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Best Apps to Change the Background of a Photo (Top 7 in 2021)

Nearly all of our technology revolves around the phone – including photography! Whether you transfer a photograph to your smartphone or take a shot with the phone camera itself, you may come across instances where you want to change the background. Lucky for you, there are plenty of apps to change the background of a photo on the Android and iOS marketplaces.

Here is our list of the best apps to change the background of a photo, helping you swap that boring wall for a beautiful forest! 

1. Automatic Background Changer

Best Free App
Best bang for the buck you didn’t spend

This free app is quite competitive towards the paid options out there, offering many different tools.

Free
Lots of backgrounds included
Additional editing features included
Retains original image quality
Can be slow to process
Limited on its subject detection

A fantastic free option, Automatic Background Changer is a good app to download on the fly! As the name implies, this app has an option to have the program itself automatically paste your subject on a transparent background or you can do so yourself manually by using the pointer tool to make a selection around your subject. The app has hundreds of built-in backgrounds to utilize, so you don’t necessarily have to come with a background ready for your shot! 

The limitation comes, funny enough, in its AI tools. The app (at this time) can only recognize human, canine, or feline subjects – and nothing else effectively. But, with the ability to select the subject manually and ‘erase out’ the background, this isn’t the biggest deal-breaker in the world. In addition to the above limitation, the app can be quite slow to process images – however, it does retain the original file size and quality upon export. 

2. Simple Background Changer

Simple and to the point

Like the name implies, Simple Background Changer has just one goal in mind: swapping your background.

Complete control over the removal
Non destructive edits
Very decent AI
Free version has ads and watermarks
Does not automatically save your work

I have a bit of a fondness for apps that are titled straight to the point – this directness indicates that the app was designed with one purpose in mind! Akin to my typical complaint of too many things in 2021 acting like a “jack of all trades” but a master of none, it’s nice to see an application fully realize and master its one goal. 

Simple Background Changer does require you to manually outline your subject, but you certainly don’t have to be an artist to do so. Its detection tools are able to differentiate (for the most part) the difference between the subject’s outline and the background they are set in. Operating on a bit of a similar principle to photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, the changes are done in layers so it is pretty easy to make adjustments or undo a mistake. 

The downside is the app has a one-track mind and isn’t good at multitasking. If you minimize the app’s window to answer a text message or check Facebook, your work will not be automatically saved and you’ll have to start the process over. Another downside is that although this app does have a free version, the unpaid option is riddled with ads and causes the images you export to have a prominent watermark on them. Paid users do not have these nuisances. 

3. Superimpose

Most Realistic
Great for seamless blending

Superimpose prides itself on having various tools that help ensure that background replacement looks realistic.

Very advanced background removal
Ability to edit background independent
Tools that help backgrounds appear realistic
Can be buggy or laggy
Paid app

Although this app doesn’t wow you with a laundry list of functions and features right off the bat, Superimpose is deceptively advanced. Keeping with the professional title for editing (superimposing images), this app gets the job done in a powerful way. 

The primary feature that I fancied was the fact that after you replaced the background, you could continue your editing by adjusting the exposure, saturation, and other changes of the background independently. Like the app Simple Background Changer discussed above, the concept of layers comes back into play here. 

With a goal set in mind to offer as many opportunities to make your background appear realistic, Superimpose has tools that help blend the background, add drop shadows, and even create a double exposure! 

Although there are reports of bugginess and lagging, the features often outweigh the occasional app misstep. I suppose we do give a bit of a lenient pass to phone applications, they are quite limited after all. 

4. Apowersoft Background Eraser

A popular choice for smartphone users

Apowersoft boasts a lovely array of features in a pretty userfriendly interface, landing its place on most lists.

AI subject detection
Tools to remedy AI mistakes
Built-in backgrounds with the ability to use your own
Misleading on payment

Apowersoft has consistently found itself on background removal review lists – and for good reason! This powerful tool has provided multiple different options for swapping out the background of your photograph, ranging from allowing AI to do all of the work to manually outlining your subject. 

Usage is quite simple – upload your image, select the subject type (the selection includes Human, Product, and Logo), and let the app do the work. With enough tools to tweak and rectify AI mistakes, it’s not too difficult to do a pretty realistic background swap. 

