photoforge, kitcam, old apps broken

This is a post about old photo apps. Some of them break right away, while some of them keep chugging along for years.

Remember PhotoForge? It’s been lingering for a couple of years, ever since Yahoo! acquired Ghostbird Software and pulled the plug on Photoforge 2 and KitCam, but the combination of iOS 9 and the larger screens of the new iPhones have finally proven to be too much for one of my all-time favorite photo editors.

Although the app was end-of-lifed in June 2013, it still worked in the subsequent iOS and hardware updates until now. iOS 9 and the new iPhones with their larger screens finally break PhotoForge 2. The app will open but once inside, none of the tools work.

PhotoForge 2 was one of the very first photo editors for iPhone and a favorite editor among iPhoneographers and for years wore the mantle of “Photoshop for the iPhone.” It was a great editor with one of the most broad tool sets available on iPhone. Even in its last iteration, it was still a formidable and useful photo app. Although its interface was very much iOS, it was really easy for old geezer desktop Photoshop people like myself to find our way around and get some serious work done in the app.

Although I tried to wean myself from PF2 over the years knowing that this day would come, there were still adjustments that I could get done faster or better in the app. No single photo editor has replaced PF2 for me. For a while, Adobe Photoshop Touch was my go-to photo editor, but that’s been end-of-lifed as well. Currently, I use Snapseed, Photogene, and Filterstorm apps. Each has its strengths.

PhotoForge 2 survived three major iOS updates and three hardware refreshes since being end-of-lifed. If you’re still using one of the smaller screen iPhones, such as a 5S or older, PhotoForge still works, but it looks like a time when the iOS breaks it are sooner rather than later.

Its sibling app, the also-excellent KitCam, is now very broken on any iOS 9 device, regardless of hardware. The app simply crashes and shuts down whenever you try to take a picture.

Very few developers make a good return in the iOS App Store. This means that there are an increasing number of end-of-lifed apps as many of these one-person shops can no longer justifying the investment in time for little return. As the hardware requirements to run the apps change and the OS wants to do things that the old software simply can’t, we’ll start to see more and more old photo apps break like this.

Save Your Photos Before Updating

The bottom line is to check some of your old favorites after updating. They may no longer work. If they have their own built-in galleries, you may want to think of saving those images to your camera roll before updating just to be safe.

A sad goodbye to two old faves.