Move, clone, and remove objects with Handy Photo

Available for iOS and Android, Handy Photo boasts the usual allotment of photo-editing tools plus a handful of unique features that let you remove, clone, and move objects in your photos.

Matt Elliott Senior 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.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
4 min read

There is a seemingly endless parade of photo-editing apps for iOS and for Android. Helping Handy Photo stand out from the crowd is a handful of tools that lets you remove, clone, and move objects in your photos, along with a reverse cropping feature that lets you extend the edges of your photos. For all of its tricks, Handy Photo costs a reasonable $1.99 and is available for iOS and for Android.

For iOS, Handy Photo is a universal app designed for the iPhone and iPad. Because of the variety of tools it affords, I tried it out on an iPad and its larger screen.

When you first launch the app, you'll see see three buttons to access your photo gallery, snap a shot with the app, or watch any of Handy Photo's helpful tutorial videos.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After you snap or load a photo, Handy Photo's main menu is accessible in the upper-right corner. Tap on the button and a dial appears that you can use to scroll through the various edit tools. You'll see standard tools such as Tone & Color, Filter, Textures, and Frames. These four tools are fairly straightforward, so let's spend our time together going over the other four: Magic Crop, Retouch, Clone Stamp, and Move Me.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With Magic Crop, you can "uncrop" a photo. That is, you can extend the frame beyond the borders of a photo, and Handy Photo will fill in the space outside the frame to match what is inside the frame. In testing, I found that Magic Crop isn't perfect but it's close; the developer recommends you use this tool on photos with natural landscapes and uniform or repeated backgrounds to get the best results. To use Magic Crop, select the tool from the upper-right menu and then you can either drag an edge to reposition it, or you can drag from inside the frame to drag the entire image. Using the Magic Crop menu in the lower-left corner, you can change the photo's orientation and rotate it.

The Retouch tool undersells itself. This isn't a tool to erase blemishes or redeye; this is a tool that removes entire objects from your photo. It's your weapon against photobombs. To use it, select the tool from the upper-right menu and then choose either the lasso or brush tool to highlight the object you want to remove. With the brush tool selected, a menu slides out from the right side, offering a button to adjust your brush radius. After you have selected the area to remove, simple tap the photo and -- poof! -- the object is gone. Again, you'll need to experiment to get the best results. You can pinch to zoom, for example, to make fine adjustments.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

I doubt you'll have the need to use the Clone Stamp tool all that much, but it's a fun one. Select the tool from the upper-right menu and then choose either of the two stamp buttons in the lower-left menu: Classic or Pattern Clone Stamp. Classic is used to clone an entire object, while Pattern lets you paint a pattern of a small area selected. By far, the Classic Clone Stamp is the more useful tool. With it, you place the source pointer on the object you want to clone and then choose where you want it to be cloned and start drawing by swiping your finger. You can use the eraser tool to clean up the edges, and you can adjust the radius and smoothness of the clone tool from the menu on the right edge.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With the Move Me tool, you can move or copy objects in your photo or move an object to another photo. Like the Retouch tool, you can select an object with a lasso or brush tool. After you have your selected area (highlighted in red), the Move Me tool has a useful button on the right edge to optimize the selection. That is, it shrinks the highlighted area to the edges of your object. Below this button are two buttons, one to move the object and one to copy it. The object is saved in a new layer, and you can then drag it to a different spot in your photo.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After your object is saved in a new layer with the Move Me tool, new buttons populate the menu on the right edge. You can use these buttons to duplicate the layer, merge the layer to the photo, or move the object to another photo.

In the upper-left corner of Handy Photo is a static menu with a button to see a timeline of changes that you can return to and button you can tap and hold to see the original photo, and undo and redo buttons. To save a photo, open the menu in the upper-right corner and choose save.