The act and art of coloring, once reserved for children, is now seen as a form of therapy for adults, and adult coloring books have become increasingly popular. There are a few great places online to download pictures to print and color by hand, and there are some great apps for the big iPad screen too.
But where can you color on your iPhone? Whether you’re commuting to work or just want to relax on a break or at lunchtime, these adult coloring apps for iPhone can help you relax and unwind.
Recolor provides a good number of images to work with. This is a touch coloring app with a zoom feature to color even the smallest details. From animals and flowers to 3D and folk art, there’s something for everyone here. Free content is added daily, so you’ll always see a new image to spark your creativity.
There are over 10 color palettes included and you can select different shades of colors with just a swipe from the bottom of the screen. When your masterpiece is complete, you can save it to your device. You can also share it from the app to social networks or send it via SMS or email. A remarkable feature of this application is that you can scan your own images to color them or open one from your library.
Recolor is available as a free trial for seven days, and you can subscribe for an annual fee if you really like the app and use it a lot. Recolor is also available for iPad.
If you have an Android device, try these best adult coloring book apps on Android instead.
To download: Recolor (Free, subscription available)
2. Color Therapy
Color Therapy is another tap-to-fill app and also has a nice set of images. From places, people and designs to Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year and mandalas, the selection is vast. There are countless color palettes between solid shades and gradients. You start with a few basic palettes, but you can easily unlock more with an All Access VIP membership.
What sets Color Therapy apart from the background music selection are the effects you can apply to your finished images. You can add a simple frame and choose from watercolor, woodgrain, or fabric filters. You can then share your creation directly from the app on social networks, by SMS, by e-mail or simply save it to your device.
Color Therapy is available for free with many images to choose from. You can get additional color packs, frames, songs and remove ads through subscription. Color Therapy is also available for iPad.
If you are looking for a coloring book to please your child, try these coloring apps for kids for iPad and iPhone.
To download: color therapy (Free, subscription available)
If you prefer a “real” coloring experience, rather than tap-to-fill options, then Pigment is for you. You can choose from different tool styles, such as pencil, marker or airbrush. You can also adjust the opacity and size of each tool.
Pigment offers a large library of images with geometric patterns, organic patterns, and 3D structures, as well as the basics like butterflies and animals. The app has over fifty color palettes in total, at least half of which are free, and it lets you adjust the shading for each color you choose, which is a great option.
Like other apps, Pigment lets you share your creations via social media, text, or email. There is an active community within the app, so you can view other people’s finished creations and use them to inspire your own work.
Pigment is available for free, but you can subscribe to access all of its coloring books plus more color options and tools. The subscription removes the Pigment watermark from your images and allows you to save them in high resolution. Pigment is also available for iPad.
To download: Pigment (Free, subscription available)
4. Adult Coloring Book
The adult coloring book has many highly detailed pictures to immerse your creativity in. You can choose polygons and pixels in gothic and geometric shapes. The app also provides some inspiration with its images – just tap to To be inspired under any of the images to check out the ones shared with Instagram’s Hall of Fame.
You start with a very basic color palette and can unlock a few more by sharing your artwork. Zoom in to better reach the details and press the to cancel if you change your mind or make a mistake. Adult Coloring Book has common sharing options and even lets you sign your photo before sharing it.
Adult Coloring Book has a few other features worth noting. You can select a relaxing mood while coloring, and choose from options like songbirds, a babbling brook, or the seaside. You can also apply texture to your image while you’re coloring (or when you’re done) . From brick to silk to watercolor, these help give your artwork a special look. Another notable feature is the animation option – just tap to see an animated version showing how you colored your marvelous masterpiece.
Adult Coloring Book is available for free with a premium subscription which unlocks all books and palettes. The adult coloring book is also available for iPad.
To download: Coloring book for adults (Free, subscription available)
For something a little different, Colorfy has plenty of image options with some unique images like Zodiac, Gardens, Cats, and Special Dates. Similar to Recolor, this app allows you to extract an image to color from your device’s photo library.
Colorfy offers a basic color palette as well as a free daily palette to get you started, and you can easily create your own color combinations. Like Adult Coloring Book, you can get inspiration from other users who have shared their photos.
The filters available with this app are what sets it apart. You can choose to completely remove the lines from your illustration. Then apply a neat effect such as pop art, neon or bokeh for an extra unique look. Or adopt an artistic style for your image such as expressionism, surrealism or cubism.
Colorfy is available for free with many wonderful options. A premium subscription unlocks all features and provides new images every day.
To download: Color (Free, subscription available)
Lake is a unique cross between a coloring book and a journal. The focus is on relaxing through creativity, with a color palette suggested to suit your mood and artwork offered based on your preferences. All artwork is created by independent artists who receive a portion of each subscription fee, so you are supporting the artists who work through this app.
The interface is simple and uncluttered, and the tools are simple to use. You can click to color inside the lines or choose to freestyle. Apple Pencil is supported on iPad and all expected sharing options are available.
What sets Lake apart, besides the wonderful design that won it an Apple Design Award, is the ability to put your finished pieces in a journal and record your thoughts each day. If this aspect appeals to you, try these gratitude journaling apps to improve your mental health.
Lake is free with an available subscription that grants access to over 900 additional illustrations and the full journaling experience.
To download: Lake (Free, subscription available)
Have you jumped on the adult coloring bandwagon?
This activity for adults is said to help reduce stress, improve concentration and make us cope better. One doctor even has a different opinion on this now common form of relaxation therapy. medical daily quoted Dr Joel Pearson, a brain scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who offered a different explanation for the therapeutic effect:
Focusing on coloring an image can make it easier to replace negative thoughts and images with pleasant ones… This should engage the same parts of the brain that also prevent any anxiety-related mental imagery from occurring. Anything that helps you control your attention will help.
Whatever the psychological reason (even if it’s just for fun), many adults seek out coloring websites and apps. Coloring can help you relax and relieve stress or just pass some time. Do you have any other iPhone apps you love for coloring? Otherwise, all of these apps get you started for free, so they’re definitely worth a look.