I recently wrote about how iOS photo extensions reduce picture resolution when used. That was a really disappointing discovery for me because I loved the simplicity of doing all of my photo editing in one place on iOS. I’d use the controls built into the Photos app to make basic adjustments, and then I’d add my own custom-made filters through apps like Flare Effects. The point was to make browsing and editing photos a seamless experience, but lowering my photo resolution was not a compromise I was willing to make.
I’ve given it some thought, and I think I’ve come up with a workaround that allows me to edit photos on iOS without keeping duplicate files (edited + originals) in my photo library. My strategy hinges on very specific use of the Favourites feature (the heart icon) in the Photos app. Most third party apps are able to detect Albums and photos tagged as Favourites, but saving edits from a third party app like VSCO Cam generates a new JPEG — in other words, saving from VSCO results in two pictures in my library: the original (Favourite) and a new edited photo (from VSCO). I hate these duplicates because it means a lot more scrolling, and it’s sometimes hard to tell which one is the original from a simple thumbnail.
My workaround involves:
- Tagging photos I’d like to edit as Favourites
- Importing all of those Favourites into VSCO (done from inside the VSCO app)
- Editing all of said photos within VSCO and exporting them to the camera roll
- Loading the Photos app and deleting all photos tagged as Favourites
I use Favourites instead of Albums for this process because deleting photos from the Favourites section will actually delete the files, whereas deleting photos from an Album will simply remove them from the album (they’ll still exist in your photo library, though).
This isn’t quite as simple as using photo extensions, and I can’t reverse the changes to my edited files (changes are permanent), but I’m fine with this tradeoff. I am getting full-resolution output from VSCO for my 24 MP pictures, and realistically speaking, I very rarely revert changes to my pictures after editing them.