Tech

Photo App of the Week: Aviary Photo Editor for iOS and Android

Another week, another photo editor, but Aviary has some redeeming qualities.

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Like sand through the hourglass, each week brings another photo editor to the mobile app stores. This time, it's Photo Editor by Aviary (we'll just call it Aviary) for [iOS](http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photo-editor-by-aviary/id527445936?mt=8) and [Android](https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aviary.android.feather&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDEsImNvbS5hdmlhcnkuYW5kcm9pZC5mZWF0aGVyIl0). At the time of writing, Aviary is the second-most popular free photo app in the Apple App Store, a spot that seems to shuffle around every few weeks while Instagram holds strong at the top. (It isn't as popular on Google Play, though the user rating is excellent.) Does Aviary do anything that we haven't seen hundreds of times before? #### What It Gets Right Most apps try to control the entire photographic process, from image capture to editing to sharing. That's great when it works well, but the whole experience stinks if one part is half-baked. Aviary focuses on editing shots already in your camera roll. Traditional fixes like auto-enhance, contrast, and saturation are simple and effective. The real highlights are the cartoon stickers; fake beards and sombreros are the height of comedy, of course.
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What It Gets Wrong

Instagram-style filters are wickedly popular, but Aviary only has a handful included with the app (the rest are available in packs of 12 for download). There's also no way to share photos directly from the app—not even email or Facebook uploads.

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Worth A Download?

There are thousands of photo editors across both of the major app stores. They don't all need to reinvent the wheel, and it's easy to find an audience when you aim for the middle and sell the app up for free. Along those lines, Aviary basically succeeds because of how clean, straightforward, unimposing, and free it is.

It's mostly interesting because we might see this same editor pop up in other apps. Aviary's source code is open to other developers who want to include it in their 3rd party web and mobile apps. As one part of a more fully developed system, it could be a great tool.

But should you download the baseline version of Aviary? Well, if silly hats and glasses give you the giggles, have at it—we've all bought apps for dumber reasons than that, and it's best not to think about these decisions too much.