There’s nothing worse than taking the perfect photo, only to realize later that there are unwanted distractions in the frame. Thankfully, there is a way to fix this problem. All you need is the right photo editor to remove objects.
There are many different apps that can handle this task, on both iOS and Android. The question is, which one is going to get the job done most efficiently?
To help you answer that question, we decided to analyze the competition. Keep scrolling to find out which photo editors offer the best tools for the task, and which are worth your money.
Erasing objects, blemishes, and even people from photos is something that has been possible for some long time using Photoshop. However, the technology has become more accessible in recent years.
Now, anyone can remove objects in a few seconds on their smartphone, with zero technical expertise.
Most apps handle object removal with an eraser tool, or with a clone stamp tool.
With an eraser tool, the unwanted object is removed, and the gap is then filled with new content that blends in with the surrounding pixels.
Artificial intelligence has massively improved this technology in recent times; the best photo editors today can literally make objects disappear without a trace.
The other usual option is cloning. This is a manual technique, where you can “paint” over an unwanted object by copying content from another part of the photo. Cloning can work very well in the hands of an expert, but getting it right takes more time.
An alternative to the usual options is background removal. This is where a photo editor identifies the main subject of your photo, and cuts out everything else in the frame.
This is often quicker than either of the two tools mentioned above, and it can be really useful for product and portrait photography.
Now we have met the object removal tools, it’s time to get acquainted with the photo editing apps that provide these features. Here’s a look at some of the best options that are available right now, on both iOS and Android:
Powered by AI technology, Pixelcut is a streamlined editor that makes object removal both easy and very fast.
Rated at 4.8 stars on the App Store and 4.5 stars on Google Play, the app has a Magic Eraser tool that lets you select and cut away unwanted elements with a tap of your finger. Pixelcut’s algorithms do a tremendous job of filling the space in a natural way, and the whole process takes seconds.
In addition, Pixelcut lets you remove backgrounds with a single swipe. The app handles the process automatically, leaving you with a clean cutout.
You can then save the shot with a clean white background, choose a different color, or replace the background with a photo. You have a huge library of stock images to choose from, as well.
But returning to the key matter at hand: this app offers unrivaled usability when it comes to object removal.
Pricing: Free to try; upgrade to unlimited editing and full features for $59.99/yr
This cut-down version of Photoshop has been designed specifically for people who want to edit on the move. However, it still offers many of the same features as the original desktop software.
When it comes to object removal, you have two options here. While the Heal option was designed for covering up blemishes and pimples, it can actually erase any small object.
For larger objects, Photoshop Express offers the Touchup tool. This is essentially a clone stamp tool by another name. Using this feature, you can cover up even quite large objects — although you will have to dedicate some time if you want the end result to look polished.
And that summarizes what you get from this app. Photoshop Express offers an impressive range of features on mobile, but you need patience and a certain level of skill to get the most out of this extensive toolkit.
Pricing: Premium subscriptions from $7.99/mo or $56.99/yr
If object removal is something you only need to handle once in a blue moon, you might want to consider Snapseed. Owned by Google, this free app provides a really good selection of editing tools and creative filters.
Considering that it doesn’t cost you a dime, the Healing feature here is really effective. The app utilizes AI technology from Google to take out small objects efficiently. You just need to point out the offending item with your finger, and Snapseed does the rest.
If you want to tackle larger objects and unwanted people, Snapseed might not be the best option. But for occasional edits, this app is a winner.
Unlike the other image editing apps mentioned above, TouchRetouch is highly specialized. This app focuses entirely on object removal and touching up portraits.
Along with the usual healing and cloning features, this app offers tools for removing power lines, mesh fences, and natural blemishes. It can also clean away any text placed on top of photos, and even remove objects from 360º photos.
All these features are pretty accessible via icons at the bottom of the screen. It’s easy to use, and pretty efficient.
That said, the specialized nature of TouchRetouch means you won’t find any other major adjustments — so this iOS and Android app is more of a stepping stone in your process, rather than an entire workflow by itself.
Pricing: $3.99 one-time price
As you might expect from an app with “art” in the name, this photo editor offers a wealth of creative options, from stickers to stylized filters.
Part of that creative toolkit is object and background removal. Both allow you to get rid of unwanted distractions with a few taps, although you may find yourself redoing object removal in order to achieve a natural look.
But then, Picsart has many priorities aside from removing objects: it has a video editor, a collage maker, over 200 fonts, photo effects, a meme maker, and more.
For someone trying to get things done efficiently, the choice could be a little overwhelming. But most seasoned creatives will probably embrace the ordered chaos of this app.
Pricing: From $11.99/mo or $55.99/yr for Picsart Gold
While you can use YouCam Perfect to edit any photo, this iOS and Android app is optimized for editing selfies.
As with many other apps on this list, you can select objects for removal with your finger and YouCam does the rest. Alternatively, you can use the cutout tool to separate your subject from the background. Bear in mind that, once again, this tool is optimized for selfies.
The app provides an extensive list of retouch tools, too. Quite apart from removing blemishes and wrinkles, you can tune and tweak pretty much any part of your appearance — or someone else’s.
Pricing: Limited free version with ads, then $5.99/mo or $29.99/yr
If you only need to remove objects, picking up Pixelmator Photo might be overkill. Only available on iPhone, this app is one of the most powerful photo editors ever seen on a mobile device.
Putting aside the plethora of color adjustments and film presets, Pixelmator Photo allows you to tackle unwanted distractions using the Repair tool. This works much like a healing brush tool, and the inpainting usually looks quite good.
The reason why Pixelmator Photo isn’t listed higher is that there's no clone stamp here or dedicated background editor.
Pricing: From $4.99/mo, $23.99/yr, or $54.99 for full lifetime access.
The final choice on our list isn’t the prettiest. TouchRemove has rough-and-ready graphics that would have looked more at home on a desktop machine in 2008.
But the truth is, this Android-only app is affordable, and good enough for most object removal tasks.
You have two tools to work with: Remove, and Clone. The former is a healing tool, which is able to remove people and relatively large objects, along with distracting blemishes. That said, we would recommend sticking with smaller fixes.
The Clone tool offers the kind of manual masking we have seen several times in this list. If you have old photos that need to be restored, you can use this option to remove dust spots and scratches.
TouchRemove is not the most compelling photo retouching app, but it does provide healing and cloning at a low, one-off price.
As we have discovered, there are many different apps that can help you to remove objects from your photos.
The overall best choice depends on what you want to achieve. But overall, we believe that Pixelcut offers the best balance of features and usability.
Object removal isn’t the only area in which Pixelcut excels. Used by 10 million small businesses, the app lets you snap amazing e-commerce product photos and social media shots in seconds.
You have a wide array of creative tools to work with, and Pixelcut plays host to loads of one-touch export templates for your favorite platforms.
Want to give it a try? Download Pixelcut today to see how easy photo editing can be.