Are you looking for a photo viewer for your Mac? While every Mac comes with a native photo viewer called Preview, it has some limitations.
If you’re a professional or amateur photographer using your Mac to sort and edit photos you took with your camera, having an additional app can be useful.
There are plenty of alternative photo viewers for Mac that have additional features. Photo Mechanic, Adobe Bridge, Movavi to name a few. The best photo viewer for Mac is XnView. The app is free, offers plenty of features and simple to use.
More About Photo Viewers
Photo viewer apps are made specifically for photographers to help them organize their workflow, edit photos, view photo details, and more.
Many of these apps, for example, quickly organize and sort pictures automatically, based on the person in the picture, the place they were taken, or the date they were taken.
Other apps allow you to tag pictures and then filter for images tagged with a specific keyword when sorting through them.
Also, while Preview is a decent app, there are some file formats that it doesn’t support. Sometimes, you might get an “Unsupported Format” error when trying to view an image if you have an uncommon format.
Many of the alternatives support a wider range of file formats for viewing.
Today, I will be going through the 16 best photo viewers for Mac.
1. XnView MP
XnView MP is a fantastic but simple photo editor and viewer that supports a wide range of file types, including particular ones like DNG, HEIC, and OpenEXR. In fact, it reads over 500 image formats, and it allows you to export images in 70 different file formats.
Since it’s free, I’m including it first.
It gives you a lot of flexibility in how you view your photos.
You can view thumbnails, for example, for quick selection, or you can compare two pictures to decide which one to display in your gallery or portfolio.
XnView also allows you to view EXIF, IPTC, and XMP metadata.
One reason to choose XnView is that in addition to being a photo viewer, it provides powerful photo editing features built into the app. You can crop pictures without losing any photo quality, resize pictures, rotate them, and more.
Adjust the brightness and contrast, apply filters, modify colors, and apply effects.
If you need to work on a lot of photos at once, XnView will definitely come in handy. It allows you to batch-edit an entire photo collection using 80 different actions.
For example, if you took all the pictures in a shoot upside down or sideways by mistake, you can rotate all of them at once.
XnView is constantly improving its app, speeding it up, and fixing bugs. It provides support for multiple languages.
There aren’t even any ads, as long as you are using it for private use (or as a nonprofit).
If you are using it for your company, you’ll need to purchase a license, however.
Photo Mechanic is one of the best apps for Mac computers for viewing multiple photos quickly. As a photographer, you’ll love how much it improves your workflow.
PM pulls images from your memory card quickly, so you don’t need to waste any time. You can immediately get to work on deleting rejects and selecting the best photos from a shoot.
Photo Mechanic can pull images from several memory cards at once, speeding up the editing and selecting process. Not only that, but you can see image previews as they are being loaded, saving you waiting time.
As you go through your photos, you can add keywords, metadata, copyright information, captions, and more. The tool allows you to flip from image to image quickly, but you can also batch edit and add metadata to or resize many images at once.
Using GPS data, you can automatically add city, state, and country metadata to your photos.
If you find working with raw photos too slow with the built-in photo viewer on Mac, especially when you have thousands of images to flip through, Photo Mechanic is a good solution.
Photo Mechanic integrates with cloud sharing tools like Flickr and PhotoShelter. It also integrates with Facebook and email, making it a breeze to share photos; you can automatically add watermarks to the images you upload.
Instead of uploading them online, you can also burn them onto a physical CD or DVD drive.
While the current version of Photo Mechanic requires a macOS 10.10.5 or up, an older version is still available for download on older Mac versions. Check the download page for updated information.
3. Adobe Bridge
Adobe Bridge is a powerful photo viewer that allows you to view, organize, and edit creative assets like images. Some things you can do with Adobe Bridge include:
- Use filters to find the exact pictures in your library you are looking for
- Perform an advanced metadata search
- Edit metadata
- Create collections to organize pictures
- Add labels, keywords, and ratings to images
- Resize multiple images at once to fill or fit a target size
- Rename files while importing them
- Convert files to DNG during the import process
One of the advantages of using Adobe Bridge over other photo viewer apps is that it integrates with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps, making editing and retouching easy. For example, if you use Photoshop to brush up your pictures after a shoot, you can open an image in Photoshop straight from the Bridge.
If you want to edit a raw photo, you can open it in Adobe Camera Raw. You can also create an Adobe Portfolio website to showcase your work using images you have in Adobe Bridge.
Adobe made Bridge free, and it seems like it is still free — but you need to log in to your Creative Cloud account. Also, some features, like opening a raw image, aren’t available on the free version.
