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iOS 8 Photo Editing Tools: Cropping & Rotating Images Explained

Last updated: March 5, 2015 at 0:13 am

When Instagram was first out, it was a massive hit largely because it allowed you to edit, crop, and add effects to those photos. And remember the photos came out so well that it almost seemed like a work of art. Apple knew this is big.

And so they baked many filters and new photo editing features right in the new iOS 8.

Editing With iOS 8’s Photos App

We forget how smartphones have really changed our lives. Just go back to those days when you were struggling to edit a picture on your Windows or Mac computer.

Was it easy? Absolutely not. Desktop computers do not come have any good built-in picture editing tool. To get one, you have to either try dozens of free photo editing softwares or go with a paid one that costs anywhere between $5 to $100.

Now, compare this to iPhone’s built-in picture editor that can do a lot more than any of those desktop tools in a fraction of a second.

-> Want to change the brightness of an image? Use the “auto enhance” feature.

-> Want to add a film effect to your favorite image? Just tap on that particular filter.

-> Crop image? Possible. Rotate image? Of course possible. And in this how-to tutorial, we will explain you how to do all this through the Photos app. Focus here is to crop and rotate photos from your iOS 8 devices.

Cropping Photos in iPhone / iPad


  • Open the Photos app (app with colorful flowery leaves)
  • Select the photo you want to crop (we prefer going to “albums” to find the picture)
  • Tap on Edit link visible at the top-right corner
  • Click on the crop button

Explanation:  From your Photos app, select the image you want to crop to a custom dimension. You can resize the image to get rid of the ugly background, or zoom the image and cut its corners.

After selecting and opening image, tap on the Edit button located at the top-right corner of the iPhone’s or iPad’s screen.


As soon as you click this, the next page shows you several options. Just tap on the tilted square button next to the “Cancel” link as shown below. This is the crop button.


Now how can you crop this image? There are two ways to do that: Manual and automatic. In the manual cropping technique, you can push the edges/corners of the selected photo and push it inwards or outwards. You can also zoom in or zoom out the image to crop it depending on your requirements.


Automatic cropping technique requires you to tap on the square button as shown below.


This will bring up many image dimensions you could select from. For example: if you tap on Original, the image will be resized to its original size. If you tap Square, your image will have same width and height.


You can select 3:2, 5:3, 4:3, 5:4, 7:5, and 16:9 dimension (width:height). Once selected, tap on Done to save the cropped image in your album.

Rotating Photos in iPhone / iPad

If you are using iPhone / iPad since iOS 7 was out (or before), you will notice a lot has changed over the years. The rotate button has disappeared and now appears inside the crop section.

To rotate images from your iOS device, you have two options:

  •  Use the crop tool (as described above)
  • Use the rotate button

It took us some time to find the rotate option inside the Photos app. Here is what you should do:


  • Launch the Photos app and select the picture
  • Tap on the CROP button
  • Now select the rotate button (as shown below)

Explanation: Open the Photos app from your iPhone / iPad and select the image you want to rotate. Next, tap the Edit button.


In the next page you will notice several editing options. Select the Crop button as shown below.


Now select the Rotate button as shown below (it’s to the left of the “Reset” link).


Tap on the same button again to rotate your image to 0 / 90 / 180 / 360 degree.


That’s it! You have successfully learned the right cropping and rotating technique using the Photos app in your iPhones and iPads. Very simple, right?

Tip: Bringing Back The Original Image

Note that iOS automatically saves the cropped or rotated images in the “Albums” section. But what happens to the original image? Even that is available in the same album.

Just open your Photos app and look for the two images – one is the original and the other is the customized one. But what if you have lost the original image and it no longer appears in the album section?

The solution is to open the modified image, go to crop section and select the RESET button. This will remove all the coloring filters and the layering tools you have applied onto the image.

In short, you can extract the original image back from the modified one with this reset option.

If you have observed, you will notice in the Automatic cropping technique, there is the “Original” option – you can also use this to convert the new image to the older one.

Note: Articles written at are valid for every Apple device running iOS 8.0, iOS 8.1, iOS 8.2, iOS 8.3, iOS 8.4 / 8.4.1 firmware