Older Google Pixel phones just got a great free photo upgrade

Google is bringing more tools to more phones

Google Pixel 7 review: phone camera close up
(Image credit: Future)
Quick Summary

Google is bringing Magic Editor, its photo-editing wizardry, to more Pixel (and Android) phones.

Previously only on the Pixel 8 lineup, it's coming to a range of devices along with other AI-enhanced image editing options. 

Google is rolling out a welcome photo upgrade for a range of slightly older Pixel phones. 

It's bringing the much-hyped Magic Editor system to all of its Pixel phones, not just those on the best phones list. Although there are some constraints that stop it from being quite as powerful as it is on the flagship Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. 

Despite the impression that some of these editing features depended on the newest Google Tensor chipset onboard the phone, it would seem that Google can in fact make them work on older hardware.

As it promised, then, it's now rolling out the software to older Pixel phones, although normal Google Photos users will by default only be able to make 10 Magic Editor library saves each month (meaning 10 images, rather than 10 individual edits on those images). 

If you're a Google One Premium (2+TB) member, though, you'll have unlimited edits, and the same is true if you own any Pixel phone, apparently.

The hardware restriction that does exist, though, is on the technical side – to run Magic Editor, your phone needs to have Android OS 8.0 or newer installed, at least 4GB of RAM, and a 64-bit chipset. Anything weedier than this, and you won't be able to run it. 

Google is also offering a whole bunch of its recent AI tools up for use in Google Photos in the latest version of the app, comprising the following list:

  • Magic Eraser
  • Unblur
  • Sky suggestions
  • Colour pop
  • HDR effect for photos & videos
  • Portrait blur
  • Portrait light: Add light/Balance light features in the Portrait light tool
  • Cinematic photos
  • Styles in collage editor
  • Video effects

That means that the in-app editing options have just taken a major uplift to make it possible to do way more without swapping to a dedicated photo-editing suite. 

Google had previously indicated that this would all roll out in the second half of May, and users are indeed now starting to report that they've got the new features on older phones, so it's worth keeping an eye out for them if you're eligible to try them out. 

It's a welcome offering, given that many of these tools were previously locked into a Google One subscription, and Magic Editor is a pretty miraculous bit of software in our experience. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.