Adobe Illustrator Draw: Best free iOS drawing app
This app from creative giants Adobe is all about drawing with vectors. This means however far you zoom in, your artwork remains pin-sharp. Given that Illustrator Draw is a freebie, you get a surprising pile of powerful features: layers; shapes to draw around; perspective grids. You can trace over imported photos, use a finger or a stylus, and bask in your amazing artistic prowess when things go particularly well. The snag: only Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers get high-resolution export, but then what do you expect for no outlay at all?
Brushes Redux: Best free iOS painting app
The original Brushes was the app that finally convinced a lot of people the iPhone could be suitable for work rather than just play. Jorge Colombo used it to paint a New Yorker cover, and David Hockney also became a fan. The app sadly keeled over (boo!) but became open source (hurray) and now Brushes Redux brings the app to modern devices. It’s still simple and usable but also powerful, and boasts one of the best super-fast brush creation tools you’re ever likely to see.
Clarity: best free iPhone wallpaper app
On launch, this app was resolutely focussed on helping you make sleek, minimal wallpapers. Welding a scrolling ‘magazine’ of backgrounds has eroded some of this, uh, clarity; even so, it’s a good bet for iPhone wallpapers.
For free, you can create blurs and masks based on your own photos, or choose from a selection of gradients. Whatever you pick can be tested against a Home screen preview, to make sure it doesn’t offend your eyes.
Lob IAP the dev’s way and you open up more editing and download options; but even for free, you won’t find anything better for snazzing up Home and Lock screens – and in a manner even Mr Ive would probably approve of.
PicsArt Animator: Best free iOS app for animators
Much like our former favourite Animatic, PicsArt Animator is an app that makes it easy to get into animation. It’s a virtual flip-book of sorts, with onion-skinning smarts: you draw each frame, and see previous ones beneath in faded form. This ensures smooth transitions in your miniature movie, rather than something resembling an explosion in a fly factory.
But delve into the menus and PicsArt takes things further, with varied brushes, a layers system, and the ability to import a photo and scribble all over it. Want to Roobarb and Custard your own face? Now’s your chance.
Clips: best free iOS video editor
Unlike Apple’s own iMovie, Clips doesn’t want to be a full-fledged video editor. Instead, it’s about capturing moments, and doing something interesting with them.
Recorded shots can be slathered in filters and stickers, have live titles applied, and be set alongside editable ‘posters’ that sort of work like title cards. And if you’ve an iPhone X, Selfie Scenes can transport you to an immersive neon cityscape, fine-art landscape, or Star Wars spaceships. Really good app, it is.