Apps are provided by third-party developers who use the phone operating system and hardware of your phone. Apple developers can access the operating system architecture through the AVFoundation Capture subsystem. Using this 'Application Program Interface (API) and Swift coding, apps provide a custom User Interface (UI). These apps give you more manual control over the photo and video capture (focus, exposure, etc), photo processing, synthesising, controlling, importing and exporting.
The best example of an all-encompassing photography app is Adobe Lightroom mobile app. It is a camera replacement app and photo editor all in one. It provides full manual control of the camera and familiar Lightroom editing tools right there on your smartphone!
Why stay informed of updates to your photography apps?
Our photography apps are constantly being updated. You may have noticed that each time a developers releases an update, most of them provide a little blurb of what was included in the update. This is an amazing opportunity to stay informed of the latest news and developments in all your favourite photography apps.
At the time of recording the above podcast episode, there were interesting update descriptions for the Adobe Photoshop Express app and Lightroom app.
Photoshop Express updated its app to include local adjustments. This is a helpful discovery because you can try it to decide if you prefer that user experience and result over another app. Staying informed of these changes can add variety or speed up your photo capture and photo editing experience.
The Adobe Lightroom update provided details of the new Colour Toning tool. Before this option, I was creating a similar adjustment using the more complicated Curves tool in another app.
Why do you need to keep apps updated?
The Android and iOS operating systems regularly patch security and other issues. Now and again they have major releases that affect the API to developers. You will notice each time this happens, it seems that every app on your smartphone requires an update.
This is most likely why the default option is to have these update in the background.
How do you manually update your photo apps?
By default, your smartphone updates apps automatically in the background. As discussed, my preference is to manually update the photography apps on my smartphone. I cannot explain every phone model menu, so I will attempt to explain what to look for. Our phone settings are also getting more complicated as they get updated. I find the best way to find a tool or setting is to use the search function. Type in the word 'Update'. You are looking for App Update or similar, then Automatic Downloads.
See what's new in your existing apps
The other option to learn new features of your photography apps is often within the app itself. Many apps have a What's New section in the settings. In this section, you can see the update release date and their attention to bug fixes and new features. In here you can also see how regularly they update the app. Developers who regularly update their apps is one of my selection criteria in apps that I use and recommend.