Google Camera is an app that allows you to take very high quality photos with your phone, thanks to a number of advanced features. Google's app is only officially compatible with the latest generation Google Pixel smartphones, however you can install the camera on almost any Android device by performing a series of preliminary steps to edit some files and access root permissions. Here's how to install Google Camera on Android, to take advantage of its full potential on any model of smartphone and tablet.
Google Camera: what it is and how it works
Google Camera is an application developed by the Mountain View company, designed specifically to work with Google's Android smartphones. In particular, the app is compatible with the latest generation Google Pixel, including the Google Pixel 2, 2 XL, Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, however, it also works with the first generation Google phones, although it has a few less features and is definitely less efficient. Google Camera is available on the Google Play Store, where you can download the latest version of the app for free.
The app also works with other smartphone models, such as the Nexus, while if it's incompatible with your device, you can find unofficial but equally functional versions. For example, in the Google store there are several compatible apps that allow you to install the Google Camera in any terminal, including Huawei, Xiaomi, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola and Sony smartphones and tablets, as long as you have an Android operating system from version 9.0 onwards.
Google Camera provides users with several advanced features that allow you to take photos of the highest quality, performing a rather elaborate editing by customizing each image. For example, with this app you can take advantage of HDR+ resolution, to manage lighting even in complex conditions, apply HD zoom without blurring, thanks to the autofocus system, take portraits, night mode photos and receive useful tips to optimize each shot.
How to install Google Camera on Android without root
Google Camera is installed on all the latest generation Google Pixel phones, while on other devices you need to download it manually, provided that your terminal is able to support the application. Even though the app works fine on most smartphones, Google Camera is not designed for this purpose, so it might still have bugs, anomalies and malfunctions, but this is a problem that depends on your device.
The first installation mode is recommended for those who do not have root permissions, that is, the permissions to make changes within the native Android system. In this case it is necessary to check first the requirements to use Google Camera, in fact the smartphone must have a Qualcomm Snapdragon or Exynos processor (although the former is better and more compatible with the Google camera), as well as an Android version of at least 7.0 Nougat. However, it is preferable to own a device with Android Oreo 8.0, or even better one of the later versions.
Another fundamental requirement is the presence of the Camera2 API, an Android device setting present in the build.prop file, which must have at least a Full or Level_3 level, both fully compatible with Google's camera. On the contrary, legacy and limited permissions require an intervention within the root, with the addition of some specific packages. Google's camera application, in fact, needs these APIs, programming interfaces that allow you to interact with the operating system to work properly.
To check if your device is compatible you have to download the Camera2 API Probe app, which allows you to view the Camera2 API permissions and licenses. Then download the Google Camera APK, a package containing files in a format compatible with Android mobile devices (as is the case with .exe files for installing software and applications on a PC), and launch the app following the step-by-step wizard.
How to install Google Camera on Android with root
With root permissions, or if your smartphone does not meet the minimum system requirements, you can download an unofficial version of Google's camera. Obviously, you need to install a modified recovery on your device, which is a booting procedure that allows you to perform additional operations, interacting directly with the internal memory of the device, independently of the Android operating system.
A modified recovery is able to perform full backups, install various types of files in zipper format and access advanced features of the phone. One of the most widely used on Android smartphones is TWRP, which can be downloaded for free from the official Twrp.me website. At this point you need to unlock the bootloader, the program that manages the routine of operations at boot up of the operating system, downloading the SuperSU package that allows you to get root permissions.
Finally just restart your Android smartphone or tablet, selecting the custom recovery mode using some key combinations, for example "power + down" valid for most terminals, "power + volume up + Bixby" for Samsung, or "power + volume down" for OnePlus devices, LG and Google Pixel. After booting up you need to install SuperSU and select the Restart System option, downloading an app for editing the build.prop file such as BuildProp Editor or build.prop Editor.
Then you need to activate the app, authorize access to root permissions and set the correct licenses. If this is done correctly, you just need to restart your smartphone and you will be able to download and install the Google Camera APK package, which should work without any problems. Alternatively, you can download the GCam Tool app, which allows you to optimize Google Camera on Android, for example if the app takes upside-down photos or fails to focus the shots as it should.
Which Google Camera APK package should you choose?
In order to install Google Camera on your smartphone, you need to download a package of APK files that are compatible with the software and hardware features of your device. However, not all APK files work perfectly on every terminal, so it is important to download the most suitable files for the device in use, otherwise you may find malfunctions in the Google Camera, or you may not be able to take full advantage of all its features.
Google Camera requires the installation of specific APK packages containing some modders, instructions that allow you to modify the firmware of the Android operating system, interacting with other applications, the GUI and file systems. Various types of APKs provided by developers are available online, so you just need to find the right one for your mobile device.
A rather popular Google Camera APK package is offered by Apkmirror.com, where an updated version with support for all the advanced features of this application is offered, downloadable for free at no cost. Alternatively, you can download from Camera.it.aptoide, which provides the latest update 6.2.030, or turn to the developers Arnova8G2, who provide various versions of Google Camera APK on the portal Celsoazevedo.com, where you can find the most suitable for your smartphone model.
How to use Google Camera: all the features for photos
The Google camera allows you to take and edit photos, with HDR+ resolution and good saturation, to get sharp images, record videos in slow motion mode even with sound, use 8X zoom and edit shots for an extremely natural skin color. Also available is the portrait function, which provides detailed edges so you never lose focus, making precise images and adjusting the density of colors.
For example, you can take panoramic, wide-angle and fish-eye effect photos, a feature of Google's camera that simulates the lenses used in cinema with an angle of 180 degrees, a decidedly large field, allowing you to capture all the elements present in the horizon line. To get this effect just open the Google camera, go into the settings and tap the item More> Spherical Photo.
At this point various options are available, so you can choose the horizontal or vertical mode, tapping the outline that indicates the setting of the shot, the 360° one by selecting the item Spherical Photo, with the circle symbol with a rectangle inside, tap the Wide Angle icon represented by an empty square, to increase the view of the field, or the Fish-eye option to apply this cinematic effect.
In the same way, you can take a panoramic photo with Google Camera, by selecting the Panoramic item in the settings, then take the picture and set the circle of the lens at the white dot, until it turns blue. Then you just have to move the camera horizontally, keeping the lens stable and the frame perfectly aligned, and tap on the Finish option to save the image.
How to make videos with Google Camera
In addition to photos with Google Camera you can make special videos, for example by inserting the slow motion effect, recording videos in timelapse or augmented reality. To activate the video mode just open the application, tap on the Video item and select Record, through the icon with the white circle and a red dot in the middle. At the same time you can take a picture while recording the video, you just need to tap the Capture feature with the gray circle symbol, so the image will be saved automatically in the memory of your Android phone.
For slow motion videos, however, you need to open the Google Camera app, enter the settings and tap the More> Slow motion item, starting and ending the recording in the normal way. To increase the speed, just choose the 1/8X option. With Google Camera you can also make timelapse videos, by tapping More> Timelapse and setting the recording acceleration, via 5X mode to turn 50 seconds into just 10 seconds, or 120X mode to convert 20 minutes into 10 seconds.
Finally you can also make augmented reality videos, using latest generation Android smartphones or the Google Pixel 3 series. In this case, just open the app, select the More> Playground item, set a Playmoji (a 3D animated character) and insert it in the desired position within the screen. After that you can add text, change the size of an object or remove it, then you just need to tap and hold the icon with the gray circle, to record the video with 3D elements of augmented reality.