iPhones and Androids are getting a great free Google Photos upgrade

The Magic Eraser is no longer exclusive to Pixel phones, and that's good news for photo fans

Google Photos Magic Eraser
(Image credit: Google)

As SF author Arthur C Clarke famously said, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I reckon Google's Magic Eraser is a great example of that, but its magic has only been available to people with Pixel phones since it launched on the Pixel 6. That's changed, and you can now get the tool on Android phones and iPhones too.

There is one slight catch: it's only free if you're a Google One subscriber. But with plans starting at just $1.99 / £1.59 a month, that's hardly a deal breaker – especially if you take a lot of photos. Magic Eraser really does live up to its name.

What does Google Magic Eraser do?

Magic Eraser gets rid of things you don't want in your photos, whether that's your ex, an accidental photobomb by a stranger or an errant power line you didn't spot when you were lining up the shot. What used to take some pretty impressive Photoshop skills is now available with a swipe or tap. You'll find it in the Tools tab of the Google Photos app.

One of the things I like about Magic Eraser is that it's non-destructive: it gets you to save a copy of your image with the changes, so you can go back to your original at any time. But in most cases the magic erasure is so good that you won't want to.

Although the most obvious application for Magic Eraser is for photos you've just taken, or that you've taken fairly recently, Google also suggests thinking bigger: there's no reason why you can't scan or photograph an old image and get rid of something you'd rather wasn't in the original.

If you have a Samsung Galaxy S23 you might not need to use Google's version, as Samsung has its own version in the form of the Object Eraser in Samsung's own photos app. But for everyone else it's definitely worth a go. It's, well, magic.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).