Use ipad pro with photoshop

Use ipad pro with photoshop DEFAULT

Everything you can do in Photoshop for iPad, and what is still missing

Cramming software the size of Photoshop into an iPad app is no easy task. We’ve seen the Photoshop name on mobile apps before, like Photoshop Express and the new Photoshop Camera, but these apps are really nothing like the desktop version of Photoshop. That’s finally changing with Photoshop for iPad, a full — or nearly full — version of the program designed to run on a tablet.

Photoshop for iPad is not identical to the desktop software, but because it is based on the same code, the app looks and feels more like Photoshop than any other mobile app. Adobe says that the goal is to eventually achieve feature parity between the versions, but the app is starting slow by launching with only the most-used features.

Now on the App Store, the mobile version of Photoshop is only available for iPads running iOS 13.1 and later. The Apple Pencil makes selecting an object or drawing on a photograph easier than a mouse. There’s also the obvious size advantage of a tablet compared to a computer.

Photoshop for iPad is available at no additional charge for Creative Cloud subscribers with access to the desktop version. If you don’t already own an iPad, though, is it worth investing in one to run Photoshop? Here’s what you need to know before running Photoshop on an iPad.

What is the Photoshop for iPad release date?

After teasing the app last year, Adobe released the Photoshop for iPad on November 4, 2019. The early versions of the app still have a way to go before all the features from the desktop version are included. While Adobe plans to bring those features over in time, it has not given exact dates for its update schedule. If you’re looking for a specific feature, you may need to wait.

Photoshop for iPad vs. Photoshop for desktop

This initial version of the app focuses on some of the most common retouching and masking tools, but several big features are still missing — the dodge and burn tools are nowhere to be found, for example. Adobe is considering user feedback when determining what to build in next, so if your favorite tools aren’t here yet, a bit of complaining may make those features available faster.

Listing what is included is much easier than going through what’s been left out. Here’s what you’ll find in Photoshop for iPad:

  • Layers: Photoshop without layers wouldn’t be Photoshop at all. Thankfully, layers are alive and well in Photoshop on the iPad. You can add new layers, add layer masks, adjust the opacity of a layer, and change the blending mode. You can also delete layers, load a layer as a selection, and add, subtract, or intersect masks. Layer effects and smart filters aren’t yet supported for layers. The tablet version also adds a condensed layers view as well as the more detailed layers panel, so navigating layers may feel a little different.
  • Adjustment layers: Along with regular layers, you can also work with adjustment layers to create a mask for adjustments such as brightness and contrast, levels, hue/saturation, color balance, and others. You can add an adjustment layer by tapping on the Add Clipped Adjustment option in the Layer Properties panel or by holding the Plus icon and choosing the option from the menu.
  • Selections: The touchscreen interface can often be easier to use than creating a complex selection with a mouse. In Photoshop for iPad, you can make selections using the lasso, quick selection, the rectangular or circular selection tool, or Select Subject. Once you’ve made a selection, you can still turn it into a mask or invert the selection. Selections can be further refined using the Refine Brush (found in the More menu in the Selection Toolbox at the bottom of the screen), but not the full slate of options that are inside of the desktop version’s Select and Mask. Select Object and the magnetic lasso are missing.
  • Retouching: The clone and healing tools are built-in, but photo editors will have to wait for more advanced options, like frequency separation, as well as the dodge and burn tools. (You can, alternately, create dodge and burn adjustment layers instead).
  • Basic tools: The paintbrush, text tool, fill tool, and gradient tool are part of the first version. The crop and transform tools are also included. Rotating the canvas is done inside the crop tool, which means a few extra steps.

There’s still a good list of features missing, like curves, Content-Aware Fill, warp tools, liquify, sharpening, and basics like resizing an image. Excluding the Gaussian Blur, filters are missing as well. For now, Photoshop for iPad is best considered as a companion, rather than a replacement, to the desktop version.

