How to Increase the Resolution of an Image: 6 Best Ways

Increasing the resolution of an image is easy:


1. Download Movavi Photo Editor.

2. Add your image to the program.

3. Adjust the width and height of the image.

4. Apply the AI enlargement effect if necessary.

By clicking the download button, you're downloading a trial version of the program.*

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Ever wondered how to increase the resolution of an image or how to enhance a photo while maintaining detail? With many software available, it’s hard to know which is the best way to increase the resolution of a photo but there are a few apps that stand out as the best when it comes to upscaling your imagery whilst retaining detail.

Quick summary

Best for increasing the resolution of a photo: Adobe® Photoshop®

Best free option for those with no budget: GIMP

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How to enhance a photo with Adobe® Photoshop®

Best for: increasing resolution and all-round image editing


OS: Windows 10 64-bit or later and macOS Big Sur (version 11.0) or later

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. It’s important to note that there are myriad unit measurements from which to choose. Next to Dimensions in the window there are options to navigate between: Picas, Centimeters, Millimeters, Points, Percent, Pixels, and Inches which aid in producing all kinds of mixed media for both print and online. We are changing the resolution of the image, so we’ll highlight the dropdown box Pixels.
  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.

You may be wondering how to change the resolution of an image using Artificial Intelligence? 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.

Pros:

  • Industry-standard image editing software

  • Has both standard and AI tools for resizing

Cons:

  • Monthly subscription only

  • May be too complex for basic users

How to change the resolution of an image without Adobe® Photoshop®

Best for: great value to increase resolution of images

OS: Windows and macOS

If you need to resize the resolution of an image using Movavi Photo Editor, 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 Size 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 Photo Editor 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.

Pros:

  • Speedy resolution resizing

  • Superb value for occasional users

  • Also available via Steam

Cons:

  • Limitations in the free trial version

GIMP

Best for: free resolution resizing of images


OS: GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows, and more

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.

Pros:

  • Absolutely free

  • Smooth operation

  • Can alter source code and redistribute

Cons:

  • Not as sophisticated as some apps

  • Results not quite as robust

The best industry-standard image editing software for increasing image resolution

Adobe® Photoshop®
Bestseller

Offers the best value photo software to resize and change image resolution

Movavi Photo Editor

Possibly the best free image editing app for users with no budget at all, loved by many in the photography community

GIMP

Preview on macOS

Best for: free, pre-installed, and speedy operation


OS: all macOS versions

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.

Pros:

  • Software is pre-installed on all macOS devices

  • It’s completely free

  • It opens compatible files quickly and easily

Cons:

  • There are limited editing tools

  • It doesn’t open every single image file type

  • Confined to macOS devices only

ON1 Resize

Best for: artificially Intelligent image resizing on a Mac and PC


OS: macOS 10.15.6 and above, Windows 10, 11 (current maintenance releases, 64 bit only)

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.

Pros:

  • Face recovery features aid portraits

  • Detail refinement processes

  • Noise removal tool for noisy images

  • Works as a plug-in for Adobe® Lightroom® and Photoshop®

Cons:

  • Sharpening features can be too strong

  • More detail equals bigger file sizes

How to increase an image resolution online

Let’sEnhance.io

Best for: web use – no download required


OS: all OS (web-based)

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.

Pros:

  • Web-based so can use from anywhere

  • Can be used by almost every device

Cons:

  • Requires internet connection

  • Processing can be much slower than dedicated software

  • Bad quality when on poor internet

ImageUpscaler

Best for: quick online image upscaling use


OS: all devices with compatible browsers

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.

Pros:

  • Use from anywhere by simply uploading files

  • Quick to operate and download images

  • Simple to use with basic upload/download format

Cons:

  • Speed depends on internet connection

  • Limited to 10 downloads before purchase

PhotoEnlarger

Best for: those who want a basic enlarger


OS: all devices with compatible browsers

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.

