How to Invert a Picture on iPhone [2023] – A Detailed Guide

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Flipping photo colors to create a negative effect has become a popular trend. Inverting the colors in an image can give it an artistic, stylized look. For example, skies are turned yellow, grass becomes purple, and skin tones take on a strange new hue.

It may seem like digital magic, but inverting pictures is actually a straightforward editing technique. On the iPhone, there are built-in features and third-party apps that make color inversion simple.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll show you how to master photo color inversion using different methods. You‘ll learn how it works, when to use it, and tips for taking the effect to the next level.

Why Would You Want to Invert a Photo?

Before we dig into the how-to, let‘s discuss why inverting colors is useful in photography and design.

Enhances Accessibility

Inverting colors improves accessibility for those with visual impairments, like light sensitivity or color blindness. It creates higher contrast, making photos easier to perceive.

Dark mode interfaces use this principle. By flipping light and dark elements, visual processing is improved.

Provides an Artistic Effect

One of the main reasons people invert images is for the artistic effect. It gives photos, graphics, and videos an alternative stylized look.

Inverting a portrait can add a moody, edgy vibe. Doing it for a landscape photo creates a surreal alien feel because the colors are unnatural.

It‘s popular amongst photographers and digital artists seeking unexpected results.

Reveals Exposure Problems

When you invert the colors, overexposed and underexposed areas become more apparent. Bright spots go extremely dark and shadows become highlighted.

This reversal draws the eye to exposure flaws. You can then adjust lighting levels accordingly to compensate.

Makes Masking Easier

With inverted colors, the contrast is ramped up between subjects and backgrounds. This makes images easier to mask for compositing.

You can clearly see the edges and intricate details. Color inversion is commonly used in preparation for effective masking and layering.

How to Invert Photos Using iPhone Accessibility Settings

The iPhone has a system-wide Invert Colors setting that flips all colors displayed on the screen, including photos. Here‘s how to use it:

  1. Open Settings and go to Accessibility > Display & Text Size.

  2. Scroll down and toggle the switch on for Invert Colors.

    Invert Colors iPhone setting

  3. Open the Photos app or image you want to invert. The colors will be reversed.

  4. To revert, go back to Accessibility settings and disable Invert Colors.


  • Quickly test inverted effect on any image.
  • Easy on/off control.


  • Inverts everything on screen, not just specific photos.
  • Requires manually toggling the setting on/off.

While not precise, it‘s a fast way to preview color inversion on iPhone. Next, let‘s look at approaches that offer more granular control.

Inverting Colors in Photo Editing Apps

For flexible image editing, use apps like Lightroom and Photoshop Express. They provide pro-level tools for inverting specific photos with custom tweaking.

Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom is renowned for its advanced photo correction capabilities. The app includes options for manipulating color channels and curves.

Follow these steps to invert in Lightroom on iPhone:

  1. Import the photo you want to edit.

  2. Tap the Light option at the bottom.

  3. Select Curve which allows adjusting by channel.

  4. Drag the lower left RGB point upward towards the top left.

  5. Drag the upper right RGB point downward towards the bottom right.

    Inverting RGB curve in Lightroom

  6. Fine tune the curve points until you achieve the desired level of inversion.

  7. Tap Done to apply the adjustments.

This gives you precise control over the tone curve to alter the color ranges. With practice, you can create professional inverted effects.

Benefits of Using Lightroom:

  • Robust color editing parameters
  • Control over inversion intensity
  • Saves edits for batch applying
  • Export high-res images

Photoshop Express

Adobe also offers the streamlined Photoshop Express app. It provides filter presets, including a dedicated Invert option.

Here are the basic steps to invert in Photoshop Express:

  1. Import the image you want to edit.

  2. Tap the Looks menu at the bottom.

  3. Select the Basic section.

  4. Scroll and tap the Invert button.

    Invert button in Photoshop Express

  5. Adjust intensity of the filter and tap Apply.

While less advanced than Lightroom, the direct invert filter yields quick results in just a few taps.

Benefits of Using Photoshop Express:

  • Simple one-touch invert effect
  • Live preview when adjusting filter intensity
  • Additional filters to layer effects
  • Share directly to social platforms

Comparing Lightroom vs. Photoshop for Inverting

Criteria Lightroom Photoshop Express
Learning Curve Steep Shallow
Speed Slower Very fast
Customization Maximum Limited
Output Quality High Medium

Lightroom has a steeper learning curve but provides finer color control. Photoshop Express is faster and easier but has fewer adjustment parameters. Choose the best one based on your needs.