Getting started with Photoshop for iPad

Opening Photoshop on the iPad will feel very familiar to anyone who has used Photoshop on the desktop, but it’s also simple for beginners. You’ll still find the toolbar on the left and layers and properties panels on the right, but the interface has been redesigned and minimized to dedicate more of the screen to the workspace. The controls also function a bit differently to those meant for a mouse and keyboard. That’s a good thing for the app’s usability but may require some extra searching at first for certain tools.

Tap and hold icons with a Triangle in the corner to access similar tools. In many cases, aTool Options bar will pop up next to the toolbar when a tool is selected, including a Triple Dot menu that tends to hide more options. Some tools will also open a small menu at the bottom with more options, such as the selection tool. Hold and drag these mini menus to move them around. On the iPad, there is no File menu at the top, but there’s a header that allows you to go back to the home screen, undo or redo, access cloud options, and save files.

Core to the mobile editing workflow is Adobe’s new Cloud Documents functionality. This allows you to save files to the cloud to access them later in the desktop version, and vice versa. Cloud Documents count toward your Creative Cloud storage plan, but they make working between multiple devices easier. Keep in mind that PSD files can be very large and may take a while to sync.

Gesture controls

Notice the weird circle hovering over your image? That’s the touch shortcut — think of it as a replacement for keyboard shortcuts. When using the paintbrush, for example, tapping and holding on that circle will switch to the eraser tool. The primary touch shortcut is accessed by tapping and holding the center, but a secondary shortcut is activated by tapping and sliding your finger to the outer edge of the circle. You can also tap, hold, and drag to move the touch shortcut to another part of the screen. A description of what the touch shortcut does in the tool that you have selected appears in a blue box in the upper right corner when the touch shortcut is activated.

The touch shortcut houses several important options that are missing without a keyboard — use the touch shortcut to scale the crop proportionally, select from the center of the elliptical marquee, or add to a selection. If there’s a task that you usually use the shift key for, it’s probably in the touch shortcuts. You can view the full list of touch shortcuts here or by tapping on the Question Mark icon and selecting View Touch Shortcuts inside the app.

The touchscreen interface also means that there are several gesture controls that you can’t see on the screen. Like learning the keyboard shortcuts on desktop, once you have the hang of them, gesture controls should help you to work faster. Some of the most used gesture controls include:

  • Undo: Tap with two fingers.
  • Redo: Tap with three fingers.
  • Pan around the canvas: Drag with two fingers.
  • Zoom: Pinch with two fingers.
  • View at 100%: Double-tap with one finger.
  • Rotate: Place two fingers on the screen, separately, and rotate in the direction that you’d like. (Note that, like using the laptop touchpad to rotate the canvas, this isn’t a permanent rotation — the canvas will return to the usual spot when reopening the file. For a permanent rotate, use the crop and rotate tool.)

Should you get Photoshop for iPad?

If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber and already own an iPad, there’s no reason not to try out Photoshop on it, as it won’t cost you anything. If you’re considering investing in an iPad specifically so you can make your Photoshop workflow more mobile, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. For high-end professional use, there are many features still missing from the iPad app that may be deal-breakers, so you might want to wait. If you don’t mind the more limited feature set, however, picking up an iPad to run Photoshop on the go could be a valuable addition to your creative toolkit.

Editors' Recommendations


Why Photoshop on iPad Isn't Good Enough (Yet)

Key Takeaways

  • iPad Photoshop gets new features, but the competition is far ahead.
  • Adobe has updated Photoshop to run natively on Apple Silicon Macs.
  • It’s fast. Really fast.

Photoshop now runs on Apple’s M1-based Macs, and by all accounts, it is fast. Photoshop continues to be king of the desktop. But what about the iPad?

Adobe’s Pam Clark says that the rejigged version of Photoshop for Apple Silicon Macs runs an average of 1.5 times faster, with some features feeling "noticeably faster" and "substantially faster."

So, it’s faster. Photoshop on iPad also gets some improvements to how it handles your cloud-based documents. Solid updates both, but isn’t Photoshop for the iPad running a little late compared to indie photo-editing apps? Maybe, but that’s because you’re getting all of Photoshop.

