How to activate Google’s astrography mode for night photos

Google developers have introduced a new photo mode, which will allow you to take photos of the starry sky without any problems. Here's how to activate it

One of the most exciting new features of the new Google Pixel 4 smartphone is its ability to take beautiful photos of the stars. The astrophotography mode highlights the great potential, both hardware and software, of the photographic department of these smartphones and is exclusive to the Pixel 4.

But it won't be any longer soon: Google, in fact, announced on Twitter that other smartphones will also be able to take photos of the stars using the same algorithms used on the Pixel 4. On these smartphones, the astrophotography mode consists of taking a burst of photos with very long exposure times, and then pulling out only one by mixing them all with artificial intelligence algorithms. At least in theory, then, many smartphones could do the same thing as long as they are powerful enough. But the very list of devices that will be enabled to do so holds nasty surprises for a good chunk of users.

Which smartphones will be able to photograph the stars

Google's announcement, however, is precise and unequivocal: not all smartphones will receive astrophotography mode. Only the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL will be able to use it, and only if they've been updated to Android 10. And it's not yet known when: unlike what some sources speculated, this feature is not yet available for the Pixel 3 in version 7.1 of Google's Camera app. In any case, it should be noted that photos of stars taken with the third-generation Pixel will not be as good as those taken with the Pixel 4: the latter model, in fact, can take photos with longer shooting times.

Also coming Live Caption

A second interesting novelty coming to all Pixel 3 models, including the "a" ones, is Live Caption. The feature that allows you to automatically transcribe the speech of audio and video files should arrive on these smartphones by December 2019.

Delusion for Pixel 2

If Google releases "astrophotos" and Live Caption only for the Pixel 3, and not also for the previous Pixel 2, it will displease many of its users. The Pixel 2 XL, in fact, is technically superior to the Pixel 3a so it would be perfectly capable of running the algorithms needed to implement both features. Finally, Android 10 can be installed on the Pixel 2 as well, so even on the software side, there's no reason to deny those who own these smartphones to use astrophotography mode and Live Caption.