatically rather than letting me decide. Android multi-tasking is much improved, and is superior in some ways (such as double-tap to return to the previously used app). The two photo management systems work differently and the integration between apps still seems messy on both, especially for images loaded from a camera rather than shot on the phone. Android seems to work better when you select the image you want to work on from Google Photos first, then share it into the desired editing app. iOS seems to work better by opening the app first then selected the image to edit.

But for photographers there are a few big benefits in terms of the apps on iOS, even though the best cameras are no longer only in iPhones. Hipstamatic is a great old favorite that is still going strong. RNI Films and Filmborn look very interesting for film simulations and Cortex Cam claims to provide good low-light results by combining multiple exposures. It's not that Android doesn't have good apps (and Snapseed remains my favorite for quick edits), just that there are still more on iOS and the quality is often higher.

I prefer the web-based Google Photos over the Apple Photos desktop software (which annoyingly creates a local copy in one large file). But iOS still wins out on apps, and I guess that's what really matters most. At least until I get bored again and get a Pixel.


By the way, I just stumbled across an excellent short course on mobile street photography by Richard Koci Hernandez on LinkedIn Learning (you have to subscribe but there is a free trial): iPhone Photography: Shooting to Storytelling. It's a few years old but the techniques and Richard's enthusiasm hold true, and it's impressive to see him working with what would now be considered an old phone (iPhone 4?).