iPhone App Review: PicFrame


Version 1.0
Price $0.99

Rating 4 stars

Bottom Line: A very good multi-panel photo creator that stacks up well against the excellent Diptic.

PicFrame is a new frame/diptych app from New Zealand’s ActiveDevelopment, the makers of picfx. Use it to join multiple photos into one multi-image frame — a diptych, triptych or quadtych.

It’s going to draw a lot of comparisons to the excellent and popular Diptic app by Peak Systems, and it does have many similarities. But there are also enough differences to make this a tough call to choose between the two.

The newcomer PicFrame stacks up pretty well against Diptic — something which many other apps of this class have failed to do previously. The UI is very similar to Diptic and works in a similar fashion.

Select one of the 16 standard frame layouts and then pan, zoom, mirror or rotate your images into position. The frames are highly customizable. Border thickness and color are easily changeable. PicFrame has a good-looking rounded corners option that Diptic lacks.

PicFrame also comes with 8 textures that you can fill the frame with. Several of them are soft, lightly-textured, natural colored backgrounds. For my taste, these are the more useful ones and they look pretty good as a frame. Others are a little more loud and colorful.

Panel sizes can easily be adjusted in PicFrame — a really great feature for adapting the aspect ratio of the stock layouts to the photo.

Although the frames themselves can be adjusted, PicFrame lacks the adjustable aspect ratios that are available in Diptic as an add-on. PicFrame only has the popular square format, as well as 3:2, 4:3 or 3:4 fixed aspect ratios.

Unlike Diptic which allows you to import images seamlessly from Facebook or Flickr, PicFrame only imports from the iPhone’s photo library. Probably not an issue for most users, but it is a significant difference between the two apps.

PicFrame saves your images in one of several out sizes and supports either 1200×1200 pixels or 2400×2400 pixels output on an iPhone 4. Diptic renders larger files, but overall PicFrame is faster.

It’s tough to recommend one over the other. Both Diptic and PicFrame are very good apps. There are plenty of similarites but also many differences between the two. It basically comes down to what features do you need more. They’re both great apps for creating multi-panel photos. In the end, for an extra dollar and one more app on your home screen, you might just find that both work great for you. Of course, Diptic is probably nearing an update soon, so this could get interesting.

PicFrame is $0.99 in the App Store. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2.2 or later.

PicFrame - ActiveDevelopment




About Marty Yawnick 1808 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Matthias

    Hi, thank you for all the informative reviews!

    Question: Do you have any experience how the two apps mentioned above compare with Photoshake? http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photoshake/id38910

    Wondering, whether it´s worth switching or just the same in black …


    • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

      Hi, Matthias,

      Photoshake saves at very low resolutions. (Correction: Actually, it doesn’t. I found the settings where this can be changed. =M=) Images created with Photoshake aren’t good for much more than sharing on the basest of image sharing sites — Facebook, Instagram, and sites that are optimized for viewing on a mobile device. PicFrame has much easier controls for placement of your images- you place your images, the app doesn’t place them for you. No irritating shaking involved in rendering.

      PicFrame and Diptic lack the movable borders that PhotoShake! has. They also lack comic talk balloons. But both are more powerful and much less frustrating to use.


      • Matthias

        Hi Marty,

        thank you – now I know I will give them a try …


        • Matthias

          Have to correct myselve : Just checked the size of PhotShake! output – in 300dpi it´s still big enough for postcard sized prints. As I can just ignore the shaking and do the positioning as well as sizing manually, the movable borders make the biggest difference, so I guess PhotShake! will do for me – Bigger layouts remain in InDesign – not on my Iphone 😉

          But thanks anyway!

          • http://lifeinlofi.com lifeinlofiblog

            Hi, Matthias,

            You're right. The app defaults to 640×640 pixels, but it will save as high as 2048×2048. It took me a while to find the settings where this can be changed.


  • http://ipod-app-reviews.com Sarey Carey

    Great article I learned a lot from it, I hope I can write as well as you someday :)

  • http://twitter.com/morisbal @morisbal

    My favorite photo app is camera++ love frames

  • http://twitter.com/morisbal @morisbal

    My favorite photo app is camera++ love frames

  • abbas jack

    photos to albums is my favorite photo app