There are quite a few photo apps for iPhone, but we've chosen Photos as the best option because Apple's pretty much made it impossible for any third party app to work as well. This is not to say it's bad, but that something else would likely take it's place if iOS provided a level playing field.
Platform: iPhone Price: Built-in/Free
- Sync photos with iTunes from iPhoto or via folders
- Easily share photos via email or MMS
- Print photos with AirPrint-compatible printers
- Make a photo your wallpaper
- Assign a photo to a contact in your address book
- View geotagged photos on a map of the world
- If using iPhoto, view photos organised by person using facial-recognition data
- Share photos wirelessly over AirPlay
- Watch your photos as a slideshow
For the most part, Photos is pretty solid. It's great for viewing your photos in all sorts of ways, as you can play slideshows on your phone and push them wirelessly to any AirPlay-compatible device. Photos also makes good use of metadata and will show geotagged photos on the map. Photos integrates well with many other iOS apps, making it possible to assign photos to contacts and set your wallpaper (for example). It's a pretty simple app and doesn't do a whole lot, but so long as you're just using it to view and share your photos it can handle the job pretty well.
The main problem with the built-in Photos app is that you can't organise them directly on your phone and, instead, have to rely on your computer to do the work. It would also be really nice to be able to easily open the images in another application. While this will never happen, a plug-in architecture to allow things like uploading images directly to Flickr/Picasa/some other photo sharing service would be great. Private albums, a few photo editing features for red-eye/cropping/enhancement, and the option for ordering prints (like in iPhoto) would be welcome as well (although some of these features are expected in iOS 5). Only being able to share five or fewer photos at a time is also pretty annoying. But the inability to organize is really the most major oversight, as many use their iDevice separately from their computer.
There isn't much applicable competition because there aren't really any apps that have direct, proper access to your photo library like Photos does. That said, here's a look at a few alternatives that make do with the APIs Apple provides.
Photo Manager Pro ($2.49) provides pretty much everything the built-in Photos app does while also adding the ability to organise directly on your phone. You can also view things like EXIF metadata for photos and create private albums (among other features). Like all apps, you need to import photos from your photo library rather than just having everything you sync available to you.
If you'd just like to sync everything wirelessly, try Photosync ($2.49). It supports all sorts of services like Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, Smugmug and FTP.
Personally, I just use Dropbox.
Lifehacker's App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories. This week, we're focusing on email clients.