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How to Crop a Photo on Your iPhone, Mac or iPad

How to crop a photo

Reading Time: 11 minutes read

You can’t always capture the perfect shot first-time but with the Crop tool, you can remove unwanted parts of your image once you’ve taken it. You can also change the aspect ratio to make your photo ready for social media if you need to.

So if you’re looking to edit a photo and achieve that perfect crop, keep reading to find out how to do this on your Apple device – whether that’s a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad.

How to crop a photo on a Mac

There are several different methods to crop a photo on a Mac.

Here, we’ll explain how to crop an image using the Photos app, Preview, and Photoshop.

How to crop an image using the Photos app for Mac

For a quick fix, you can simply click the Auto button which will automatically straighten and crop your photo.

For more control, simply follow these steps:

1. Open Photos.

Here, you will see your image library.

Image library

2. Double-click the photo you want to crop.

Open by double-clicking

3. Click Edit in the toolbar.

Click on Edit

4. Select Crop from the top toolbar.

Select Crop tool

5. Crop freeform or use a ratio.

For freeform cropping, drag the selection rectangle by its edges or corners to achieve the desired size.

Drag for freeform cropping

To use a set ratio to crop, select its size under Aspect.

Choose aspect ratio

6. Straighten your photo.

Adjust the numbered dial – a grid will appear over your selected image to help with alignment.

Adjust the dial to straighten photo

7. Click Done to save your changes.

Want to undo your cropping? Just click Reset to start again.

Click Done

How to crop a photo into a circle

With Photos, it’s simple to crop your photo into a circle on your Mac.

You can follow the same steps as above – just make sure you select Elliptical Selection in Crop mode. With this, you can drag your cursor around the photo, with the photo’s new outline appearing as a blue-dotted circular shape.

Crop photo to circle

Cropping keyboard shortcuts using the Photos app

There are lots of keyboard shortcuts that can make using the Photos app even quicker.

The ones most useful for cropping photos are:

  • C – Launches the Crop tool.
  • Option – This has two main uses:

Hold this to alter how you crop with a set aspect ratio. If you press Option as you drag from a corner, it will base the new crop on the center. Without using this shortcut, the default setting means the opposite corner will stay in its place.

Without using the Option key

Crop without using the option key

When using the Option key

Crop using the option key
  • You can hold down Option to slow down the rotation dial. This helps you rotate more precisely.
Hold down option key

There are several other useful  keyboard shortcuts that can help speed up the editing process:

  • Command and Return – Launches Edit for your selected image(s). You can also use this to exit Edit.
  • A – Takes you to Adjust mode.
  • F – Changes to Filters mode.
  • M – Holding this shows you the original photo without your new adjustments.
  • Command and Plus – Zoom in.
  • Command and Minus – Zoom out.
  • Command and E – In Adjust mode, this will automatically enhance the photo.
  • Arrow keys – Lets you move between photos. This will either scroll through all your photos or just those you highlighted when opening Edit.

How to crop an image using Preview

As the default app for viewing images on your Mac, Preview will usually open up automatically when you click an image. If it doesn’t, simply two-tap on your chosen image, hover on Open With, and click Preview.

Once your chosen image is open in Preview, it’s simple to crop your photos:

1. Click the Show Markup Toolbar button.

It’s the toolbox icon.

the Show Markup Toolbar button

2. Click, hold, and drag on the image to select your crop.

Hold & drag to crop image

3. Drag any of the blue dots to resize your crop (if needed).

Resize your crop

4. Press Command and K to crop.

Crop image - command + K

5. Save your image.

You can press Command and S to do this. Alternatively, you can select File in the Apple toolbar menu, then click Save.

Save the image

How to crop an image in Photoshop

As you’ve seen, Apple’s pre-installed Photos and Preview can be used to crop efficiently and effectively. An alternative is the paid tool Adobe Photoshop.

To crop an image in Photoshop, simply:

1. Open Photoshop.

Open Photoshop

2. Select File > Open.

Select File > Open

3. Select the image you want to open.

Select the image to open

4. Click Open.

Click Open

5. Choose the Crop tool from the Tool Panel, or press C.

Choose crop tool

6. Bring your cursor to where you want a corner to be on the image, and click.

Keep cursor to crop

7. Keeping the cursor engaged, move it diagonally.

Move diagonally to define crop area

8. Release the cursor.

A box will then appear over the image, showing that this crop has been preserved.

Release the cursor

9. Perfect your crop.

Move the placement of the cropped box by dragging and dropping it, while holding the cursor down.

Perfect your crop

Change the size of the area by clicking on one of the corner markers, engaging the cursor and dragging. If you press Shift while you do this, the crop will change in proportion to its existing aspect ratio.

Adjusting aspect ratio

To rotate, click on one of the corner markers and drag the cursor until you’re happy with it.

Rotate image

10. Press the Return key or the tick button in the Options Panel to crop the image.

If you don’t wish to keep your chosen crop, press the Esc key or the No symbol in the Options Panel.

Press tick mark to finish

How to crop a photo on an iPhone and iPad

For iPhone and iPad, the only cropping option (without downloading a third-party app) is the Photos app.

Here’s how to crop a photo using the Photos app on an iOS device:

1. Open the Photos app.

 Open Photos app

2. Select the photo you want to crop.

Select the photo

3. Tap Edit.

Tap edit

4. Tap the Crop button.

Tap crop

5. Select whether to do this manually or automatically.

a. To do this manually, simply drag the corners of the image to resize the photo.

Manually drag or resize the image

b. To do this automatically, select your preferred aspect ratio.

Resize automatically using aspect ratio

6. Tap Done to save your changes.

Tap done

Feeling proud of your new crop? Turn it into a beautiful photo gift with Motif.

Transform your newly cropped images into photo gifts with the Motif app. From photo cards, to photo calendars and photo books, discover why Motif is rated the #1 Apple Photo Book App on the market. Download from the App store today.

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