Imageviewer MAC, iPad, iPhone (no RAW converter or editer)


I will change my computer from PC to MAC in February. My PC is like 9-10 years old and I will replace it by a MacBook Pro M2 (2023) 14´´ with 32GB RAM.

Pictures that I have made with my camera (Canon EOS R series) will be edited / converted on that MacBook (just as on my PC now). I use DxO PL (currently 4 and will then buy 6) and NK 4 (again, 6 is the one I will buy).

I store all photos on external SSD and only work from there. If I want images on my iPhone, iPad, I sync the jpeg (converted from RAW) using the Apple iCloud for WIN to upload the images to my account and then they pop up on my devices (where I then store them in albums).

But I do not really like the photo app that is on the devices. Sorting the pictures is hardly possible, especially if I mix those album photos with photos made with my iPhone.

Is there any meaningful app that you can recommend that runs on each device (MAC, iPad, iPhone) that is a bit more useful than the standard photo app? I do not need editing or converting, it is solely intended to use as an image viewer / organizer. I do not tag or so, it is mainly about sorting the images (e.g., by meta data or by date made or edited). It should synchronize so that the images are on all devices at the same time. By intention I have my photos on SSD and not in the cloud or so, so that viewing images only is needed at my end for viewing selected images (uploaded after editing from my MAC). Volume is around 2´000 photos that I would like to view (I frequently clean those albums). Of course, on my MAC I like to view all images than that are on SSD (not sure how much, but quite an amount, like 200´000). But I do not want to index them all or import them into libraries that then take GB or TB on my local (MAC) drive. Currently I use ACDSee on my old PC for simple image viewing / sorting.

Happy to get some hints or experience from you what you use or how you view the images on your Apple devices.

Have a look at this:

Read the specs and see if it does what you want before engaging in the 30 day free trial.

On your Mac you can use ApolloOne for viewing (abo model but moderate price), or the FasRawViewer (one time purchase). Unfortunately both are not available on iOS. RawPower is available on MacOS and iOS, the app can be used as a viewer, but that is not the main purpuse - its a RAW developer. It is possible to filter the view in your mediathek, but it is not possible to access the fotos stored on your Mac (which includes external drives attached to your Mac).
For viewing fotos on my Mac with iPhone or iPad I use FileBrowser pro. You must give access to the storage volume with the fotos.
It is possible to use Apples Files app for thi connection too, but FileBrowser pro is much faster.
I assume you have a iPhone already, if yes you can have a look in the app store to find an app which fullfills your needs.

I switched from Windows to Mac 8 years ago, for me that was in terms of computer the best I ever made.

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I would recommend Lyn as a fast viewer for RAWs and standard images (15days free trail). But seeing your alias and your name, I reckon you’re at home in Germany or not very far away. Might be important: Lyn is an American app and the developers have not developed a feeling for European languages. Developers sometimes are a bit simple minded. Meaning: from all colour tags you set in your finder, Lyn will display only the orange ones (as it’s in both languages the name for that colour) as it apparently is only developed for OS set in English.

A much more powerful, yet slow in displaying huge amounts of pictures is GraphicConverter. It also has editing functions. If you like to be challenged with rather steep learning curves… as EXIF-editor, renamer, batch-processor and converter into each kind of weird file formats, it’s my first choice.

Oh, just saw:

So, forget that two apps, sorry, should have read your post better.

Well I’m going to say it. Then duck.

Lightroom (not Classic)

You’ve some space in your bunker @danielfrimley ? “Capture One”. Now I duck, especially since I have no clue what this C1 app is able to see.

I’m still waiting until one of the “PhotoMechanic” guys drops by.

You could have a look at XnViewMP.

It’s free, multi platform and has many useful features such as renaming files using templates (e.g. Exif ‘date and time taken’), changing timestamps (useful if you forget, when the clocks change), keywording, an optional database, editing tools, comparing up to four photos, …

It can view JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, WEBP, PSD, JPEG2000, OpenEXR, camera RAW, HEIC, PDF, DNG, CR2 image files.
It can also handle non image files including sidecar files such as .dop & .xmp

XnView as image browser only is not available on mobile devices on the various app/playstores. As an app it’s an effects collection.

That is true and (apologies) I had missed that you were looking for an app to use across your Apple devices. Unfortunately, I can not suggest an alternative. The same issue exists for me with Windows and Android but I am used to using different viewers on my PC and Phone/Tablet.