"To take such a recognizable product—and brand—and reimagine it for the mobile world took an incredible amount of thinking and effort," an Adobe spokesperson (who declined to be named as they were speaking on behalf of the company) told Lifewire via email.

"To preserve the app’s iconic UX, we took on the significant challenge of building Photoshop on the iPad using the same code base as Photoshop on the desktop."

Photoshop On iPad

Since the iPad launched in 2010, Adobe has had a few cracks at bringing versions of Photoshop to the tablet, but none of them tried to bring anything close to the entirety of the frankly iconic (and monolithic) application to mobile. 

Then, at the Adobe MAX conference in November 2019, Adobe launched "real" Photoshop for iPad. Under the hood, it was indeed the same as the desktop version, but its features were severely limited.

Even today it is far from the desktop version. You can layer up and retouch your images, and use powerful layer-based masks, but the majority of Photoshop’s tricks—its filters and powerful image-mangling tools—are absent. What, then, is the point?

The point is mobility. Cloud sync lets users take their work anywhere, make simple changes, and show them off to clients. They can access "full PSD files, even with thousands of layers," says the spokesperson.

"Just this simple ability has been enough. [Photoshop on iPad has] gained significant traction among creatives, with more than a million downloads as well as millions of cloud documents created since its release," says the spokesperson. 

Meanwhile, the competition is speeding ahead.

The Alternatives

Photoshop might still be the big cheese on the desktop, but there are plenty of more powerful options on mobile, many of them fully compatible with your Photoshop files.

What’s more, some of these apps are available for a one-time purchase instead of being subscription-based like all Adobe’s apps. 

Affinity Photo bills itself as a "genuine desktop-grade, professional photo-editing app," and that’s an accurate description. Affinity Photo is also available for the Mac and Windows, just like Photoshop, and already packs in just about any photo-editing feature you might need.

The main difference is that Affinity Photo for iPad looks a lot like Photoshop on the desktop—small icons and an interface that’s better navigated with a mouse or an Apple Pencil.

Photoshop might be severely limited on iOS, but Adobe has designed it for a touch screen, and its UI departs significantly from the desktop version.

"To take such a recognizable product—and brand—and reimagine it for the mobile world took an incredible amount of thinking and effort,"

"Some of the software and hardware limitations this project needed to overcome included a new OS to compile and run on, slower CPU and less RAM, a smaller screen, and touch input," says the spokesperson.

Another great iPad photo-editing app is Pixelmator Photo, which is more of a replacement for Adobe’s Lightroom rather than Photoshop. This, too, manages to pack in all you need for editing your images for publication, and it does it all in a very touch-friendly UI. The app even uses your existing Photos library, so there’s no importing or exporting required. 

The Future of Photoshop

Photoshop is still the go-to app on the desktop, and despite slow progress, the iPad version is pretty great.

Adobe has proved that it can be nimble—the M1 Mac-compatible beta of Photoshop was available when those computers launched. In the end, all the great competition forces Adobe to make a better product.

Meanwhile, most of these pretenders to the Photoshop throne pay homage by mimicking Photoshop’s long-established keyboard shortcuts, which makes trying them out almost trivial for the professional user. Either way, the customer is the winner.

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iPad Screenshots


Ready to use Photoshop on the iPad? If you have a qualifying membership, just log in with your Adobe ID. If you don’t, try it with a 30-day free trial. Photoshop on the iPad opens the same files as Photoshop on your desktop (macOS or Windows) using cloud technology, so you can stay in sync across all your devices.

Use Photoshop with Adobe Fresco

Take your artwork to the next level using Photoshop together with Adobe Fresco, our newest drawing and painting app with vector, raster, and live brushes. It’s included with a Photoshop or Creative Cloud All Apps membership at no additional cost. Your Photoshop and Fresco documents automatically sync and save to the cloud.


