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Painted face on tablet
Marta Nardini—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Sure, your iPhone can send texts, make calls and get the weather. But it can also help you realize your artistic ambitions, too. How? Check out these five apps, all recently highlighted by Apple as ways to be more creative using just your iPhone or iPad.


Procreate can turn your iPad into a professional-grade tablet for illustration. Not only is the app hundreds of dollars cheaper than comparable software, but it allows you to draw using a stylus or your hand and export your work into a variety of formats. Procreate lets you edit multiple layers at once, use a series of professional illustrator’s tools, and tinker around with scores of customizable brushes. Procreate isn’t merely a doodling app; it’s for creating something remarkable.

Procreate is available for $5.99 in the App Store.


VSCO is one of the few ways to take full advantage of the newest iPhones’ advanced camera settings. Not only does it help you take photographs, but it also allows you to edit them with a wide range of vintage-style filters, making VSCO Cam a double-threat in mobile photography. Toy around with a series of presets, but also learn what makes a better photograph by comparing edited versions of your photos to the original shot. At best, VSCO Cam will help you take ambitious and gorgeous photographs, and, at the very least, will get you a ton of Instagram likes.

VSCO Cam is free in the App Store.


Apple’s iMovie software realized its true potential when the company moved to Intel processors about ten years ago. For the first time, users could actually make professional-quality movies using just their iMac. The iMovie app has since been adapted for your iPhone and iPad, which means you can take your mobile videos and edit them with the software’s hallmark simplicity and efficiency. Your movies will be almost as mind-boggling as the ease with which they were created.

iMovie is available for $4.99 in the App Store.

Slow Shutter!

Slow Shutter! taps into iOS 8’s expanded manual photography controls, allowing iPhone photographers to snap photos while manually operating the shutter speed in order to create longer exposure photographs. Think of it as Picasso painting with light, except now you can use your iPhone.

Slow Shutter! is available for $1.99 in the App Store.

Brushes 3

Like Procreate, Brushes 3 is a very powerful mobile sketching app. Perhaps a bit more like drawing by hand than digital illustration, Brushes 3 is a hugely customizable app that allows users to pinpoint their style preferences and use the tools that work best for them. Moreover, it can also be used on the iPhone, which brings an added dimension to this advanced creativity app–this level of detail is usually reserved for the iPad’s larger screens.

Brushes 3 is free in the App Store.

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