A full, desktop-class version of Photoshop on iOS has been one of the most hotly anticipated creative apps for designers and artists since the original iPad’s introduction in 2010. In the years since, competitors have released their own products hoping to fill the void, but can’t offer true integration with Creative Cloud that existing Photoshop customer have come to expect. Today at 2018’s Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles, Adobe is answering the requests of the creative community by previewing what it calls real Photoshop CC for iPad.

In earlier Creative Cloud mobile products, Adobe focused on bringing specific features of Photoshop to iOS users. Photoshop Express, Sketch, Mix, and Fix each offered limited functionality bound by previous performance ceilings of mobile hardware. Adobe says the capabilities of modern tablets and phones are what enabled them to untether Photoshop’s full power from the desktop.

In an early preview of the software, Adobe demoed manipulating a heavy, multi-layer PSD file on an iPad Pro with ease, effortlessly applying effects and making edits in real time. Integration between the app and an Apple Pencil allowed for efficient retouching, erasing, and duplicating of objects.

Just like on the desktop, a full toolbar and layer management interface will be available with the same tools, filters, adjustments, and masking options you’ve come to know. These features have been implemented in a new user interface optimized for the iPad’s size and multi-touch display, but appear to respect much of the muscle memory built by longtime Photoshop users.

Edits made to PSD files on an iPad will seamlessly sync via Creative Cloud to the desktop version of Photoshop, where the same file can be opened and adjusted. Since both applications share a code base, no exporting, converting, or adjusting is required when moving between devices. This seamless syncing is made possible by Cloud Documents, another new piece of the Creative Cloud puzzle.

In order to ship a 1.0 quickly, Photoshop CC for iPad will debut with a smaller set of core features initially and the rest will be added back over time. Adobe hasn’t established a timeline for when we can expect this migration to be complete.

In addition to the iOS version, Photoshop CC on the desktop received significant improvements today, including an improved Content-Aware Fill experience and a new Frame Tool for easy masking and resizing of images. The introduction of a feature called Symmetry Painting allows for the creation of mirrored brush strokes along a symmetry axis.

Finally, Photoshop’s undo shortcut has been modernized. No longer will users need to remember the unusual Command-Option-Z shortcut to step back beyond the most recent change. These changes, along with many more features ship today, and cloud syncing of PSDs will follow in the future. A full list of improvements is available on Adobe’s website.

Those wishing to learn more about Photoshop CC for iPad can sign up for updates. iPad users may also be interested in Project Gemini, an upcoming dedicated drawing and painting app that Adobe says will “enable you to create digital art that was impossible before.” We’ve detailed the app in a separate post here along with all of Adobe’s other Creative Cloud announcements this morning.

Finally, be sure to check out our exclusive first look at Adobe’s new Creative Cloud illustration style, and stay tuned to 9to5Mac this week for more on-location coverage of Adobe MAX.

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About the Author

Michael Steeber

Michael is a Creative Editor who covered Apple Retail and design on 9to5Mac. His stories highlighted the work of talented artists, designers, and customers through a unique lens of architecture, creativity, and community.

Contact Michael on Twitter to share Apple Retail, design, and history stories: @MichaelSteeber