Google Photos finally adds this useful video feature — it's about time

Angled shot of the Google Photos app logo on a screen
(Image credit: BigTunaOnline /

Google Photos is getting two much-needed gestures to make viewing videos a lot more user-friendly, and both of these additions have long been anticipated by users of the app.

Google is rolling out two useful features when viewing videos on Google Photos: a pinch-to-zoom gesture to zoom in or out of a playing video, and a double-tap gesture to fill the screen. Wait, hasn't this already been available on iOS for a while, you ask? Correct, but Google Photos is playing catch-up. 

While Google Photos is the go-to for simple photo-editing and its brilliant unlimited free storage (although that will be changing soon), it's been lagging behind in the video accessibility department, employing only play and pause functions.

A Reddit user started noticing that they could double-tap and pinch the screen to zoom in on the video using a Google Pixel 3. The features seem to be rolling out through a server-side update (over the web), and those who update their app to the latest version should be able to start using the feature. However, this could take a few days.

As seen on XDA Developers, the pinch-and-zoom gesture was in testing way back in December 2019 on Google Photos v. 4.33. Why it took Google this long to finally bring out a now-expected gesture is beyond us, but at least it's here to stay now.

Although, if you were a fan of Google Photos purely for its unlimited storage, that will all change over the next year. But don't worry, we put together ways to handle the end of Google Photos' free unlimited storage

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.