Photoshop on the iPad delivers core tools designed for Apple Pencil and touch. Get inspired and learn tips and tricks in our new inspiration gallery. Share and showcase your projects with the creative community using livestreaming. We’re releasing new product features every month, so check out the “What’s new” page in the app to see what’s coming next, suggest features, and help us build the Photoshop experience you want.

Retouching and compositing:

Enhance images and adjust color tones with Curves. Remove unwanted elements with the spot healing and Clone Stamp tools. Bring in your photos from Lightroom, edit them with the power of Photoshop, and send them back to your Lightroom catalog. Use the Object Selection and Select Subject tools to make fast and precise selections when you’re combining images and fine-tune them with the Refine Edge Brush.

Touch and Apple Pencil controls:

Swipe, pinch, tap, scribble, slide — you’ll feel closer to your work than ever before and with Apple Pencil, you have ultimate precision.

Familiar tools:

Work with your layer stack and toolbar tools just like on your desktop. With context-aware UI, only the core tools and panes are displayed, so you can focus on your canvas, not the clutter.

Full PSDs:

Create on your iPad with the Photoshop features you know and love, from retouching and compositing to spot healing and blend modes. Layers? They’re all here. Resolution? No difference. Your PSDs are exactly the same, whether you’re working on a desktop, laptop, or iPad.

Anywhere access:

It’s simple to keep your PSDs in sync across devices. Your documents are automatically saved to the cloud as you work and available on any device running Photoshop

Supported by any device with iPadOS 13.1 and above.

Terms & Conditions:
Your use of this application is governed by the Adobe General Terms of Use and the Adobe Privacy Policy

Do Not Sell My Info:

Use of Adobe mobile apps and online services requires registration for an Adobe ID for any level of Creative Cloud membership, which may not be available in all countries or languages and may be subject to change or discontinuation without notice. Adobe online services require an internet connection.

Version 2.7.2

We've fixed some bugs and updated a couple things:
- You can now add a new layer, adjustment layer, or place an image directly from the [+] button on the layer stack in compact layers
- Added a note to Canvas Projection feature in settings - it can be used with both AirPlay or a cable
- Fixed a bug causing a crash on sign-in / sign-out

As always, we welcome your feedback as we continue to update and improve the app. Send us your ideas, suggestions, and thoughts in the “Suggest features” section of the app!

- The Photoshop Team

Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5

35.6K Ratings

Editors’ Choice

Photoshop for iPadOS is powered by the same code base that drives the iconic desktop version, and it adds a new customizable interface optimized for touch and Apple Pencil. It’ll look instantly familiar to longtime fans. But Photoshop on iPad also feels like a new experience. To explore all that’s new, go to the app’s home screen and tap Learn for introductory videos and lessons on masking, creating composite images, and more.

The release could have been handled better, but the features in v1 are well done

As a product manager and designer myself I do sympathize with this kind of reaction to a major release. But it wasn’t unavoidable. It was waaaay easier to spend the last year thinking that an iPad version of photoshop that had feature parity with the desktop version was coming. Many of the outlets reporting on the announcement left out the caveat about v1, and even the official Adobe announcement article only had a single bullet point mentioning it. Most people who read about it walked away with the impression of “full” and “real” photoshop, not “a limited feature v1 that will grow overtime”.

From an announcement hype standpoint that’s fine. From the standpoint of expectation setting, that was precisely what led to the blowback currently manifesting itself as one star reviews.

The optics and narrative mistakes of the whole thing aside, what y’all have shipped in this v1 is really solid. It’s obviously limited in functionality, but everything that did make the cut is smooth, easy to pick up with knowledge of desktop photoshop, and just feels really good to use. If future functionality is added with the same care, I’ll very much look forward to trying it out.

Amazing, actual real photoshop on a tablet

I didn’t realize until I got an iPad today that they had ported the real photoshop over, but this is amazing. It’s not quite as refined or as capable as desktop PS, but the most essential features are there, it generates real PSDs and was able to open a few of the odd PSDs I’d already had saved to my CC account that were created on desktop. There are a few areas where it even feels nicer than desktop, namely being able to pinch to zoom so smoothly. You don’t mind the floating UI bits because it’s so easy to move the canvas around them, even on an iPad mini it works very well.

