FAQs and Troubleshooting Tips
# How to install GCam? »
.apk files are Android apps. After downloading the apk file (how to find a good version), you need to install it.
Using a file manager/explorer app, click on the
.apk and follow the instructions. If you need help, see the how to install an apk file guide.
# Can't install the app (App Not Installed) »
Sometimes the installation fails ("App Not Installed", "parsing error", "couldn't install", etc). Some possible reasons and fixes:
- Remove other GCams first: Sometimes you need to manually remove the GCam app that it's already installed and only after you'll be able to install the new version.
- Version incompatible with your Android version: Google removes support for old Android versions quickly. Modders often are able to make the latest GCam version on old Android versions, but that's not always the case. If you're not running the latest Android version, maybe that's the reason why it can't be installed. Try an older version.
- Corrupted download: Maybe something went wrong when downloading the app and the apk file is corrupted. Download it again.
If you want to keep two different versions installed, you may have to use a cloned version.
If you're using an old Android version, you may have to use an old GCam version. For example, if GCam 7 is for Android 10 and you are on Android 8 or 9, you may have to use the previous version (GCam 6 or 5).
# App crashing just after being opened »
There are a few reasons why GCam may crash right after opening:
- GCam doesn't work on your hardware.
- The version you're using was made for a different phone.
- You're using the wrong settings for your phone.
- The camera2 API is disabled on your phone.
- GCam version isn't compatible with the Android version you're using.
- AppOps, XPrivacyLua, etc, may be causing the problem.
- GApps are not available.
Let's go into the details of each point.
- Compatibility with your hardware:
GCam is made for Google devices, so it only works on phones with similar hardware/software. This means that it doesn't work on most phones with Kirin, Exynos, or Mediatek SoCs, for example.
Read the how to use page to learn about the requirements.
- Wrong version for your phone:
If you install a version that was optimised for a phone that is different than yours (eg: different limitations, bugs, etc), GCam may crash on your phone. I recommend you read the how to find a good version page or try one of the suggested versions.
- Wrong settings for your phone:
If GCam was working fine, but stopped working after charging a setting or loading a config file, it's possible that some setting that doesn't work well on your device was enabled and it's causing the crashes.
Clean the app data or reinstall GCam to start fresh, with default settings.
If this happens after updating GCam and the clean install doesn't work, then the new version may not be compatible with your phone.
- camera2 API not available or limited:
In plain english, the camera2 API is how GCam "talks" to the camera sensors on your phone. Old phones and many low end devices either don't support this API or are sold with it disabled. In this case, when GCam tries to use the cameras, it can't and ends up crashing.
On some phones, it is enabled but doesn't support all features needed by GCam.
On some phones, the level required is supported, but the API itself is disabled. In may cases, this can be enabled by editing the build.prop file (root required). If you are rooted, use an app like BuildProp Editor, and add the following string:
Please note that:
- This can cause other issues (eg: breaking the stock camera app).
- Sometimes this string is already available. In that case, change it value "0" to "1".
- Version incompatible with your Android version:
This usually happens when you're trying to use a version made for a newer Android version. GCam opens, expects to see some feature available on a newer Android version, and since it's not there, it crashes.
In this case, you'll need to use an older GCam version made for your Android version.
- AppOps, XPrivacyLua, etc:
Some privacy enhancing tools/features may block access to something GCam needs. For example, if GCam can't access the cameras, it will crash.
On XPrivacyLua, for example, the "use tracking" setting is known to cause problems on phones that use camera hal fixes, so you may have to unlock it.
- Phones without GApps:
If you use a phone without Google Apps (GApps), most GCam versions will crash. Seehow to use GCam without GApps.
# App crashing after taking pictures »
There are many reasons for this to happen, but often it's caused by:
- Motion Photos: Sadly this feature causes issues on some phones. Disable it and try again (learn more here).
- Incompatible features: Depending on the hardware used by your phone, processing may fail and result in a crash:
- Sabre: Some versions have a setting to disable "sabre". It's supposed to improve detail, but it doesn't work on non-Sony sensors. In this case, disabling it should fix the crash.
