Cool Link: Why doesn’t every iOS photo app support high-resolution output?

low res iphone apps

One of my biggest soapboxes throughout the years here on Life In LoFi has been to raise awareness of low-res apps and how most of the time these apps do not do iPhoneographers a favor. Over the years, I’ve softened my position as there are many mobile photographers who only share to Facebook and Instagram and they really don’t want or need higher resolution photos.

I’m not one of them and still prefer full res, native res, and high res photo apps. I’ve preached about it here before from the perspective of an angry user. Here’s a great post by John Balestrieri from a developer’s standpoint about why some photo apps do and some apps don’t support high-res output. >>>

John Balestrieri is the developer of the popular Percolator and Popsicolor apps. This is a pretty straightforward and thorough look at the problems some app developers face and that some choose to ignore.

John writes:

As a user of photo apps, I think native resolution is great to have but full resolution support is even better.

As an photo app developer, I know that it’s sometimes hard to support even native resolution, so we pick a resolution we think is reasonable based on “how we think people will want to use the image” and support that. Then the App Store reviews start rolling in…

It’s a great, extensive read that covers camera hardware limitations, device memory, and even developer experience and ignorance.

This post first appeared as a forum post on The iPhoneography Blog and Life In LoFi’s He’s also shared a copy on his own site, for periodic updating. Click here to read the updated entire post,Why doesn’t every iOS photo app support high-resolution output? by John Balestrieri on


Life In LoFi keeps a list of iPhone photo apps and their resolutions. Check our iPhone Photo App Compatibility page before you buy a new photo app.


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  • toastist

    Which app is pictured above, to find out the resolution of the photo?


  • toastist

    Thanks, I will check this out!

  • Egmont van Dyck

    This is my soapbox too! Only I even go further.

    First problem I have is deception by several app developers who claim full resolution but do not state what size it is. So when you buy the app or upgrade to pro, only to find out it saves full resolution for iPhone3, you feel cheated and worst betrayed.

    My biggest problem and concern is that application developers of post production apps are sitting on their hands. With 645 and MPro allowing users to shot and save TIF images, post production app developers still use JPG compression to save ones work.

    I get criticized for editing my work in PhotoShop simple because I am trying to preserve the digital data and so cannot enter any iPhoneography shows.

    Having curated the Weekly Showcase, I saw plenty of degraded mobile images because of the over use of applications on an image, but also in part due to the apps low resolution output.

    I certainly understand a mobile device is technically limited and not a desktop computer, but mobile photographers need to start demanding standards that are adhered too by app developers, especially as mobile photography is trying very hard to be excepted as a new medium by the fine art market.

    To assume that only ‘PRO’ photographers would want this, is a foolish attitude. I hear plenty of complaints from the average users who do not understand why their images look pixelated or just look bad when printed, it is in many parts due to their lack of being informed.

    I could go on and on but I will close with the hope that this year, 2013, app developers will get together and agree on some industry standards and even begin to offer the capability to save mobile post production edits in TiIF, as well as offering application geared more towards improving photography and less of all the useless cosmetic special effects that do nothing to further photography.