PhotoScape X is the best free photo editor you’ve never heard of

App review: PhotoScape X is a superb free photo editor for the Apple Mac that is great for enhancing digital camera photos and phone photos. It is packed with excellent features.

Are you using PhotoScape X on your Apple Mac? If the answer is no, you are missing out on one of the best free photo editing apps available. Here a quick overview of what you are missing.

PhotoScape X is a superb tool for editing photos taken with the camera on your phone or a digital camera. There are free and Pro versions of the app and while some functions and tools are held back for the Pro version (UK £28.99), the range of features in the free app is impressive.

This is not a replacement for Photoshop and it isn’t the best tool for creating logos and banners, multi-layered images, or fine detail work. However, PhotoScape X does a great job of making your snapshots look brilliant.

It fixes flaws and enhances your photos in a variety of ways, and it enables you to apply a wide range of special effects, frames, collages and stickers.

Browse and view photos

The first few minutes with PhotoScape X were confusing. There is a file browser on the left that enables you to explore the disk, open folders, view photo thumbnails and drag them into the app to view or edit.

It does not show photos stored in the Apple Photos library. However, the Open button in the bottom right corner enables you to browse your Photos library. I’ve seen this in other apps and it’s a quirk of the way the Photos app and macOS work rather than it being a fault of the app.

PhotoScape X photo editor for the Apple Mac

Edit your photos

Select the Editor tab and a huge number of tools are displayed in tabs and lists. There are some quick tools at the top, such as rotate, straighten, flip, resize, and crop. Then there are some special effects like Miniature, Bloom, HDR and Dehaze. Below this are grayscale, sepia, black and white and other buttons.

An adjustments panel has 15 different effects like sharpen, blur, soften skin, replace colour, film grain and so on. (There are even more in the Pro version). These often have adjustment controls that enable you to determine how much to sharpen, blur and so on.

I’m not even going to count the number of items that appear in the Quick Menu - there must be something in the region of 100. It’s basically a pop-up window that is packed with preset effects, so you can apply them with a couple of mouse clicks.

PhotoScape X photo editor for the Apple Mac editing tools

Correct the colour

Select the colour tab and another set of controls appears - a collection of no less than 22 sliders. These enable you to adjust the brightness/darkness, clarity, contrast, saturation, hue, gamma, exposure and more.

As with all the effects, you can compare before and after, undo the last effect, or revert to the original image.

Apply film effects

The Film tab has six sub-tabs consisting of Film, Duotone, Light Leaks, Overlays, textures, and Dirt and Scratches. Each sub-tab has between 10 and 20 effects that can be applied to the image.

There are too many to list, but the controls make them easy to browse.

When the mouse hovers over an effect, shown as a preview tile, it is instantly applied to the image. Move the mouse away and it is undone. You just move the mouse around the tiles until you find the effect you want and then click it. There is a slider to adjust the strength of the effect and a compare button to show before and after.

PhotoScape X photo editor film effects for the Apple Mac

Add frames and stickers

The Frames tab has three sub-tabs with Frames, Shapes and Borders. These enable you to add a frame or border around the edge of the photo, and apply a mask to make the photo hexagonal, triangular, circular or any one of 50 other shapes. That’s just in the free app, there are many more in the Pro version.

PhotoScape X photo editor for the Apple Mac - add frames and borders

Emoji and other characters can be added to images, then rotated and resized. There are also Snapchat-like cartoon effects such as glasses, hats, mustaches and other items. Various geometric figures can be added and text titles can be entered. Basically all the fun stuff you see shared on Snapchat and Instagram photos.

PhotoScape X photo editor for the Apple Mac - add stickers

Summing up

You could spend hours playing around with the features in this app, enhancing your photos, adding special effects, making fun images and so on. It is excellent and a lot more entertaining than the photo editing features in the Mac Photos app.

This is not a photo organiser, so it does not replace Photos, and it is not a Photoshop replacement. However, it is perfect for tweaking photos from holidays and events, customising them, and making them look great.

The range of tools is extensive and if you think I have listed a lot here, there are dozens more that I haven’t mentioned. It has a ton of features. Most people will be happy with the free version of the app, but if you need even more tools and effects, the Pro version is affordable.

App: PhotoScape X (Mac App Store)
Price: Free
By: Mooii Tech
Size: 110MB
macOS: 10.8 or later
Verdict: One of the best free photo editors for the Mac



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