Your iPhone can Photoshop the world in real-time — here's how

iPhone 12 Pro Max back showing cameras and multi-function button
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Photoshop lets you distort and liquify photos to your heart's content. But what if you could edit the world around you in real-time? Well, with the magic of augmented reality (AR) and an iPhone, you can do just that.

The new iOS app warpAR lets iPhone users distort textures of the world using AR, and it's completely free to download. You can imagine how Apple's AR glasses would be a perfect fit for this.

Created by developer Matt Bierner, the app is now available on the App Store and lets you use Photoshop-like tools to distort real-world surfaces, liquify walls using your hands, and even tap and drag to reshape buildings. Better yet, doing it in real-time is wild. Give it a go.

The warpAR app is available for all iOS devices with ARKit support, while only devices with a LiDAR scanner, much like the iPad Pro 2020 and iPhone 12 Pro, will let you distort reality with your bare hands.

The app has six different adjustable liquify-style tools, including "Push" and "Restore" that allows users to move around textures and change them back to their original state, "Bloat" to expand textures outwards, "Pucker" collapses textures inwards, and "Swirl" (as the name suggests) swirls the textures right and left.

The app can capture whatever reality-bending images or videos you create, just in case you want to share or edit them even further in more robust apps like Photoshop.

Bierner tested out this AR tech with a previous app, known as watAR. This put the user's face onto a surface, basically bringing an iconic horror movie troupe to life. Check out more on Bierner's blog

AR has been quite the hot topic recently, with Facebook planning AR wristbands that can read your mind. Apple is hoping to be a big contender in this category too, and it even hopes to bring out its AR glasses by 2025, along with AR contact lenses as soon as 2030.

In the meantime, you can mess around with reality in a more static fashion with these free alternative Photoshop apps

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.