How to increase the resolution of an image: 6 best ways

Edited by Jason Parnell-Brookes

April 30, 2021

Dealing with low resolution images is hard when attempting to share quality work online or even in print. It can be disheartening to find out that favorite photo you loved just doesn’t print in high enough resolution to hang on your wall at home. But there are plenty of softwares and methods you can use to increase photo resolution. In the table below we’ve rounded up the top 6 best apps to increase the resolution of an image, including notes on how easy they are to use, how fast they are, and what kind of result you’re likely to achieve.

App

Ease of use

Processing speed (editing)

Quality

Adobe® Photoshop®EasyFastGreat
Movavi PicverseEasyFastGreat
GIMPMediumFastGreat
Let’sEnhance.ioMediumMediumGreat
Image SizeEasyMediumGood
Photo ResizerEasySlowPoor

How to increase the resolution of an image with Adobe ® Photoshop ®

In this guide, we’ll show you how to increase the resolution of an image using two methods in Adobe® Photoshop®. The first tried and tested method is to increase the image size itself.

  1. At the top of the Adobe® Photoshop® window head to: Image > Image Size or use the keyboard shortcut Alt + Ctrl + I. A new window will appear where you can alter the resolution of the image.
  2. You can do this in one of several unit measurements using the dropdown box next to Dimensions. From here, you can choose from: Percent, Pixels, Inches, Centimeters, Millimeters, Points, and Picas. Since we’re looking at changing the resolution of the image, we’ll choose Pixels from the dropdown box.
  3. Look further down and you’ll find there are options for Width, Height, and Resolution. Type into either Width or Height boxes to determine how many pixels you’d like your image to be resized to.
  4. Bear in mind that the chain lock button to the left of the boxes will constrain the aspect ratio if engaged, making whatever number you type into the box also affect the other to keep the same aspect ratio as the original image. If this is a problem, you can fix it by altering the Resolution box. A lower number (such as 72) is more useful for web use where file size should be kept to a minimum.

A newer way to increase the resolution of a photo is to add a neural filter.

  1. By heading to Adobe® Photoshop®’s newer Neural Filters (Filter > Neural Filters) and selecting the Super Zoom filter you can make a selection on the image.
  2. Now use the variable sliders to adjust the image before clicking OK for a high resolution, cropped version of the original photo. This is particularly useful for images that need to maintain detail while also adjusting composition.

How to increase a photo resolution without Adobe ® Photoshop ®

If you need to resize the resolution of an image using Movavi Picverse, then it couldn’t be simpler.

  1. After launching the software, browse to your desired photo and load it into the software. Then, on the right-hand side of the window, navigate to the Resize tool from the tool panel.
  2. From here, you can adjust the width and height of your image by typing into the boxes at the top. To change between Pixels, Centimeters, Percent, and Inches click on the dropdown above.
  3. You can also select from 9 Preset Sizes for a quick and easy edit. If you are wondering how to increase the quality of a picture you’re resizing, then take advantage of the artificial intelligence built into Movavi Picverse and use the AI enlargement tick box. This will allow you to make the desired image even better without any loss of detail that you’d normally encounter without this feature.

To begin resizing an image in GIMP, either drag and drop a photo into the software or go to File > Open and navigate to your image.

  1. Then from the top of the window, go to Image > Scale Image. A new window will appear and this is where you can increase the image resolution by entering new values for the image width and height size.
  2. Constrain the aspect ratio by clicking the chain link icon to the right of the boxes and choose from the many unit measurements from the dropdown list which include: pixels, percent, inches, millimeters, points, picas, centimeters, meters, feet, yards, typogr. points, and typogr. picas.
  3. Also, adjust the pixel density using the X and Y coordinates beneath. 72PPI (pixels per inch) is designed for web use, whereas 300PPI is more useful for detailed printing and publication.
  4. You can also adjust the interpolation quality if you need to interpolate the image using a specific method.

Preview on macOS

If you don’t have any specific software installed on your Mac device, you may be wondering how to improve the resolution of an image or how to make low resolution pictures high resolution. In order to do this you can use the in-built software Preview.

  1. Double-click on an image, (or right-click and open Preview) and then head to Tools > Adjust Size.
  2. Change the size by typing into the number boxes and choose your desired unit of measurement from the drop-down box on the right, or just use pixels if you’re not sure.
  3. The padlock icon will link the aspect ratio, just press it once to unlock this if you don’t want this. Once you’re done, click OK, and the process will be complete.

After launching ON1 Resize, navigate to your desired image and double-click it to open it up in the software.

  1. From here, head to the right-hand side of the window and click on the Resize icon at the bottom.
  2. Multiple preset resizing options will now appear on the left of the window covering a wide range of printed and online content options, including paper, canvas, and resin prints from a variety of main manufacturers such as Canon and Epson. Whereas, the online options provide Video and Web & Email standard setting presets. Click on one of the main options to reveal many different presets within it.
  3. Alternatively, you could create a custom resize process by heading to the top-right of the window and clicking on Resize. From here, you can alter Pixel Dimensions by typing into the Width and Height boxes or alter the document size itself by adjusting the values in the respective boxes under that tab.
  4. Underneath that again is a Settings tab which opens up more possibilities for image processing, whether for small images, Low-Res JPGs, Portraits, Landscapes, High Detail, or a Custom option for those that require specific tweaking.
  5. It’s also possible to use this tab to change the resizing method and introduce smoothness and texture with simple sliders. Click Done, and your image should be automatically processed.