Inverting Photos Using Online Editing Tools

Besides mobile apps, there are also handy online tools for inverting images for free in your browser.


Pinetools hosts an array of web-based image editing utilities. Their Invert Image Colors tool is simple and effective.

To use it:

  1. Go to the website and click Choose Image to upload a photo.

  2. Click the blue Invert image colors button.

  3. The inverted version will be displayed and can be downloaded.

    Pinetools invert demo

You can also tweak other adjustments like contrast and brightness before downloading the result.


For more control over the effect, use Pixelied‘s Invert filter.

It works as follows:

  1. Upload your chosen photo.
  2. Click Invert in the filter list.
  3. Adjust the intensity slider as desired.
  4. Click Download to save the inverted image.

Pixelied provides additional artistic filters to complement the inversion effect.


Photoaid has a range of free photo editing tools, including color inversion:

  1. Go to the Invert page and upload your photo.
  2. Click the Invert Colors button.
  3. Optionally tweak other settings like brightness and download the result.

The website also allows honing the masked area and offers handy tools like background and shadow removal.

Benefits of Online Inverters

  • Easy access from any device and browser
  • Generally fast processing
  • No app download needed
  • Complementary editing features

Inverting Videos Shot on iPhone

Along with photos, you may want to invert colors in videos captured on your iPhone. Since mobile apps don‘t support this, here are a couple workaround options:

  • Use video editing software like Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro to apply an inversion filter to clips on the editing timeline. Most desktop NLEs have color effects.

  • Convert video to black and white first using an online converter, then invert the grayscale result. Kapwing and Video2x work well for this.

  • Apply an inverted 3D LUT (Lookup Table). These instantly map video colors to a preset inversion effect. LUTs can be imported into editing apps.

So while not as straightforward as images, with the right software, inverting iPhone videos is possible.

Customizing the Inverted Effect

For more creative control, you can customize the inverted effect rather than simply reversing all colors fully.

Partial Inversion

Most editing apps allow reducing the intensity of the inversion filter. This maintains some original coloring while still shifting the overall hue and brightness.

Layer Blending Options

Blending modes like Soft Light and Overlay apply the inversion selectively based on brightness values. This integrates the effect rather than overpowering.


Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and reduce saturation of the inverted image. This creates a muted, monochromatic negative effect.

Black and White Layer

Add a black and white or sepia tone layer above the inverted image, set to Soft Light or Overlay blending mode. This combines inversion with classic grayscale conversion.

Split Toning

With apps like Lightroom, you can colorize highlights and shadows separately. Make highlights cool-toned and shadows warm for a stylized partial invert.

Benefits of Customizing Inversion:

  • More control over the final look
  • Wider range of artistic options
  • Avoids a tacky overwhelming effect
  • Better integration into compositions

Why Isn‘t the Inversion Working? Troubleshooting Tips

In some cases, you may find the inverted effect isn‘t working as expected. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

Issue: Colors not fully reversing

  • Confirm invert/curve settings are maxed out.
  • Remove any Hue/Saturation adjustment layers forcing colors.

Issue: Unexpected color shifts

  • The image may have an embedded color profile interfering. Try stripping the profile first.

Issue: Banding and gradients

  • Increase bit depth before inverting to reduce color banding issues.

Issue: Glitches and distortion

-This can occur when inverting highly compressed images and videos. Use highest quality sources.

Issue: Can‘t invert videos

  • As covered earlier, inversion of video requires desktop software converters.

Concluding Thoughts on Inverting Photos

Inversion is a simple yet powerful photo editing technique. With the right apps and tools, you can easily invert iPhone pictures for accessibility, artistic flair, exposure adjustment, masking, and more.

I suggest starting with the native invert colors setting to get a feel for the effect. Move on to Lightroom and Photoshop Express for refined control over single images. For quick online inversion, Pinetools, Pixelied, and Photoaid are handy.

Don‘t stop at full inversion. With blending options, hue shifting, and masking, you can craft unique inverted art. Fix exposure flaws revealed by the reversal. And take iPhone videos to the negative side with video editors.

Now you have a comprehensive guide to mastering photo and video color inversion using the iPhone and computer apps. Bring your snapshots into another dimension by going negative.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.