Google Photos for iOS adds former Pixel-exclusive editing features — how to unlock them

Google Photos on iPhone 13 showing new editing features for Google One subscribers
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

While Apple brought a number of impressive new features to Photos on iOS this year, iPhone owners may still be envious of some of the cool editing tricks in Google Photos.

A host of Google Photos editing features are now available to iPhone owners that were originally exclusive to the Pixel smartphones, but you'll need a Google One subscription to unlock them (via 9to5Google).

A Google One subscription starts at $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year, which, in addition to the editing features, gets you 100GB of cloud storage. If you are a more prolific photographer or videographer, you can upgrade to higher storage tiers that come with more benefits like preferred customer service, discounts on Google products, a free VPN and more. You can even share the storage and benefits with your family. For example, a 2TB plan is $99 per year. 

But I digress, the Google One benefit that we are looking at today is the advanced editing in Google Photos that are now available on any iOS device with at least 3GB of RAM (iPhone 7 Plus or newer) that is running iOS 14 or higher. 

Here's a full rundown of the new editing features:

  • Portrait light: Change the position and brightness of light for photos of people.  
  • Blur: Blur the background on certain photos of people not captured in portrait mode.
  • Color focus: Desaturate the background, while you keep the foreground color for photos of people. 
  • Smart suggestions: Easy to use one-tap edits that adapt to each photo's content. 
  • HDR: Enhance brightness and contrast across the image.
  • Sky: Select from several palettes and adjust the color and contrast in the sky.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

While it may not be the Pixel 6 exclusives like Magic Eraser, it's a solid collection of editing features, particularly when paired with the already amazing cameras in the iPhone, whether that's the latest iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 7 Plus. 

A Google One subscription for the editing features alone wouldn't be worth it, but if you needed a cloud storage solution as well it's a solid value with a number of additional benefits that make it worth considering even for iPhone users.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.