Photolab for iPad (pro)

I’ve recently been dabbling into using an iPad for my photo editing needs. And to be honest, it feels super organic and right. The feel of using that pencil just on the photo itself is so good. But… the only viable option at the moment is using Lightroom. And Lightroom does not give me the same results as I get from Photolab.

So DXO, I know this would be a really big venture but please do consider developing an iOS version of photolab. Editing on the iPad is the future for a lot of photographers, I’m sure of that now.

An emphatic downvote from me here. An iPad has nothing like the power necessary to make PhotoLab level corrections to images in a responsive way. Not without a lot of re-engineering.

Until the Mac version of PhotoLab reacquires some fluidity with sliders on large images it would be madness to embark on a half-working iPad version. Windows too, but Mac version is what concerns me.

A proper colour tool also ranks well ahead of a half-featured and slow iPad app as well.

Yep, they definitely should try to fix the Mac version in regard to responsiveness and overall speed. But I do hope they will rather sooner than later start on an iPad version. Lightroom on the iPad is actually extremely responsive, even more so than the Mac version.
The latest iPad pro is extremely powerful and I think it has more than enough power for Photolab. I suppose they will need to re-engineer, probably even come up with a new workflow/interface idea. But it is worth it imho.

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The only iPad which could potentially run PhotoLab fluidly would be a top of the line iPad Pro. We shouldn’t confuse Adobe with DxO. The only barrier to Adobe adding an app or features is if they feel like it or not, there’s no financial barrier. They can hire a new building of people if they feel like it and not even feel the costs. Every extra project which DxO adds which does not substantially increase revenue compromises their ability to maintain the core project. If the core project does not get enough love (fortunately DxO is catching up with cameras and lenses), the core project will fall behind.

If PhotoLab yields the best images, maintains its very smooth workflow and becomes competitively fast DxO will flourish. There is a huge minority of photographers (more than enough to support PhotoLab) for whom the results – in an efficient and pleasant workflow – are the most important criteria for choosing RAW software. It’s those photographers DxO needs to reach.

Right now if I or anyone else goes out to promote PhotoLab on DPreview for instance, anyone can answer: “Yes it’s great but it’s really slow on A7R III images” or “The noise reduction is superb but the colour tools are really weak in comparison to C1” or “Sadly, it’s slow on Mac, C1 flies”. In fact, one current review chases PhotoLab for the out of date colour tools. There’s not much we can say in answer, except, yes, the noise tools are best of class and the design is really nice.

The hardcore Adobe fanatics – it’s Adobe! – won’t ever be won over. There’s a segment of people who just want what everyone else uses. They will only follow if DxO wins over most of the pro photography market.

It is not a priority today but for sure I would love to use Photolab on iPad one day when iOS evolves a bit more.
Those devices are already very powerful especially when the App is optimized and make use of the latest software technologies. Just look what kind of games already exists to see the power is at disposition for picture treatment.
Now if DxO has no interest or no ressources I will leave without it since I will keep my mac anyway

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There may be reasons to not port PhotoLab to iPad, but inadequate device performance is not one of them, even on the current low-end iPad. If DxO ever releases PhotoLab for iPad, I will buy it on the spot.

Having said that, DxO’s challenge over the next few years is not performance on huge RAWs or competition from Adobe, but rather challenges to its fundamental approach, like computational photography (where the image is made from algorithms run over many photos and exposure settings, and there is nothing resembling a RAW file to process), and AI-driven “make it awesome” processing that, even for very discerning and creative users, does in fact “make it awesome”.


Lol. Affinity Photo released a full blown solutions for the iPad. No concessions. Have been using this for a long while. Especially, the last generation iPads, are often faster than computers from several years ago.


Even as fast as “real” computers from today… Geekbench is definitely imperfect, but scores for A12X (iPad Air/iPad Pro) compared to a 2019 MacBook Pro 15" Core i9 or 2019 iMac i5/i9 are interesting, especially when you consider the iPads only have 4 high speed cores in comparison to the 6-8 in i5-i9. There is no Neural Engine for machine learning on Macs either.

Pixelmator is also doing interesting things with machine learning on both iPad and Mac.

Edit: the A13 in iPhone 11 is even more striking.


Pixelmator Photo (released this year) is also excellent, and much better in color correction than LightroomCC for iPad. It’s using ML. Personally, I am using Pixelmator Photo and Affinity Photo on iPad.