Additionally, the app provides some built-in background options (such as solid colors for e-commerce use to some usual stock options) as well as the ability to upload your own backgrounds. 

The downside comes in a bit of a sly app creator trick – Apowersoft is listed as a free app with paid features on the Android store, and it allows you to play with the app and do some background adjustments. Once you want to export, the app will not let you do so until you pay for it – causing some user reviews to lean on the negative side. 

5. Background Remover Pro.

Another great free option

Similar to Automatic Background Changer, this app might work on phones in which the other app struggles.

Free
Background options
Nice interface
Android exclusive
Limited on rectifying AI mistakes

A notably great interface, Background Remover Pro is option number five on our list. Operating a bit differently from our previous mentions, this app removes the background at the tap of your finger – quickly rendering your subject on a checkered, transparent background in seconds. This app has a slew of built-in backgrounds as well, organized by convenient categories such as flowers, sunsets, oceans, animals, and other fun subject matter! 

Exporting is also quite simple in this app, as you’re able to export directly into the social media app of your choice (such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and more). This definitely cuts out an extra few button clicks of first having to save to your device and then launch the social media app. 

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It’s certainly not as advanced or feature-filled as other options, but for those that find Automatic Background Changer to be too slow, this is a fine alternative option. 

6. LightX

Best Paid App
An incredibly advanced editing app

LightX is a great contender for similar editing apps, but offers features more akin to Snapseed and Lightroom Mobile (two popular options).

Great interface design
Lots of advanced tools
Inclusion of the Magic Brush tool
The brushes don’t get too small
Unable to move around a photograph when editing, only zooming in and out

LightX is a unique option on our list in the fact that it’s truly attempting to compete against apps such as Snapseed and Lightroom Mobile with its tremendous amount of features. Its background removal options are quite notable in the app, enough so that these tools are mentioned in every review. 

For background removal specifically, you have several options of how to chop your subject right out of the background. The first is the lasso tool, which like its Photoshop counterpart, allows you to select similar regions and remove them in one swoop! If you only want parts of the background removed, you can use the Magic Brush tool to remove only specific areas of the background. If the AI is giving you a bit of grief, you have access to professional tools that allow you to fine-tune your image to your heart’s content.

The downsides are quite minuscule in comparison to related software and come in the form of some functionality drawbacks. The first being the brush size doesn’t get as small and precise as it can, making some forms of fine-tuning a bit more difficult. If you’re trying to adjust a specific spot, there seems to be an issue with zooming in and moving around the frame; the image will not move. 

With its slew of additional editing features, such as curves, exposure, color, and more – this is the best all-around paid editing app. 

7. Facetune/Facetune 2

An option you wouldn’t expect

Although Facetune is known for everything but background removal, it actually does have background adjustments hidden amongst its many tools.

Many different editing features
Ability to add overlay
Great for subtle edits
Not a designated background removal app, so functionality is limited
iOS version has more features than the Android version

Likely the most unexpected app on our list, Facetune rose to notoriety for its ability to do deceptive edits. Mainly used my social media posters to significantly alter their appearance, Facetune is actually a much more powerful app than it is often given credit for. Thrown amidst what feels like a million features is the ability to adjust backgrounds. 

You can add an overlay texture and several adjustments to any background, allowing for a more realistic touch in your images. Instead of attempting to cut the background out entirely, this app enhances what is already there, adding subtle touches that can push your photo to something more interesting. 

There is a discrepancy between the Apple version and the Android version, however, with iOS having more features – even in the background department. 

Which App Is the Best for You? 

So, which choice is right for you? To be frank, it really depends on how well your phone can handle these apps. When it concerns downloadable applications, I have always suggested trying several different ones and seeing what processes the fastest, the most accurate, and the most efficiently. 

However, it is good to have a starting point. For free apps, Automatic Background Changer is a fantastic option – filled with features and goodies without having to pull out the wallet! Very comparable to paid versions, the caveats are typically outweighed for the bang-for-your-buck (a buck you didn’t have to spend!). If that’s not enough for you, the paid app that wins our list is LightX, for all of its background removal tools and its slew of other editing functionalities. However, if realism is your style, Superimpose wins that title with its independent edits and blending features. 

Author

  • Anabel DFlux is a published photographer in the sunny states of California & Nevada, known for a vast array of photographic work.

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