Are Photo Editing Apps Safe for Your Phone? Are Your Photos Safe as Well?


One of the most critical pieces of data for modern mobile phone users is their photos. Everyone wants their photos to be safe when interfacing with the various websites and applications where they are stored and edited. But how safe are they?

The top photo editing apps, for both iPhone and Android, are relatively safe options to use and store photos with. The most popular photo editor platforms, created by big firms such as Adobe or Google, have spent years building user trust and developing secure systems to protect their users’ info. 

In this article, I will identify some of the safest, most secure photo editing applications, for both iPhone and Android users. Additionally, I will discuss some essential tips on how to keep your photos effectively backed up and protected. 

What Are the Safest Photo Editing Apps?

The most important factors for the security-conscious smartphone photographer are:

Of course, not all photo editor applications are created equal; some have years of expert development and security measures under their belt, and some simply do not. As with any product or service, it is crucial for customers and users to perform research to find out the best possible options for them. 

When it comes to smartphone applications, the app store’s copious reviews from existing customers – for both Apple and Android, respectively – come in most handy. 

Alongside expert journalism such as from the New York Times, reading comprehensive-to-concise review content from sites like CNET, as well as niche writing from trusted blogs like ExpertPhotography.com, one can formulate a shortlist of the most trusted photo editor applications. 

Here are the top 5 safest photo editing apps:

  1. Adobe Lightroom (since 2017) 
  2. Google Snapseed (since 2011) 
  3. Adobe Photoshop Express (since 1990)
  4. VSCO (since 2011)
  5. Prisma (since 2016) 

These photo editor apps are considered top of the line not only because of their copious features for creative photo design but also because of their security and long-time reliability. 

They are secure applications to use on your phone, and they take care to ensure your photos cannot be accessed by anyone but you. 

Each of these photo apps has free and premium versions, or an offering of “additional in-app purchases”, with additional creative and design features available the more you are willing to pay. 

There are many more photo editor apps out there with similar features and options, maybe even for security. Browsing through the app store, you will find dozens. But from some basic research, these 5 are definitely the most popular and trustworthy today. 

The Main Difference Between Apple and Android App Stores

Between Apple and Android, there is a general difference between how they conduct business on their respective application stores. These are additional considerations for using photo editor apps on either platform or, for that matter, any other app you choose to download. 

Open vs Closed Operating Systems

From NordVPN’s 2021 security comparison, the primary difference between Apple and Android comes with the structure of their respective operating systems (OS). 

Apple closely protects its operating system – and thus, the different app marketplace and security measures around it – versus Android, which has an “open-source” operating system. 

An open-source structure means that Android software is much more customizable by the general tech development public, while also being potentially more vulnerable to hacks and malware as a result. 

For Apple, their closed OS source code means higher security measures around app development. Simply put, this means developing iPhone applications is a more stringent process, and it is more difficult to get an app published on the Apple app store. 

Thus, any app you do download to your iPhone is likely to be secure (though not always!) 

Android’s open-source code and more democratized Google app store structure typically mean a wider variety of options, though not all of them may be as secure. This is where perusing customer reviews and deeper research may be required as you make downloads. 

However, it is worth noting that Google, quite successfully, pays independent online security contractors to help find any potential vulnerabilities with their OS and apps and works with users to remove any problematic apps as soon as they are identified. 

The Best Ways To Keep Your Photos Safe

Something that must be understood when it comes to smartphone and Internet security is that you can never completely eliminate the possibility of a leak, hack, or data vulnerability. 

Even the largest companies and developers out there, such as Apple and Google, are under constant threat of online data breaches and hacks upon their core servers. 

In general, according to ITGovernance.eu, the most likely way to have your personal data lost, stolen, or deleted is from:

  • Having your password inadvertently revealed.
  • Accidentally giving out information through a successful phishing attempt. 
  • It was simply guessed by a digital thief’s program from being too simple (i.e. “password123”). 

Thus, to stay secure online, it becomes paramount for you as a smartphone user to create good passwords for your profiles while also relying on backup services such as iCloud or Google Photos, for example. 

Or, for any photo you never want to risk being leaked, simply do not upload it anywhere online. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the most common picture sharing options and how you can ensure the safety of your photos with each.

iCloud 

Apple iCloud, for Mac and iPhone users, is a reliable place to store your photos in a secure way, with easy access and a variety of security options. 

Luckily, there are a few different ways an iPhone user can protect their iCloud photos and data. These include:

  • Do not use an unsecured network to perform sensitive tasks, such as online baking.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Do not click links in emails when asked to review personal information.
  • Change your passcodes and password regularly.
  • Use a variety of strong passwords for each sign-in.
  • Enable the “erase data” option under “Face ID and Passcode.”

Google Photos

Google Photos, for Android or Apple users both, is another reliable place to store your photos securely, with efficient ways of sharing them. 

Here are a few of the different ways to ensure your Google Photos remain secure and private:. 

  • Use private photo albums.
  • Don’t upload your photos into albums created by other people.
  • Double check the sharing settings on photos and albums before uploading.
  • Archive sensitive photos to hide them from your normal feed.

SmugMug

SmugMug is a one-stop-shop for image sharing and storage. This paid service is perfect for people with lots of high quality photos they need to store securely.

No matter which plan you choose, you can expect:

  • Advanced privacy settings for every single photo or video uploaded. 
  • Direct-link access and password security on sharable photos and albums.
  • Amazon S3 durability which boasts 99.99% efficiency.
  • SmugVault for extra sensitive files.

Two-Factor Authentication 

The Bryce Jordan Center stage being built and lit prior to the Penn State Dance Marathon.

Something many modern platforms allow users to set up to boost their security measures is two-factor authentication (2FA). Both Google and Apple provide it as an option for signing in to their sites. 

Two-factor authentication is a two-step process that allows for a user to create an additional security measure beyond a password – such as a personalized question or a physical authenticator device – to be a required input for signing in to an online profile or platform.

Wherever you can set up 2FA for your online accounts, practically every cybersecurity expert recommends it, especially when dealing with sensitive data such as photos.

Final Thoughts

For the modern smartphone user, keeping your data and photos safe can be anxiety-inducing, especially after reading about the frequent big hacks or data breaches happening around the world. 

However, as shown above, there are trustworthy apps for your photo needs and some simple actions you can take as a user to further protect your precious data. 

Take your photos, download a top editor, maintain your passwords, and rest easy. 

My Current Video Editing Setup and Favorite Products

Apple MacBook Air M1 512GB Ram (Waiting for the new 16in pro)

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LG 27MK400H-B Full HD Monitor with FreeSync 27″ (I literally have 4 of these) 

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Razer Holiday Bundle Cynosa Chroma Gaming Keyboard, Abyssus Gaming Mouse, Goliathus Chroma Mousepad

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KTRIO Large Gaming Mouse Pad with Stitched Edges

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Panasonic LUMIX G7 Digital Camera – Great Entry Camera for Shooting and Streaming

Neewer Ring Light Kit — A Must Have

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Emart Green Screen Backdrop with Stand Kit – Affordable and Lots of Uses! 

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Elgato Stream Deck Mini – I only need the 6 keys

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Sources 

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