Edit and share photos with Aviary for iPhone or Android
If you've given Instagram the boot, perhaps Aviary will be your next enclosure for filtering and sharing photos.
Matt ElliottSenior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
After launching the app and granting it access to your Camera Roll, you'll see a swipeable band of your photos in the middle of the screen. In the top corners are setting and sharing buttons. Along the bottom are three buttons: Camera, Edit this Photo, and Albums.
After snapping a shot or grabbing one from your Camera Roll or an album, you get to the meat of Aviary with the edit tools (which you can access by tapping the Edit this Photo button or a photo itself). Unlike Instagram, there is more to the app than simple filters. Aviary offers photo filters under the Effects button, but that is just one of 16 editing tools you have at your disposal. And in addition to the 12 filters you get with the app, you can install 12 more for free, and there are four other packs available as in-app purchases at 99 cents per. Each includes six filters.
In addition to the filters or Effects, the other editing tool that lets you drastically alter the look of your photo with the tap of a button is the Enhance tool. It provides four options -- Auto, Night, Backlit, and Balance -- to improve or change the look of your photo. You can tap each of these Enhance tools to toggle the effect of each on and off. There are also two buttons -- Orientation and Crop -- that allow you to adjust the layout. And for Aviary users coping with the loss of Instagram, perhaps you'll take solace in the fact that Aviary features a Square preset in its Crop tool.
There are other tools that provide more fine-tune control over edits: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness. Then there are three tools for removing unwanted elements: Redeye, Whiten, and Blemish.
Finally, there are four buttons that allow you to add a bit of whimsy to your photos: Stickers (mustaches, sunglasses, silly hats, and the like), Draw, Text, and Meme. Aviary starts you off with a handful of stickers and sells a few additional packs via in-app purchase. What I didn't find was anything akin to Instagram's tilt-shift tool.
Once you are satisfied with your edits, tap Done in the upper-right corner and you'll be taken to a Sharing screen where you can add a comment to your photo and share it on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or Tumblr. If you hit Finish without any sharing options, your edited photo will just be saved to your Camera Roll.
In Settings you can change the order of how the edit tools are displayed, putting your favorites up front, for instance, or grouping similar tools. You can also set a Max Save Size: Normal (up to 3 megapixels), Large (up to 5 megapixels), or Maximum (up to 12 megapixels). Lastly, you can turn off sharing options, which cuts out the sharing screen so that when you hit Done after editing a photo, it gets saved to your Camera Roll and that's that.