Everyone knows that macOS is the best platform for image editing, but finding the right software isn’t so clear. Photoshop is the default choice, but the insane pricing can put it outside the budget for a huge number of people.

There are quite a few free or low-cost options, but it can be tough to narrow down between them. After all, some online tools (like Pixlr) are just as effective as the lower-end editing applications available through the App Store.

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    Woman sitting at Mac laptop working on photos with camera next to her

    These tools are our picks for the best free and low-cost photo editors for Mac. Also, be sure to check out our YouTube channel where we go through a couple of the best photo editors for Mac:


    GIMP (Download)

    GIMP is the closest free tool to Photoshop but comes with a steep learning curve that can be tough to master. Despite its age, GIMP is still updated regularly and serves as the go-to tool for a huge number of people.

    GIMP logo

    The default suite of tools is powerful, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for, GIMP works with a huge number of third-party plugins. You can expand its utility and functionality to near-infinite levels with a bit of Google searching.

    The great thing about GIMP is that if you’re already skilled with Photoshop, you can get the hang of GIMP relatively quickly. You’ll need to learn the names of the different tools, but it has almost as much power as Photoshop for none of the cost.

    Pixelmator (Download)

    Pixelmator is a paid tool available for download on the App Store for $29.99, but it comes with a 30-day free trial if you want to give it a whirl and see if the app works for you.

    Pixlemator app window

    Pixelmator has a lot of powerful painting and retouching tools that let users change images in any way they can imagine, as well as compatibility with a wide array of different file formats including Photoshop. This means you can open a Photoshop file with various layers and manipulate it just like you would in its original format.

    Pixelmator takes advantage of macOS features to provide users with a full-featured suite of image editing software that competes with the best of them.

    Fotor Photo Editor (Download)

    Fotor is a popular free photo editor for Mac that many of you might have used before. It’s available as an online tool, but if you find that you prefer it for quick and easy edits as opposed to something with more features, you can also download it from the App Store.

    Fotor app window

    Fotor lacks many of the more advanced tools you’ll find with GIMP or Pixelmator, but it does offer a lot of powerful features that less-skilled users will appreciate. Fotor can automatically touch up images and process dozens of images at a time with its batch tool. You can also create collages and set your own borders.

    Instagram has nothing on Fotor. Best of all, it’s free – but if you want access to its Pro features, a subscription is $4.99 per month or $19.99 per year.

    Photoscape X (Download)

    Photoscape X is another free photo editor for Mac that appeals to a niche audience. That said, it has tools that some of the others do not, including the ability to create animated GIFS.

    Photoscape X app window

    Its primary function is to fix and enhance photos, with all of the tools you associate with image editing. You can merge photos together to create HDR effects, rename multiple photos at once, and add up to 26 different textures.

    Photoscape X is free to use, but it does have in-app purchases that you can invest in to expand its functionality.