A new editor for Google Photos Android

On September 30, Google announced new editor for Google Photos. I expect it will eventually be available on both iOS and Android, but for now, it’s just rolling out on Android. All the tools from the previous version are available, but they have been rearranged. Plus there are a few new tools. This article explains the new layout and shows you how to use it with 3 new videos.

How the editing tools have been rearranged

The new editing tools for Android make use of horizontal scrolling. You don’t see all your options until you scroll over to the right (swipe left.) The good news is that you see words instead of icons. The 5 first-level choices are:

  1. Suggestions: When this is selected, you’ll see a row above which usually offers: Enhance, Warm, Cool. If you have a high-end phone, then when you are viewing a photo with one or more people in the foreground, you will be offered Enhance, B&W Portrait, and Color Pop. I expect that additional, photo specific, suggestions will be coming as Artificial Intelligence continues to improve.
  2. Crop: this is the same crop and rotate tool as before. It also offers Document Crop which allows you to move all 4 corners independently so as to fix skewed photos.
  3. Adjust: This is the monster. In the old version you initially just saw Light, Color, Pop. You needed to tap the down arrow to drill down into the available fine-tuning options. Now every option is laid out in a horizontal bar. The bad news is the need for scrolling, the good news is that all options are out in the open. The first section is Light, then there is a vertical bar before the next section which is Color, and last is Pop and Vignette. See images below.
  4. Filters: These are the same, one-tap filters as before. They just come 4th in line of the possible edits rather than First as they were before.
  5. More: This is where you’ll find the Markup tool as well as any other photo editing apps that are installed on your phone. Snapseed, for example, is highly recommended.


Notice the 3 sections: Light, Color, and other. You can select an option in one of two ways: drag the screen until the option you want is highlighted or tap the option you want. If you just want more or less light use the Brightness scale. If you just want more or less color use the Saturation option. When you choose an adjustment to apply, you will then see a scale set to 0. When you rub your finger left or right the setting moves to increase or decrease the intensity of that adjustment. Watch the numbers on the scale to understand which direction to move.

Photos of people have yet another section under Adjustments allowing you to make adjustments between the foreground faces and the background. Just by having faces in the photo, you will see options for Blur and Color focus. Blur lets you blur the background and Color focus allows you to adjust the saturation of color for the background. If the photo was taken with your camera’s “Portrait” feature, you will also have the Depth adjustment, which defines what is background. Only if you have a Pixel 5 or 4a will you have the Portrait light option which allows you to adjust the angle of lighting on the face.

Three videos:

Where did everything go?

The following list is of editing features that I think many people used and where to find them in the new editor:

  • Auto: Suggestions, Enhance
  • Straighten: Crop – then drag the slider or use Auto to straighten automatically
  • Shadows: Adjust Shadows
  • Deep blue: Adjust Blue tone
  • Vignette: Adjust and scroll to right end, Vignette
  • Pop: Adjust and scroll to right end, Pop
  • Document crop: Crop, Transform
  • Snapseed: More
  • Black and white filter: Filters – scroll to one of the B&W

The old tools

Just for reference, if you’re trying to remember what options you used before the new editor, here are screenshots of the old Android editing options. On iPhones, you still have the old editor and only the first 3 options: Filters, Crop/Rotate, Adjustments. Here’s a video that includes demonstrations of several of the editing features in the old editor: #643 A quick tour of Google Photos.

Screenshots from the old Android Editor in Google Photos

If you use an Android phone for Google Photos, open it up and give the new editor a try. If you still see the old editor, just wait, the new one should appear any day. There is nothing you need to do as these new features are getting pushed out, no update is necessary. For more information on the Android Editor, here is the official Google Help Article.

Leave a comment below to tell us what you think.

6 thoughts on “A new editor for Google Photos Android”

  1. Just by having faces in the photo, you will see options for Blur and Color focus.
    This feature is still not on my OnePlus 6 (Version 10) or Moto 6 (Version 9). Everything else is there.

    1. Yes, I have since learned that my Samsung Note 9 is one of the very few phones that have this feature right now. No word on when it may be coming to others.

    1. I loved Picasa too – I also wrote a book on it. But, now that I take all my photos with my phone, I much prefer Google Photos which allows me to edit the photo as soon as I take it right on the phone. It’s also fabulous that it automatically uploads all my phone’s photos to the cloud.

  2. I have just checked my high end phone, a Huawei P30 pro and none of these changes are here in Australia on my phone. I wonder why. I find this very frustrating, but am not suprised.

    1. Yes, I have since learned that my Samsung Note 9 is one of the very few phones that have this feature right now. It’s not a high-end thing, it’s specific makes. No word on when it may be coming to others.

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