Skip to Content

Can you make a black and white photo color on iphone?

Black and white photos can have a timeless and artistic quality to them. However, there may be occasions where you wish to add color back into a black and white photo, such as an old family photo. With the right apps and techniques, it is possible to add color back into black and white photos directly on your iPhone.

Using ColorSplash

One of the easiest ways to add color back into a black and white photo on iPhone is to use the ColorSplash app. Here is how to use ColorSplash:

  1. Open the ColorSplash app on your iPhone and select the photo you want to edit from your camera roll.
  2. Zoom in on the part of the photo you want to add color to. Use the brush to paint over the area.
  3. Choose a color from the color palette and paint in the selected area.
  4. Continue using the brush to add color to other parts of the photo as desired.
  5. Adjust the brightness and saturation of the colored areas.
  6. When finished, save or share your colorized photo.

ColorSplash makes it quick and easy to selectively add color back into a black and white image. You can precisely control which elements get color and which stay black and white. The color palette gives you a wide range of color options.

Trying Snapseed

The Snapseed app by Google also includes tools for adding color to a black and white photo. Here is the process:

  1. Import your black and white photo into the Snapseed app.
  2. Tap on ‘Tools’ and select ‘Brush’.
  3. Choose a color to brush with and paint over the areas you want to add color to.
  4. Tap the check mark when finished applying the brush.
  5. You can then adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation to get the color looking how you want.
  6. Tap the export button to save your colorized photo from Snapseed.

While not as specialized for selective color as ColorSplash, Snapseed’s brush tool provides an easy way to add color to specific elements in an otherwise black and white photo.

Using the Photo Editing Tools in Photos App

The built-in Photos app on iPhone also includes some basic photo editing tools that allow you to add color to black and white photos:

  1. Open the photo in the Photos app and tap ‘Edit’.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner to access the additional editing tools.
  3. Tap ‘Filters’ and browse the available filters. Some filters like ‘Vivid’, ‘Chrome’ and ‘Instant’ will add color.
  4. Adjust the intensity of the filter effect.
  5. Tap ‘Done’ to apply the edits to your photo.

While you don’t have as much control as specialized apps, the editing tools in the Photos app provide a quick way to add color effects to a black and white photo directly on your iPhone.

Using an Online Colorization Service

There are also online AI services that can automatically add color back into black and white photos. Two options to check out:

  • ColouriseSG – This free service developed by researchers in Singapore uses AI to automatically add color to black and white images. Just upload your photo and let their algorithm determine appropriate colors.
  • DeOldify – An open source deep learning project that can add color to black and white images. They offer a free demo on their website where you can upload a photo to colorize.

The results from full automated colorization services can be hit or miss. It works better on some photos than others. But it can be a quick and hands-off way to get an initial colorized version of a black and white photo.

Tips for Best Results

Here are some tips to get the best results when adding color back into black and white photos on your iPhone:

  • The original lighting and contrast of the black and white photo will impact the realism of added colors. Photos with strong lighting and shadows tend to look more natural.
  • Zoom in close when using a brush tool to precisely control where color is applied.
  • Try to match colors to what would realistically be in the photo based on the content.
  • Adjust brightness, saturation, and contrast to make the color blend in naturally.
  • Faded vintage photos can be more challenging to colorize realistically.
  • For group photos, make sure skin tones are realistic.
  • Save edits as you go in case you need to revert back or start over.

Taking the time to selectively add color and getting the hues realistic is key to making converted black and white photos look natural. It often works best to only add color to one or two key elements and leave the rest black and white.

Comparison of Key iPhone Apps

Here is a comparison of some of the top apps for adding color to black and white photos on iPhone:

App Key Features Ease of Use Price
ColorSplash Specialized selective color brush, wide color palette, intuitive controls Easy $1.99
Snapseed Brush and filter tools, tuning options for color effects added Moderate Free
Photos App Built-in filters, easy basic editing Easy Free


In conclusion, there are a variety of effective apps and techniques you can use to add color back into black and white photos directly on your iPhone. Selective color brush tools provide the most control for realistic results. But even the built-in filters can produce interesting effects. With a quality black and white photo to start with, you can bring new life to old photos by adding color right from your iPhone.