Further refinements are certainly needed, but there’s no denying that this is the real deal. I don’t think it will replace desktop for anyone yet, but in a pinch, it’s excellent. Just like an extra-portable camera, it will shine the most in settings where you wouldn’t have had the full experience available. Definitely looking forward to seeing more features and quality of life refinements.


Photoshop on the iPad: Monthly

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The iPad Pro deserved a better version of Photoshop

I remember when Adobe came to an Apple Keynote in 2018 to show how powerful was Photoshop on the new iPad Pros.

In fact, like everyone else, I was blown away, and I couldn’t wait to try it out myself.

I only had to buy the new iPad Pro, the new Apple Pencil, and wait until 2019, when they decided to release the iPad version of Photoshop. So I did what I could at the time and bought the iPad and Pencil.

Photoshop was the main reason why I couldn’t work entirely on an iPad. There were great alternatives out there, but they just didn’t work as well as Photoshop for me.

So, until Adobe released the software, I decided to adapt my workflow to the iPad Pro slowly. It was working fine. iPadOS wasn’t as good back then as it is now. Safari was still displaying a larger mobile version of most websites, and most apps weren’t fully ready to take advantage of the iPad Pro’s power.

The iPad Pro seemed a little overpowered for what it was still: a larger iPhone.

But there was hope. Photoshop coming to the iPad was the start of getting professional apps to the iPad.

We all had to wait until almost the end of 2019 to see Photoshop coming to the iPad Pro.

After such a long wait, it would be the perfect app, right?

Well, it truly isn’t. Most of the features are there but incomplete or not working at all with “The Current Version of the Software.” Yes, you can draw, do some light photo editing, and some very basic graphic design, but you can only use a minimal set of tools, with very few controls.

Photoshop on the iPad Pro is not as good as most of its competitors.

Most importantly, it’s far from the desktop experience. The two don’t communicate that well, even though I have a Creative Cloud subscription. Some people are also saying that the resolution of files gets smaller when handled on the iPad, which is a significant issue for any professional work.

I do believe that Photoshop was release very prematurely to honor the promise of releasing the app in 2019. But it’s now May 2020, and there haven’t been many improvements so far.

Photoshop coming to the iPad was the signal everyone was waiting for. Photoshop coming to the iPad proves both the users and the developers that the tablet can handle the high-quality standards in terms of power and workflow that pros and creatives have.

That didn’t work out.

The iPad Pro was advertised as more powerful than most laptops; meanwhile, most of these cheap laptops can handle Photoshop just fine.

It’s now May 2020, and the iPad is still lacking lots of pro apps. There are rumors about Apple launching an iPad version of Final Cut Pro and Xcode later this year. Let’s hope that’s the case. Maybe if Adobe failed at proving the iPad could be an excellent device for pros, Apple would succeed.

For those of you that desperately want to try pro apps on your iPad to see how the experience would be, I can’t recommend Sidecar enough.

Apple Sidecar is a technology that allows Mac users to use their iPad as a secondary display while still being able to use the Apple Pencil on your iPad.

I guess you understand where this is going: I dragged a Photoshop project on my iPad screen using Apple Sidecar, and I started enjoying Photoshop on the iPad, the full desktop version.

And let me tell you one thing: it works great! The interface is a little small, even on the 12.9” iPad, but the way I was interacting with projects was very intuitive and overall very fun to use.

I’ve seen people do the same thing with Final Cut or even Premiere, saying that it was enjoyable to use.

I don’t know if such a workflow would be productive long-term. But if we had standalone apps on the iPad, I feel like between the touch features, the Apple Pencil, keyboard shortcuts, and now even a mouse, we would have way more possibilities that we can think of.

Apple Sidecar made me realize that these pro apps would work on the iPad. Even in their full form, with their complex interfaces. The touch features and the Apple Pencil are allowing a lot more possibilities, and I’m excited to experiment with them in the future when we have standalone pro apps.


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