Review: TouchRetouch App for removing unwanted objects

I stumbled upon TouchRetouch a few years ago when I looked for a way to remove unwanted objects and even people from photos on iPhone or iPad. The app is available for both devices, iPhone and iPad, and there‘s also a version for Macs! Since then, I‘ve tried other retouching apps, but this app is still one of the few iPhone photo editing apps I use regularly. Here are some before and after photos for which I used TouchRetouch to remove objects and people.

Look closely to find all the people and objects I've removed:

What sets TouchRetouch apart from many other apps is the really extensive toolset for retouching. It has:

  • A healing brush for removal of big objects
  • A quick repair tool for all those small objects
  • A clone stamp with different mirroring modes
  • A dedicated line removal tool that saves a lot of time removing e.g., powerlines, which usually requires a lot of fiddling
If you're interested in learning retouching your photos with TouchRetouch in a 90 minute live training session - now you can. I'm offering classes and trainings for this app.

Tell me more about the TouchRetouch Classes

Further, TouchRetouch can be launched as a photo editing extension right from the iOS photos app, and it supports saving the retouched photo as a version over the original; meaning, you can always go back to original. This basically is a non-destructive workflow.

TouchRetouch User Interface

The user interface is very well organized and really simple. Depending on if you launch Touch Retouch as a photo extension or as an app from the launcher, you'll see a different start screen.

  • If you launch the app from the photos extension, the app will open and load the photo right away
  • If you launch the app directly, you'll see a start screen with a big button labeled Albums. Tap it to open a photo selection and chose a photo for editing.

Once you've loaded a photo for retouching, you'll see the different tools in the bottom toolbar.

TouchRetouch user interface bottom toolbar

TouchRetouch user interface bottom toolbar

Tap on any of the tools to apply it and change settings for the tool you‘re about to use.

TouchRetouch user interface top toolbar

TouchRetouch user interface top toolbar

At the top are two buttons to undo or redo the last actions plus you can compare the retouched version with the original and save or share it back to photos app or to any other app.

If you launch TouchRetouch directly as an app, you‘ll also see the latest edits in the upper right corner so you can continue from where you left. Quite convenient.

To open TouchRetouch right from the photos app directly into editing mode:

  1. Select any photo from the photos app
  2. In the photos app, tap edit in the upper right corner
  3. Tap the button with the three dots in a circle in the lower toolbar
  4. Select Retouch

If TouchRetouch does not show up in the list, check if it‘s enabled:

  1. In the photo extension list, swipe to the left until you reach the end of the list.
  2. Tap the icon with the three dots
  3. Check if touch retouch is enabled and if not, enable it.

Healing Brushes in TouchRetouch

I wrote Brushes in the headline because TouchRetouch offers two different healing brushes. The first one is called Object Removal and the second one is Quick Repair. Those two are the first two options in the lower toolbar, and they‘re shown once you open a photo.

The difference between the two is that the object removal tool is intended for the removal of significant objects, the quick repair tool should be used for small objects.

However, I couldn‘t find any exact definition of what is defined as a „big“ and what as a „small“ object. So I came up with my own interpretation of that. I use the object removal tool for anything bigger than a quarter of the screen and the quick repair tool for the rest.

The two tools also differ in how you select the object that you want to remove. The object removal tool offers a brush and a lasso plus an eraser to fine-tune the selection. The quick repair tool, on the other hand, offers only a brush and a blemish remover.

For both tools, you can adjust the brush size.

A charming idea is, that once you start selecting an object you want to remove with the brush, you‘ll get a zoomed in version at the top of the screen for better and more accurate selection.

Line Removal Tool in TouchRetouch

I‘m quite a big fan of this tool! It allows you to quickly remove lines, like powerlines or even ropes from a photo. This saves quite some time, especially when you remove a powerline that‘s running across and in front of a building.

However, once you remove a powerline with this tool, just double-check for unwanted artifacts. It happens now and then but those can be fixed quickly with the clone stamp.

Clone Stamp in TouchRetouch

The clone stamp does, what the name suggests. It enables you to clone an area and basically paint over an object with pixels from another part of the image.

A really cool feature of the clone stamp is that you can set the mirroring effect. With this setting, you basically define how the selection of the original pixels follows, well actually, mirrors, your painting. Either horizontally, vertically or even diagonal.

This makes it really easy to clone areas of your photos.


I‘m keeping TouchRetouch in my small arsenal of iPhone photo editing apps that I regularly use for a reason. It does one job, and it does it exceptionally well. It‘s a must-have app for retouching photos on an iPhone or iPad.

No other app I‘ve come across offers this range and fine-tuning of retouching tools.

You can get TouchRetouch for iPhone and iPad from the App Store, and there‘s even a version of TouchRetouch for Mac (I haven‘t used the Mac version, as I‘m shooting and editing my photos exclusively on iPhone and iPad).

And now, let‘s retouch some awesome iPhone photos together.

If you're interested in learning retouching your photos with TouchRetouch in a 90 minute live training session - now you can. I'm offering classes and trainings for this app.

Tell me more about the TouchRetouch Classes

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