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Is GIMP Safe? (Maybe, Maybe Not)


Is GIMP safe? This is a good question to ask whenever you are considering downloading an app or software from the internet. Let’s talk about GIMP, and whether you should download it to your device….or not.

What is GIMP?

GIMP stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program.” Confusingly, “GNU” stands for “GNU’s Not Unix!” A GNU operating system is generally a lot like Unix, but contains no Unix code. If you don’t have an understanding of what Unix is, no worries. It’s just another operating system, and if you aren’t using it currently, don’t worry, you don’t have to in order to use GIMP.

is gimp safe


GIMP itself is a software (similar to Photoshop) that allows users to manipulate photos (think photo restoration, retouching, changing colors, graphic designing, and more). It was birthed in the mid 90’s

However, it differs from Photoshop/Lightroom in that it is free to use, and you (as the user) can make changes to the source code by downloading it and coding all you like. Further, there is no objection from GIMP to you distributing your changed version of GIMP to others (or even charge a fee for it).

Is GIMP safe to download?

Here’s the thing….the safety of using GIMP is going to depend highly upon where you download your copy of the software. GIMP itself is available all over the internet. When you search “download GIMP” more than 150,000 search results. There are thousands of options to choose from to get your download. Some of these sources will be trustworthy.

But given the nature of the software (meaning anyone can edit it and make changes to it, or add code (good and bad)), some of these sources will not be trustworthy.


GIMP is safe to download and use if you get a copy of GIMP from a source that you trust. We recommend that if you are a beginner or new to using open software like that, that you only download your copy of GIMP directly from the creator, in its most basic format. (here’s the link to GIMP’s official website: https://www.gimp.org/)

GIMP releases updates frequently. In fact, it is the open nature (and popularity) of the software among many users who are also coders and developers that keep improving the software constantly–they are able to quickly identify and then solve bugs or other problems.

GIMP also produces tons of free tutorials to help you best utilize it’s software.

In conclusion, GIMP is 100% safe to use if you get it from the developer. But if you want to get a customized version out there on the internet, there is no way to guarantee your safety.

GIMP Review: What is the difference between Photoshop and GIMP?

The primary difference between the two image editing software options is that Photoshop is a proprietary software that costs money and that you cannot change or customize, while GIMP is a customizable, open source software, that is free to use.

The other difference between the two is that the version you initially download for Photoshop comes loaded with all of the professional features it will ever have, while GIMP does not, and you have to add the upper level features you want with plugins or custom coding.

For most casual users on the internet, GIMP is going to be powerful enough to get done what you need to get done. You have access to most of the features you’ll need in a photo editing software, and there are a ton of free plugins that you can add on to your copy of GIMP (think of how third parties develop plugins for your WordPress blog). As such, if there are features in Photoshop that you want which are missing in GIMP, you can probably even add that feature on to your own copy of GIMP.

All in all, GIMP is a very attractive option for people who don’t want to spend money on a photo editing software (or who aren’t ready to just yet).

Is GIMP worth downloading (and accepting the risks, however small or large, depending upon where you get it)?

That depends upon what you need it for. Users love the fact that GIMP is free, and open source. This enthusiasm continues, despite the fact that GIMP lacks many of the professional level features that you might otherwise have access to in Photoshop. My opinion, based upon my experience and research is that it is worthwhile to try it out.

is gimp safe

If GIMP is awesome (and free), why does everyone pay for Photoshop?

There are several reasons for this, and not all of them have to do with the actual functionality of the two software products.

I would argue that one of the main reasons that Photoshop is popular is that it is marketed very well by Adobe, which is a huge, huge company with a huge marketing budget. Adobe has multiple popular software products out there on the market, and they use those popular products to promote their other popular products. Once people get into the Adobe ecosystem, it is hard for them to leave it to use a software that isn’t compatible with the other Adobe products.

In contrast, GIMP is an open source software pretty much promoted and maintained by people who use it. Perhaps if GIMP dumped millions of dollars into advertising, more people would be using it. But I can’t see how this would make sense for GIMP (or anyone else) unless there was a paid option, or ads in the product, which no one wants.

Next, I think people naturally distrust open source software, and rightfully so. There are a lot of people out there who just aren’t trustworthy, and can and do use GIMP to transmit nasty programs.

Is GIMP safe for MAC?

GIMP is available for Mac operating systems. Assuming that you obtain your copy of GIMP from GIMP.org and not from a random developer out there in the interwebs, you should be safe.


In conclusion, we think highly of GIMP as a product and don’t hesitate to call it one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop. Just remember, make sure that you only download your copy of GIMP from a trustworthy source, such as the GIMP organization itself, or a well-reviewed and trusted developer.

What do you think of GIMP? Let us know what you think in the comments!


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