On my MacBook Pro, it’s Affinity Photo and PL3, as well as On1 2020 (I love their LUTS).

I suspect that in a couple of years, “porting” anything from Mac OS to iPad OS will become a redundant conversation as (some) Macs will also be using AXX chips. At the software level, this is already happening with Project Catalyst.


Of course. Mobility is what younger generation want. Our mac will probably have the first Arm architecture next year according to serious rumours. My dream is to plug my iPad on a dock and it becomes a full powered “macOS device” with a secondary display, a keyboard, mouse and a pencil.
We can already do this today but it is only the beginning.

Unfortunately it is not an easy job to develop for all the platform and options at the same time.
If we are lucky DxO can grow with our help and we will see what the future brings us.

The big problem with “universal” apps (desktop and tablet) is adapting between the ultra fine control of a mouse or stylus on a desktop and the “pudgy” finger for a tablet; Apple’s guidelines for touch areas on iOS devices is 44px.

Of course, the new iPad Pro has a large screen and a stylus but, unless you go for something top of the range like that, you’re never going to get a great user experience on an ordinary tablet device.

Then there’s the consideration of right-click menus and keyboard shortcuts.

Even with Catalyst, it could be some time before the technology is sufficiently mature to consider using it for a real world app; and that is primarily intended for porting from iOS to macOS.


iPad Pro beats a MacBook Air in performance and could run the application without issues. Also Apple is on its way to make the switch to ARM in the next 3 years or so… the writing is on the wall. Intel is on its last legs and Apple has a state of the art chip division that delivers the best mobile chips consistently. Switching to ARM means they can design their own processors and are not dependent on Intel who is struggling to deliver on time year after year.

That said, I don’t see the benefit of handling massive amounts of data on a portable device and also the way the filesystem works isn’t convenient at all workflow wise although there have been improvements. I also think the addressable market would be extremely tiny so not worth the investement and risk (see what happened with the DxO One hardware).

The biggest opportunity in photo software now is to offer a home to all the Adobe refugees since many of the mare still lost and unhappy.


Photolab app is great for artistic photography. You would not believe how many portraits I took of customers that have chosen to use at least one of the effects from this app; and it isn’t just portfolio photos that I use this app for; I have used some effects on many family portraits also; especially the holiday effects. Also great for cropping, cutting, putting text on photos, etc…overall and all around a pretty good photo app…

but for professional photo editing work , I use photoshop with my xp-pen star G640 drawing tablet . it’s great .

OK, i also don`t think that performance could be a problem on an iPad, since affinity photo runs like hell on mine.
At present i also use Pixelmator Photo and Affinity Photo on my iPad.


Another downvote here.
IMO iPadOS is no comparison to a Desktop environment when considering final image quality and power/abilities of toolset.
Affinity, Photoshop, Pixelmator, Pixelmator Pro, etc… are disappointing when trying to develop high quality images on an iPad, and not up to par to that of the desktop apps, IMHO. I have purchased more than a few iPadOS photo developing apps. Existing apps may perform adequately for some people and may continue to improve over the years. However, I think DXO should not waste valuable time and resources on merely adequate, as there are already plenty of “good enough” iPadOS apps out there already. And I don’t think iPadOS has reached parity with Desktop OSes yet.
I understand the convenience and portability of an iPad is undeniable, but I would much rather appreciate if DXO would stay the course on PL for Desktop before divesting resources on an iPadOS app.
I would gladly purchase an iPadOS version when and if that time comes. Thanks.

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So I also do not see the benefit of using PhotoLab´s full functionality on a quite small iPad screen.
But what could be really helpfull is an option to sort out photos or tag photos on an ipad.

The only reason why I am still bound to photoshop is the possibillity to have small representations
available on the go on an ipad to tag those images with stars, colors, accepted/rejected.

I think that would be a great enhancement in using PhotoLab.

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For this purpose, you could try Mylio.
You can rate, tag and organize your photos and previews or thumbnails are automatically synchronized between devices.
Everything is stored on your hardware, there is no cloud necessary.

Sorry, I was wrong. It took some time till the sync completes. Stars are correctly synced using mylio.

Thank you

Thank you for the info. Mylio syncs fine between the devices and writes the info in xmp files, but PhotoLab does not integrate the changes. No star Ratings are changed after a new start of Photolab.

Btw: The only info that possibly could be synchronized are star ratings. A full set of color-tags is not available in Photolab just green and red.

Any ideas?