Pros:

  • Basic upload tool

  • No fancy editing tricks

Cons:

  • User interface feels dated

  • Only four options for enlargement generation

How to improve a resolution of an image on your phone

Image Size

Best for: image resizing on mobile devices


OS: iOS 13.0 or later, iPadOS 13.0 or later, iOS 13.0 or late, macOS 11.0 or later, and a Mac with Apple M1 chip or later

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.

Pros:

  • Available for all major Apple mobile devices

  • Good software for use on-the-go

Cons:

  • Not available for Android devices

  • User interface looks a little dated

Photo Resizer

Best for: resizing multiple photos simultaneously on mobile


OS: Android phones and tablets

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.

Pros:

  • Free use on Android devices

  • Can resize multiple images for different social media

Cons:

  • Tracks your approximate location

  • Ads on free version

PicsArt Photo Editor

Best for: AI image and video editing


OS: Android and Apple mobile devices

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).

Pros:

  • Can be used on both Apple and Android mobile devices

  • Capable of editing pictures and video footage

Cons:

  • Reported issues with image generation

  • Recently some more features have moved to the ‘premium’ version

Tips on choosing a method to increase the photo resolution

  • Decide on your budget. This is probably the most important factor when it comes to choosing a program to increase the resolution of an image. If all you need is to resize an image quickly and affordably, it might be worth considering a free software like GIMP or something that gives great value like Movavi Photo Editor. However, is there a way for software to give more flexibility when editing? Yes, and it can handle more sophisticated editing workflows as well (or you’d like to expand your skillset). A software like Adobe® Photoshop® might be the better way to go.
  • Choose your purchasing model. Is it possible to buy software short-term? Yes it is. Subscription software like Photoshop® is a great way to opt-in and out-of the software on any given month. No contracts and freedom to buy in and drop it at any point will help content creators who may not need the full functionality of software all year long. However, some users will prefer to own their photo-editing software outright and may require photo-resizing abilities far into the future, so a one-time purchase model might be better. This ensures you can download and keep your software and may even include free additional updates (normally limited to the first year or two from the point of purchase).
  • Calculate if you’ll need additional software. Will you need to batch edit photos, do you want other software bundled in with your purchase or download, and do you envisage any other photo-editing or graphic design needs alongside to boost your photo editing? It may be that you’re starting a new YouTube channel or your own brand’s website where these additional requirements are needed. If so, it might be worth purchasing slightly more sophisticated software so that you can expand your skillset as you move forward in your venture.
  • What operating system are you using? This will determine how to enhance your images and whether you can use certain software. Some editing software are available only on Windows operating systems, and others are macOS only. However, there are others which are compatible with both systems and GIMP is even compatible with Linux and other types of operating systems for use on almost all devices. In some cases, your website builder might have photo editing capabilities but you'd still want to consider a different tool for editing photos in batches.
  • Which device will you be using? To make an image higher resolution, many software will show you how to increase image resolution with helpful tutorials. If you’re spending a lot of time traveling or editing on the go, then it’s likely a smartphone or tablet will be the first port of call for increasing the resolution of your images. If that’s the case, then it may be worth downloading a dedicated app that is perfectly designed to run on that portable phone or tablet. This can improve operating performance but also can give a better user experience because the interface will be specifically designed to accommodate touchscreen devices.

Summary

Whether you need editing software to change the resolution of a picture on laptop or desktop computers, or you’re in need of mobile editing apps for smartphones and tablets to make images look better, our guide shows you how to change the resolution of images and rounds up the best software available today. Our roundup includes software and apps that are either completely free, free with ads, or available for a small subscription fee or can be bought as standalone editing software to keep forever so there should be something for everyone.

Movavi Photo Editor

Easily enhance images and get professional-grade results in a snap.

*The trial version of Movavi Photo Editor has the following restrictions: you can save up to 10 images with added watermark, screenshots are disabled.

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Frequently asked questions

How do I increase the resolution of a JPEG?

Can you increase the resolution of an existing image?

How can I increase the resolution of a picture for free?

Can you improve the quality of a JPEG?

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.

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