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How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone

How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone
How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone

You like black and white photography and you just took some good photos with your iPhone or you want to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone. But how are you going to do it? Here is the short version:

Select your photo on your iPhone and tap on EDIT. You have two options:

  1. Press those three circles and then scroll down (or right, depending on your phone orientation) to MONO and select it.
  2. Press the menu below (or left) of those three circles, and select directly B&W. Slide UP or DOWN to activate the function.

The long version? This is a subject I want to discuss with you on this topic, how to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone.

How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone Version 1
How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone Version 2

The above videos highlight how straightforward it can be and how you can do high-level tasks such as controlling the shadows, highlights and other post-processing options.

Furthermore, I want to show you how to get the best results out of creating black and white photographs using this technique.

How to convert a photo in black and white using an iPhone, IN DETAIL.

In the past couple of years, iPhones and the iOS, the hardware and the software provided by Apple, improved a lot in comparison with a few years back. Now you can edit your photographs taken with your iPhone straight in the device, by a tap of a button.

There are a few advantages and disadvantages regarding the ability to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone.


  • Super easy, no experience required
  • Can be done straight from your phone, in your image gallery
  • The final result can be obtained in seconds
  • You can share to social media straight after editing
  • Do not require to install any software
  • The ability to revert to the original photo at any times.


  • You will probably edit a .JPEG (HEIC) version of the photo and not RAW (see the JPEG VS RAW post from Photornia for more info)
  • Limited abilities to edit your photo (basic editing)
  • The image quality would not be that great compared to using Lightroom and editing RAW photographs taken with it (see below)

When you edit a photo which you took with your iPhone or iPad, the image is going to be a HEIC version (JPEG), which is an already compressed image holding a very little capacity for post-processing as seen in the video above

If the iPhones had natural capabilities to shoot in RAW, this would be another story, you could post-process the image in black and white as you would like, with limitless possibilities. There are 3rd party apps on the market help you do it, but we will discuss later in this topic.

Turning a photo in black and white on your iPhone will virtually keep a ‘shadow’ of the original photo, therefore, you can revert back to the original settings whenever you want.

But let’s climb a bit on the ladder of post-processing, shall we?

  • When we tap on the image we need to convert in black and white, we have on the top right corner near the bin, the Edit button. If we press on it, we do have a little simple menu on our right.
  • Throughout the options, there are two ways you can convert a photo in black and white and edit it.
  • The first option is as shown in the first video is to select the mono (which probably comes from monochrome) and then use any other sliders to get the desired effect.
  • The second option is as shown in the second video, is to select from the menu the B&W and slide it up or down to activate it. When you do this, the image is converted automatically in black and white

One point to highlight also: the dropdown arrows will let you fine-tune the image as you like, to move the sliders of the highlights, shadows, exposure, contrast and so on.

Although the image files are not RAW, the software behind the compression was greatly improved not only to reduce the image size but to allow a bit of room for post-processing.

A lot of the uncompressed data is thrown away to create a smaller image version, the HEIC version of the image file is a step forward to a perfect black and white photograph.

Perfect is not a word I want to use here, but if you intend your black and white photographs to use them for social media in special, the quality even after post-processing is astonishing, yet from a photographer’s perspective

How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone

But if you are a photographer, you may want a bit more than that, isn’t it?

Well. there is a third option to take in consideration to take RAW photographs and to convert the image into black and white on your iPhone

Using Lightroom to capture RAW (DNG) photographs and to convert the photo in black and white.

How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone

If you are a photographer, the chances are that you are subscribed to the Adobe services which include Lightroom. Lightroom is vital for every photographer (at least the majority)

Not many people are using Lightroom on their iPhone. With this, you can actually take photographs directly into RAW (DNG) version and post-process them straight to your mobile phone using the same software.

In this case, when you convert your images to black and white, you have a ton of new options and you can do even more than before

Now with your photos in DNG format (which is a lossless RAW format from Adobe, digital negative), you can take the post-processing to one another level.

With your black and white photographs, you can have more control over the highlights, exposure, whites, blacks, and furthermore, texture, clarity, dehaze, sharpening, noise reduction and one another ton of options.

How to convert a photo in black and white using your iPhone

If you love photography and you want to take your black and white photographs taken with your iPhone to another level, you can buy an Adobe subscription (photography plan) but keep in mind that this is a bit costly.

The normal price comes in a bundle with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for the computer plus mobile usage, and costs around $9.90 a month, with a yearly subscription plan.

But you may not need it to be honest. The photographs taken with your iPhone and converted in black and white using the standard EDIT method may be more than enough for most of the people.

Now, this depends on how much do you like black and white photography?


The black and white photographs are timeless and I love to think that whenever I create one another black and white photograph with my iPhone or computer, the emotion and message it sends, to last for years to come.

To be a great black and white photographer even with your iPhone is all possible but consider the fact that you must study and learn some photography techniques before. But as I’ve said, if you love doing it, you will be great.

Whilst there are many options on how to convert your photos to black and white using your iPhone, those above highlighted are the simplest and easiest ones.

Do not forget the fact that you already own an iPhone (I guess) with a brilliant smart camera and if you love black and white photography you can create outstanding photographs.

There is some other free software on the app store which allows you to edit your images in black and white such as photo editor but from my personal point of view, you do not require it for some good results.

Furthermore, if you are interested to study general photography, I would recommend to look over our blog Photornia for in-depth tutorials and tips or have a look over our essential guide in black & white photography

Wish you all the best in the future with taking brilliant photographs! Take care!

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