Google not only introduced two new smartphones, in the form of the Google Pixel 8 and 8 Pro, but they also introduced a whole new generative AI powered photo editing app, called Magic Editor.
This can be found within Google’s Photos app, and lets you edit photos using the power of “the cloud”. But how does it work? Find out as we take a deeper look into this new photo editing technology.
Can I use Google Magic Editor on my phone?
Look for this icon in the Google Photos app – the colour of the icon changes. You’ll find it in the bottom left of the screen. But if you don’t have the right phone, then you won’t be able to use it.
If you have an older Google Pixel phone, such as a Google Pixel Fold, or Google Pixel 7 / 7 Pro, then unfortunately, even after updating Google Photos, you still won’t be able to access Magic Editor. It is currently a feature only found on the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro. However, as this is a software/cloud based feature, this may change.
How do I use Magic Editor?
To use the Magic Editor, you need your phone to be connected to the internet, plus you need to ensure that Google Photos is setup to backup your photos to the cloud. If you haven’t set this up, for example, or if your storage is full, then you won’t be able to use this feature. Try to select it, and the phone will helpfully tell you to backup your photos, but won’t let you backup just the one photo you want to edit (without going to a different bit to back it up).
These gripes aside, once you do have your photos backed up, you can use Magic Editor to edit and replace the sky, remove and move objects, as well as adjust other settings, based on the type of photo. Instructions on how to use Magic Editor appear on-screen, but quite quickly disappear, often before you’ve had time to read them.
If you have taken a portrait photo the Magic Editor will edit the photo for you, giving you a slightly different image. If you’ve just taken a photo and then want to edit it with Magic Editor, again, you’ll have to wait for it to be backed up before you can edit it. Even with your phone connected to Wi-Fi, this can be a painfully long wait in comparison to simply editing a photo straight away.
It’s a neat idea, but it’s a shame it’s doesn’t give more control, as the level of adjustment within the Magic Editor is rather limited, for example you can move and change the size of one thing in the photo, at a time, wait for it to be processed before you can edit another element in the photo. However, it’s likely that this will be updated by Google over time, and we should see some improvements in the future, as Google will be looking at user feedback.
You can also use Magic Eraser in the normal photo editing app, and this is easier, quicker, and more fun, as you don’t have to use the somewhat awkward feeling, and slow Magic Editor. In addition, there are a much larger number of editing options within the normal photo editor.
Here are some more examples of photos we’ve edited with Magic Editor:
The results can often be subtle, for example, in the case of the portrait edit. For landscapes results can be quite pleasing, once further editing has been applied in the normal editor. In the Lego example, the enlarged Lego figure has worked well, but reducing the size of the Instax Pal hasn’t worked very well, even with a fairly basic background.
As Magic Editor is still new, and still being improved, results should improve in time. But for the time being, we think we’ll be sticking to the usual Photo Editor for our edits. Let us know what you think! Have you had good results from Magic Editor?