How to increase an image resolution online

A web-based image resizer, Let’sEnhance.io allows you to upload any photo in JPEG, PNG, or WebP file format up to 50MB in size and will then automatically upscale the image by increasing its resolution by at least double its original size. There are three methods to image resizing using the site: Photo, Digital art, and Smart Enhance. Each option will also give a different set of controls to use. Photo, as the name suggests, is ideal for any image captured by a digital device such as a digital camera and offers an Enhance face details button for portraits. Digital art is anything that falls under the umbrella of drawings, illustrations, paintings, cartoons, anime, and more. And Smart Enhance works best on small images where image quality retention is the most important factor rather than upscaling to a specific size, as it processes and cleans the image from unwanted artefacts. When you’re ready, either use Auto or select Custom and choose a Factor to multiply the image size by, either: 2×, 4×, 8×, or 16× but remember that some options are grayed out depending on the type of Upscale type you choose. Then just click Start processing in the bottom-right of the window and Let’sEnhance.io will provide a download link at the bottom of the screen.

ImageUpscaler is an image enlarging site that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically increase image resolution by up to 4× the original size without making photos blurry. It’s simple layout is quick and easy to use, just click on the Resize Image Now! button and you’re taken to a new page where you can select your desired image (just be sure to turn off any ad blockers you have on your browser as this may stop the upload box from appearing, but beware distracting adverts that may include download links to products, rather than your resized image). Click Browse and then, after selecting your image, click Upscale Image. Image files must be below 1000 pixels on either side for this site to work though, which other resizing apps aren’t restricted with.

A fast loading site and no frills means you get stuck into image resizing quickly using PhotoEnlarger. On the main page simply click the Browse button and navigate to an image stored on your computer on the window that appears. Next, an enlargement factor setting appears on the page. A long blue slider offers a helpful guide to adjust the scale of the resize and can work from 100% minimum and raise up to 213% maximum. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to be precise with your scale size simply type a number between 100-213 in the number box below, or type a specific width or height size into the adjacent boxes. Then click the Enlarge! button and the site will offer four different resized images, each with bespoke settings based on the type of image you may have uploaded. Simply download, or crop and then download for your finished image.

How to increase a picture resolution on your phone

Images taken on smart devices typically tend to have a lower resolution than digital cameras. If you want to know how to improve the resolution of an image you’ve already taken, then the app Image Size might be a good choice. Image Size, available for both Android and iOS, is a simple app that allows image resizes with lots of control. Upon launching the app on a smart device you’ll notice that there are five control options at the top of the app. Click on the top-left picture icon, or in the white square in the middle, to navigate to your local images on the device. If you’d prefer to take a photo ready for resizing then the camera icon next to the picture icon will start the picture-taking process (with permission from the user). Initially, the image will be locked in a 1:1 aspect ratio, so click the chain link icon in the middle of the Width and Height text boxes to remove this. Next, type into one of the text boxes to resize the image in pixels. Alternative units of measurement can be selected from the tabs running across the window at the top, with options for pixel, greater than or equal to pixels, millimeters, centimeters, and inches. Next to the options for mm, cm, and inches are two hamburger buttons which offer up an array of preset sizes from you to choose from, which makes it easier to keep things consistent if printing for a frame such as 6 × 4, for example. Save the image to your phone by clicking the down arrow in the bottom-left, share it with others via the share button in the bottom-center, or print it using the printer icon in the bottom-right.

A nicely presented, simple user interface greets us at first launch in Photo Resizer to show us how to make low resolution pictures high resolution. Immediately we have three options to choose from: Select photo (choose this option if you already have a photo on your smart device you wish to use), Take photo (if you wish to capture an image from within the app), or File mode (if you have an image saved somewhere on the smart device but it isn’t in the usual directory). Grant the app permissions to search your device once an option is selected and then choose your desired image. From here you can choose from two preset sizes or enter a Custom size by typing into the number boxes that appear. Be careful here as there is no aspect ratio lock automatically in force before saving. Once the image is saved, navigate to the correct file directory as displayed in the pop-up window to find your image. Alternatively, you can now share your photo or resize another photo with the two options that appear after saving has completed.

This smart device app isn’t just a one-trick pony but rather offers many tools for photo editing on Android and iOS devices. For that reason getting to the resize option is a tiny bit more convoluted than other bespoke image resizers. In the main window, select on a photo or use one of the pre-existing free images as part of the PicsArt package. Next, head down to the bottom toolbar and click on Tools which has a crop icon, before clicking on Resize. A new window will appear with Width and Height number boxes in which to type your new image resolution. The aspect ratio is locked, so any change you make to either Width or Height will automatically make an appropriately scaled change to the other. At time of writing, there’s no way to disengage this. You can resize the image to any size up to a maximum of 12 Megapixels (2999 × 4000 pixels).

*The free version of Movavi Picverse has the following restrictions: you can save up to 10 images with added watermark, screenshots are disabled. Learn more

Jason Parnell-Brookes

An award-winning photographer with more than 10 years of experience. A qualified teacher and Master’s graduate, he also writes for TechRadar, Creative Bloq, and Digital Camera World. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014.