Rotate, skew and crop photos on iPhone


Fix Your Perspective
Straighten out images that were taken slightly askew.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you’re traveling this summer, there’s a neat editing trick to get spectacular shots of landmarks or murals.

With advanced editing tools in the Photos app, you can make adjustments you might not have thought were possible. Fix the perspective or angle a picture was taken, correct the fisheye distortion on an ultra-wide photo and more.

You can also precisely rotate and skew perspective on photos from your iPhone, for those times when you don’t realize until it’s too late that your shot is slightly to the side or slightly askew. You can fix it all directly in the Photos app.

How to skew, adjust perspective and rotate photos on iPhone

I try to take pictures of paintings on walls or food laid out on a table straight-on, but it’s not easy getting it perfect. Luckily, you can adjust the perspective of an image after the fact.

Adjusting the horizontal perspective on an image of a mural
Finally, a clean image of chickens with human legs.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Consider this image of a mural in a tight hallway. I didn’t have room to get a square shot of it. Tapping the horizontal adjust button, I can use the slider to change the perspective of the image as if I were standing directly in front of it.

Adjusting vertical perspective on an image of an Italian cathedral
Reduce the perspective distortion on a tall building.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The vertical adjust can work wonders on tall buildings shot from the ground. Take this image of the Duomo di Firenze, shot with the 0.5× lens. Using the maximum amount of correction on the image reduces much of the fish-eye distortion.

There wasn’t enough room in the plaza to capture the whole building with the 1× lens, but with the perspective adjust, it looks good.

Adjusting an off-center shot of The Birth of Venus to be perfectly centered
Edit your off-center pictures to be perfectly aligned.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

As one last example, you can combine all three tools — rotate, horizontal and vertical adjust — to fix pictures like these. In a big crowded room in a museum, you can rarely get a great shot. The image on the left is the best I could do, holding my phone way above my head.

But with some careful editing, the image on the right looks like I had all day to set up a tripod perfectly centered in front of the image. And since I shot it in ProRAW, it’s pretty good resolution even after all those edits.

Rotate pictures on iPhone

Rotate image by full 90°
Sometimes when you take a picture straight down, it doesn’t get the orientation correct.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Tap Edit and tap the crop/rotate tool in the bottom right. Tap the Rotate button in the top-left — that’ll spin it by a full 90°.

Adjust an image by a few degrees.
Freely rotate an image by just a few degrees.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you only want to correct it a little bit, slide your finger along the level at the bottom. It will both rotate the image and crop it inwards, so the corners will still look perfect.

Tap Done to save your changes.

Crop to preset aspect ratios

If you just need to crop in an image, you don’t need to touch any of the advanced tools — just grab the edge of the image and drag it inwards, or pinch to zoom in on the image.

Cropping a vertical image of a dog to horizontal 16:9
Crop your pictures to the right ratio for wallpapers, print pictures and more.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

However, if you need to make the image perfectly square, or crop it to 16:9 or any other preset, tap the aspect ratio button in the top right. Switch between vertical and horizontal, scroll through the list of presets and pick one. The Wallpaper preset will make sure it’s the correct aspect ratio for your Lock Screen / Home Screen, no matter what iPhone you have.

A bunch of handy tools for your photos

The Photos app is full of tricks and hidden features:


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.