Movavi’s Photo Viewer is an excellent choice for photographers who care about speed, efficiency, and productivity. You can quickly filter for and find images taken in a specific location or that have a specific tag; you can also filter by date.
You’ll find the batch image editing features quite useful. Photographers can enhance multiple photos at once or resize an entire folder at once to fit specific requirements.
Movavi supports over 60 different file formats, including both raw camera photos and compressed formats, like JPG and PNG. When viewing an image, you can instantly find and switch to another image by browsing the filmstrip.
When viewing your gallery, you can enlarge thumbnails to make it easier to find a specific picture. If you have a lot of images from a photoshoot, you’ll find this feature helpful, as it will help you sort through your images.
Another cool feature is the ability to select specific photos from a collection and view only those images.
Movavi has native support for several languages, such as English, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, German, and more.
Movavi Photo Editor works well together with Movavi Photo Manager. I really like Movavi Photo Manager, because it helps you clean up clutter in your gallery and find your most important and best photos.
For example, one thing it does is find duplicates — photos that are visually alike. Sometimes, you’ll take several shots of a scene or attraction, and that can take up a lot of space on your device.
Movavi helps you find duplicates and delete them.
It also organizes photos into folders of people using facial recognition. Whether you are a photographer who does photoshoots for clients or you want to find pictures with a specific friend or family member in it, this feature will come in handy.
Movavi also automatically creates albums based on geolocation and date, so you can quickly find pictures from a particular trip, for example, or photos you took on your wedding day.
You can also apply tags to photos (such as travel, wedding, drinking, etc.) to make it easier to find them later.
While you might be fooled into thinking that this app has something against Macs, based on its name, it does support Macs. If you’re looking for a lightweight and simple open-source photo viewer for your Mac, Nomacs is an excellent choice.
It supports the most-used photo file formats, including PSD and raw images. You can view thumbnails, browse through folders, use filters to search for specific files, and more.
I liked how you can compare two pictures by zooming into the exact same spot or applying overlays with different opacities. Also, you can edit pictures using Nomacs — you can adjust the hue, brightness, saturation, and so on.
Some features that are planned for the upcoming release of Nomacs 3.16 include AVIF support and the ability to blur photos. Check the Nomacs site to see the latest version.
ACDSee is a proprietary photo viewer and editor that comes with several unique features, such as facial recognition.
Above all, ACDSee Photo Studio is designed to help you organize your pictures, making it perfect for professional photographers who do many photoshoots. You can view photos instantly with import-free access and use filters, categories, tags, color labels, location data, and more to sort and find pictures.
Facial recognition allows you to quickly isolate and select pictures of particular people.
Let’s say you had several photoshoots in one day, with several clients. As you had to rush from photoshoot to photoshoot, you didn’t have time to upload the pictures from each shoot in between the shoots.
Or, you might do group photoshoot tours, where you show several tourists the city and take pictures of them in the most iconic spots.
When you get home, you’ll have to sort and organize the pictures of each client. With ACDSee’s facial recognition technology, all that will be done for you automatically.
Another awesome feature that can let you sort pictures is the map viewer, which shows you where different pictures were taken, based on longitudinal and latitudinal information embedded into each picture’s metadata.
Let’s say you went on a tour and took pictures of several national parks or cities. The map viewer allows you to quickly sort and group them based on location.
ACDSee Photo Studio also comes with advanced editing capabilities, which you will find useful if you are a professional. With built-in support for raw images from over 500 camera models, you can edit your photos using layers and the tool’s Advanced Light EQ technology.
Advanced Light EQ allows you to brighten certain parts/pixels of a picture without affecting the entire picture, for a more natural end result.
There are several versions of ACDSee, so you can choose one that works for your budget and photo editing needs. Despite being paid software, ACDSee provides a free trial for all of its products — see updated information about that here.
7. Apollo One
Apollo One, by Anogeissus, was created for photographers, by photographers. It allows you to preview raw photos instantly, and it has an easy-to-use toolbar that lets you quickly perform customizations and edits.
You can view EXIF metadata using the app or rate pictures from one to five. After a photoshoot, for example, use the rating system to quickly select your best and second-best shots.
Using embedded location data, you can locate pictures taken in a specific spot. You can also update location data by dragging and dropping pictures on the map in map view.
Flipping through photos is easy with its Trackpad and Magic Mouse support, which allows you to swipe through photos like you would on an iPhone. If you have a Mac with a Trackpad, you can also zoom into a photo using your fingers.
Photographers can create slideshows using built-in transitions and even add iTunes music to the slideshows.
Apollo One allows you to view animated GIFs. That’s something you can’t do with the built-in Mac photo viewer that comes with your computer — while you can see all frames of a GIF, you can’t play the actual GIF.