Regards and good luck with finding an alternative,
David McA

No no, it was not me looking for a multi-cross-over platform viewer. @Hummel was or is. To be honest, on my i-devices I don’t need a viewer for RAW pictures or one which is close to the one on my desktop Mac. Since one is touchscreen operated and the other mouse and keyboard, the look and especially feel would be too different for me.


What a quick and phantastic respone. Many thanks so far.

Luminar, Lightroom & co. are not my preferred option, as I do not want to create tons of GB on my main drive. DxO does not import all pix, that is what I love. And I think all the others do except maybe Lightroom Classic, if I am not wrong.

When I started to look I thought there are half a million solutions out there, and I was surprised that there aren’t. Like “Am I really the only one that intends to do this?”.

I keep on looking for a few days, but maybe I just start with the Apple photo app and see how it goes. I mean it is there and I can still replace it with something better. It is also very likely that I end up at the same place where I am today: DxO for RAW handling & editing, ACDSee for quicker image (jpeg) viewing on the MAC and using the Apple photo app for viewing it on iPhone & iPad. I might replace ACDSee with another viewer (although I am used to ACDSee 20+ years) and/or change to a different iOS solution too.

Do you have any recommendations for an iOS tool (I guess on cloud sync basis)? I would upload specific photos only (great if it would be on folder structure) and view it on iOS devices, hopefully full solution and not something reduced.

I suggest you first warm up with your new Mac in February. On Apple side, things are (still) different than you might be used to before switching from Windows to Mac OS. I also know other Win users trying to prepare as good as it gets (“which defragment tool do I need? which virus scanner? which better file management tool” (than stupid Explorer… :grin:)

I still recall my first encounter with Mac 25 years ago and trying hard to find things a user needs on Windows and are simply often unexpectedly easier on Mac.

As for your “one image browser for all devices” idea - Apple Photos works well within the Apple gadget world, whatever picture you snap with an iDevice can be seen via Photos on all other devices connected to your iCloud account. But there’s no iCanon, iSony, iNikon etc., so a bit of manual import work is necessary. I used to use Photo’s predecessor iPhoto even with RAW, then switched to Apple Aperture as the big competitor of Lightroom and in terms of image management my personal “state-of-the-art” instrument, haven’t used anything better until today. “Photos” as replacing app for iPhoto and Aperture simply sucks (only personal opinion, it all depends what you need and want).

I suggest you try some of our suggestions and use their trial period.

I use DxO to run DeepPrime and optical corrections on the raw photos and follow up by grouping/stacking the DNG with the CR3 in LR classic. I use LR classic to keep track of everything and also for the currently best-in-class mask generator.
I then export to jpeg and import them into to get them to sync into iCloud.

The big downside for organizing things in iCloud is that smart albums don’t sync. So I create a smart album on my desktop Mac, and copy/paste that selection into a dumb album. That dumb album does sync automatically across devices.

Once a month or so I use ‘export originals’ for photos made with my phone and import those into LR and tag them in as ‘in-Lightroom’ to keep track. That way I have all originals on an external SSD, which I backup daily.

Since Apple added the “shared library” feature, I like iCloud even more. It makes it very easy to share certain pictures with my wife and vice versa. I can get the originals from the shared library as well, no message or airdrop conversion to mess things up.

I haven’t found a 3rd party cloud solution that works as frictionless as icloud and doesn’t require a higher monthly subscription fee. I’m very interested in hearing what people use, since as we all know, the cloud is just someone else’s computer, which can and will go away.

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Thanks again! I think I will warm up first and then optimise what needs being optimised. Good idea not to overprepare.

And good to see that there isn’t something easy to find out there.

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As one of your requests was syncing the pictures to all devices, I‘d put Mylio high on your list. Nothing comes close to Mylio for syncing pictures to multiple devices.
The 2 majors downsides are: It is a subscription model. And although I requested it a thousand times it still doesn’t sync dop files along with the pictures.

I finally got the equipment and enjoy the new experience of the quick and silent MacBook. Til now I used PL6 and NK5 after one photo session and I am very happy with it. I also used the PL6 photo browser to view the photos.

I changed my plan and will go for a simple image viewer on the Mac to make the viewing comfortable. I will not use the Apple photo app to avoid syncing of the photos, but I will use that app for syncing where needed.

I have tested some viewers yet, but they weren’t really convincing. Best one so far was XnView MP, but the DxO photo browser still has a much better image quality as I think. As I need support for cr3 RAW and HEIC and I don’t want to import files to avoid large libraries, there aren’t that many viewers to chose from. I think I will test Apollo One next.

OK, I tested Apollo One and that is exactly the one I will go forward with. Great image display quality!

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I agree completely with you. Will you use the free or the abo version?

I will go for the standard version