How to edit ProRAW photos on your iPhone

Apple’s ProRAW camera feature is a powerful tool to have in your back pocket. An image taken in ProRAW mode combines the same great post-processing flexibility of a traditional RAW file with the benefits of multi-frame computational photography. Kind of the best of both worlds! But once you’ve gone through the steps to enable it on your iPhone and have taken your photo, that’s when the real work starts: processing and converting it to a shareable format like JPEG, PNG, or HEIF.

ProRAW files are saved in Adobe’s ubiquitous DNG format, which is compatible with virtually every RAW photo editing app under the sun. That means you have a lot of options, including just sending the file to a computer and using desktop software. But you don’t need access to a computer — you can process your image right on your phone, either using a third-party app or Apple’s own editing tools. Here’s how to go about it. (I followed these steps on an iPhone 14 Pro running iOS 16.3.1.)

You don’t need to download a separate app to edit ProRAW DNG files — Apple’s own Photos app will do the job. A third-party app will give you a lot more control, but for quick and basic functions like boosting exposure, Apple’s app is just fine.

Once you’ve made edits to your RAW file, you can use the Photos app’s sharing functions to export a JPEG version of your image. You can email it, post it to Instagram, or put it on your digital picture frame — it’s your choice.

So what if you want to export the original RAW image? That’s a little tricky. Once you’ve made edits in the Photos app, you can’t easily share the original DNG file. The only exception is if you’re AirDropping your image to a Mac. If that’s the case, there’s a way to send both the original file and a JPEG with your edits. Here’s how:

If you aren’t AirDropping to a Mac and you want to save your DNG file somewhere else, you’ll have to make a copy of your edited RAW and revert changes.

If you want a PNG or HEIF of your image rather than a JPEG, you need to follow a couple of extra steps. You can either directly convert an unedited DNG or make your edits in Apple Photos first and then convert the resulting JPEG to a PNG or HEIF — not ideal if you want to minimize compression, but it works. Here’s what to do:

If you have a photo-editing app that you’d prefer to use instead of Photos, that’s not a problem. You can start by either opening the Apple Photos app or by opening the photo editing app you want to use.

If you start in Photos, do the following:

If you prefer to start with your photo editing app of choice, just follow that app’s procedure for importing a new image. For example, in Snapseed — my favorite free editor — that’s just a matter of opening the app, tapping the plus icon and choosing Open from Device.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo

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