If you’ve been searching for a minimalistic photo viewer without too many distracting features, check out qView. Unlike other photo viewers on this list, it doesn’t have any fancy features — and that is exactly the point.
You’ll see just your image and the qView toolbar, with nothing else on your screen, allowing you to focus entirely on it.
Because qView does not have too many features, it is very lightweight and speedy. It doesn’t use up a lot of resources, and you can open and switch through images extremely quickly.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else other than view a photo. By right-clicking on a photo, you can open controls and do things like rotate or mirror an image.
Also, qView is entirely free and open source.
If you like the built-in Preview image viewer that comes with Macs, but you need a bit more swiftness and functionality, try Xee. It is very similar to Preview, but it has additional features — for example, it supports GIF and animation viewing.
In fact, Xee supports several additional file formats that Preview does not, making it a good alternative if you work with images that Preview can’t open.
Also, it includes support for touch gestures, allowing you to flip through images, zoom in, rotate images, and more.
Another solid photo viewer is Lyn. Designed for photographers, web designers, and graphic artists using macOS, it is meant to replace the built-in photo viewer with a fast, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing alternative.
It supports all standard file formats, as well as raw and HDR photos. You can view images and quickly adjust brightness, contrast, and more.
You can also apply filters or change a colorful picture into a black and white one.
One thing that might interest you is Lyn’s support for non-destructive editing. That allows you to edit and enhance an image without losing the original.
Lyn allows you to view each picture’s metadata, and you can also drag and drop images on a map to adjust the geolocation.
You can export your images or share them directly to sites such as Flickr, Dropbox, or SmugMug.
It comes with a 15-day free trial, so it doesn’t hurt to try it out.
Another great minimalist photo viewer for Mac is Viso. After it was launched on ProductHunt, it quickly trended as the #3 product of the day.
It allows for quick photo viewing without an intrusive interface, and it doesn’t use up a lot of resources. One of the advantages it has over the regular Preview app is that you can view an image’s size and dimensions without opening an additional info window.
As we’re talking about minimalistic photo viewers, we can’t continue without mentioning LilyView. It’s one of the best photo viewers if all you want to see are your photos — there are no filters and almost no user interface, just your pictures.
While there are some controls, such as the ability to zoom into any image or rotate it, they mostly stay out of sight until you want to use them. Also, the app supports multitouch gestures.
While LilyView isn’t free, it does come with a free trial.
Phiewer is a great, folder-based photo viewer for Mac that supports many file formats, including TIFF, HEIC, HEIF, and many others. You can view the EXIF metadata of any image and use one of the many shortcuts to do things like rotate an image or switch to a full-screen view.
Phiiewer also allows you to create a slideshow quickly and easily. You set how long you want each media file to be displayed, and Phiiewer will create a slideshow, complete with transition effects and music, according to your tastes.
If you get the Pro version, you get additional features, such as new filters and effects.
The app supports raw photos from a wide range of camera models, including those from popular companies like Kodak and Canon. You can see a full list of supported camera models for raw photo uploading here.
Pixea calls itself the “invisible photo viewer.” It allows you to view photos from archives and folders without extracting them.
Using Pixea, you can view EXIF metadata and perform basic image edits, such as rotations and image flipping.
There are only a few export formats: TIFF, PNG, JPG, JGP-2000, and BMP. However, you can import many other file formats, such as HEIC and PSD images.
Overall, you will find Pixea very efficient but minimalistic, with a sleek and modern interface. Editing and viewing are made easier with support for Trackpad gestures and keyboard shortcuts.
A cool little app is Picturama. It can read many file formats, like PNG, HEIC, HEIF, and others, as well as raw files from many camera models.
It won’t change the original file of any photo, as it is nondestructive. The app allows you to browse photos by date and view EXIF data, and you can add tags and zoom into photos.
Picturama also allows you to rotate, flip, and even crop pictures in the app.
The app is translated into several languages, including Spanish, French, and Chinese.
iFotosoft is a viewer app for Mac, currently available for download from sites like CNET. It has some pretty awesome features, such as the ability to convert unpopular or uncommon file formats to more popular ones, so you can use them in other photo viewers and editors.
Using the batch editing features, you can resize multiple images at once. iFotosoft lets you read an image’s EXIF metadata.
iFotosoft lets you preview image thumbnails. You can also favorite your best images and create a slideshow out of them later.
I recommend XnView, as it is free and ticks all the boxes you will need. It is lightweight and doesn’t involve a steep learning curve.
If you are willing to pay a bit more for a premium app, I’d recommend Photo Mechanic or Movavi.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.