Adobe’s Photoshop is one of the most famous editing apps of all time. It offers a range of photo editing features you’ll struggle to find elsewhere, especially when bundled with a Creative Cloud subscription.
However, the full version of Photoshop is one of the more demanding apps, reflected in it only being available on desktop operating systems and iPadOS.
But what if you want you use Photoshop on a phone or other Android device? Fortunately, Adobe does make a stripped-down version for mobile, known as Photoshop Express.
What is Photoshop Express?
Simply put, it’s Adobe’s version of Photoshop specifically for phones and other mobile devices. As well as being optimised for touch input, it’s geared towards sharing images you’ve just created online.
However, this is about more than just a quick edit for Instagram – Photoshop Express has plenty of tools which make it a powerful photo editing app in your pocket.
How to get started with Photoshop Express
- On your Android device, open the Google Play Store
- Search for ‘Photoshop’ and tap ‘Photoshop Express Photo Editor’. It’s usually the first result
- Tap ‘Install’, then open the app once it’s complete
- When opening the app for the first time, you’ll be presented with an overview of the key Photoshop Express features. Tap ‘Next’ 10 times to get to the next section
- If you already have an Adobe ID, use it to sign in on the next screen. Otherwise, use a Google or Facebook account to login
- Tap ‘Continue’ to accept cookie settings, then ‘OK’ and ‘Allow’ to give the app permission to access your files and photos
You’ll now see all your photos displayed in a grid. This is what you’ll be presented with each time you open the app from now on.
Is Photoshop Express free?
As you’ll have seen when following the steps above, it costs nothing to download the app and sign in with your details. Indeed, most of the features you’ll find on Photoshop Express are completely free to use. These cover all the basics you’d expect from photo editing software:
- Apply filters
- Crop photos
- Resize photos
- Fix perspective
- Adjust exposure, contrast, colours, saturation, clarity, highlights and many more elements of photos
- Add text
- Fix red eye
- Add borders
- Remove blemishes such as spots, dirt or dust
- Auto enhancer
- Add watermark
- Lens correction
Learn more about all the features available in Photoshop Express on the
However, there is some extra functionality you’ll have to pay for:
- Advanced Healing – this lets you quickly remove or clone part of an image, which can be used to smooth imperfections without the photo looking artificial
- Selective Editing – this allows you to isolate a specific part of the image (such as the subject in the foreground) and edit it independently of the rest of the image
- Raw Photo Editing – as the name suggests, you can also edit in Raw, which preserves detail thanks to minimal processing after the photo is taken
Other Premium exclusives include integration with
Creative Cloud (if you have an existing subscription) and cloud storage. Adobe also advertises ‘many more creative features’, but it’s not clear exactly what these are. If none of the above appeal to you, the free plan is probably sufficient.
How much does Photoshop Express Premium cost?
However, a Premium subscription might be worth it for you, especially as it’s much more affordable than the desktop version. After a three-day free trial, a year of Premium will cost you £26.49/$34.99 – that works out at £2.21/$2.92 per month. You’ll pay £5.99/$4.99 for a month’s access, but there’s no free trial with this plan.
On Android, the easiest way to pay is via the Google Play Store. You can cancel at any time, and will only be charged until the end of that billing period.
What are the differences between Photoshop Express and full Photoshop?
As you might have noticed, the features included in Photoshop Express don’t cover everything that’s available on the desktop version of Photoshop. In
Adobe’s official article comparing the two, it highlights two key scenarios where the full version is necessary.
First is Layers, which allows you to make big changes to one element of an image, without affecting anything else. For double exposure photos, composites, photomontages and some landscape images, layers are crucial. On a more basic level, it’s what we use to drop screenshots onto laptop templates for many images across the site. Photoshop Express’s Selective Editing feature just doesn’t offer the same level of control.
Its other key advantage is what Adobe calls Interoperability. Essentially, the desktop version of Photoshop can seamlessly pull in information from other Creative Cloud apps, be it the background for a Premiere Pro video or a magazine colour scheme from InDesign. That’s simply not possible on mobile.
While Photoshop Express is designed for smartphone photography, you can easily import edits into the main Photoshop or Lightroom for further editing.
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