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Handy Photo's unique user interface makes it fast and fun to edit images from a mobile device, whether that's an iPhone or an iPad. Name a feature and it’s probably on Handy Photo’s checklist, along with convenient tricks such as Move Me, which allows an object from one photo to be transported to another in just a few taps. For those who aren’t so easily impressed, Handy Photo also includes Magic Crop, which allows photos to be “uncropped” by dragging any edge beyond the available image, then automatically healing the remaining space left behind. While results vary depending upon the type of image, the feature performed quite admirably in our testing.
Getting started is simple: From Gallery mode, import a photo and then tap on the hand icon in the upper right corner. The toolbox fans out and rotates, with individual controls appearing in the lower left or right corners. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the scattershot UI design of many iOS image editors, and works equally well on the iPad and the smaller iPhone display.
Handy Photo isn’t strictly about delivering desktop-class image editing to mobile devices. You’ll also find a dizzying array of one-tap filters, frames, and textures, as well as a full complement of color, tonal, and retouching tools. Owners of recent iOS devices can retain up to 36-megapixel image quality, but the app scales backward to support older devices, including iPhone 4 (10MP) and even the original iPad (5MP).
For all of its skills, we did hit a snag or two: Handy Photo seems to have trouble importing some iCloud Photo Sharing images, which properly appear in the built-in Gallery but throw up a “can’t load this file” error when tapped. Images can be opened in other iOS apps, but it’s a one-way street — Handy Photo unfortunately doesn’t show up when using the “Open in” option from another third-party app.
The bottom line. Handy Photo offers a stylish UI packed with an amazing number of desktop-class image editing features, all for a couple of bucks.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4.3 or later
Desktop-class image editing up to 36 megapixels in size. “Uncropping” magically expands beyond image borders. Support for older iOS devices. No in-app purchases.
Fails to import some iCloud Photo Sharing images. Very basic built-in camera. Native “Open in” functionality only works for outgoing photos.