- Use a different GCam: The GCam version you're using may not be compatible with your phone. Try to find a better one.
If nothing fixes the crash, I recommend you ask for help on a forum, telegram group, etc, for your phone. I have a list of forum threads and groups here.
# Can't view photos/videos from inside GCam »
Some GCam versions need the Google Photos app to display photos and videos inside GCam. If the app isn't installed, GCam will return to the viewfinder.
[Note: you just have to install the app, there's no need to login (and upload your photos to Google) or use the app.]
- GCam 7.3+:
Some versions have a setting to disable Google Photos (check GCam settings). On GCam 7.3 or newer, this setting will use your default gallery app. Since most gallery apps don't support GCam features (eg: motion photos) or expect the processing delay, the experience won't be as good.
If you don't want to install Google Photos, there's another Google app that can be used: Gallery Go. This is just a simple gallery app without the upload feature. Install it, set it as default gallery app, and the experience will be similar to having Google Photos installed. Note that you don't have to use this gallery app. It just need to be installed.
- GCam 7.2 or older:
Versions based on GCam 7.2 or older usually have a setting to disable Google Photos. This setting will use a built-in Gallery app, so no additional app is needed. Explore the settings menu to find this setting*.
If it's not available, the only solution is to install the Google Photos app.
[* On old versions, the setting is under "Debugging and tools". Uncheck "camera.use_photos" and restart the app.]
# HDR modes and how to fix over exposed photos »
Google Camera supports 3 HDR modes:
- HDR Off: Disabled (no quality improvements)
- HDR ON: Auto mode (default - fast, but quality is not the best)
- HDR Enhanced: Forced HDR (slower, but better quality)
Some versions also support "instantaneous HDR". It's similar to HDR On.
Use HDR Enhanced if you want the best quality possible, when comparing quality (stock vs gcam, gcam vs gcam), and when taking pictures in hard conditions. HDR On is fast, supports ZSL and motion photos, but quality is not always very good.
On GCam 7:
On GCam 6:
HDR On vs HDR Enhanced (look at the sky):
# Stuck HDR processing »
This issue happens when:
- You use GCam 6 (or older) on Android 10 (or newer).
- Something is limiting GCam's background processes.
For the first point, it's caused by an incompatibility between GCam 6 and Android 10+. The solution is to use a newer GCam version (GCam 7+).
If you're using GCam 7+, it's possible that your phone (or some tool you use) is limiting background processing. In this case, you need to allow GCam to run in the background and/or disable battery optimization for this app.
# Slow motion crash »
Slow motion only works on some phones or Android versions. Most GCam versions based on 5.x don't support it, but some based on 6.x do. Make sure you select the correct FPS for your phone (eg: 120 instead of 240), explore the settings menu to see if such option is available.
- Note about Android 7.x:
Older Google Camera versions supported slow motion on many Android 7 ROMs, but some phones needed an updated
media_profiles.xml file with high speed profiles. Try to find a XDA thread for your phone, maybe other users with the same phone have a solution for this problem.
- Alternative apps:
Some users reported that this feature was working on Nokia's camera.
# How to use Astrophotography »
Astrophotography is a Google Camera 7+ feature. It's part of the Night Sight (aka Night Mode) feature. To use it, go into Night Sight.
- Versions that allow you to enable Astro mode:
Some versions have a dedicated option to force Astrophotography mode. On some versions, the option is inside the settings menu. On others, it's available on the drop down menu:
In most cases the Astrophotography mode is only used if it's dark and the phone is stable. If not, Night Mode is used.
- Versions without the option:
If a setting isn't available, it's possible that it works like the original GCam app. To use it, open Night Sight and if the phone is steady (on a table, tripod, etc) it will automatically enable the Astrophotography mode. It won't work if the phone is moving.
- Exposure times and tips:
For detailed results, your phone should be stable. Using it handheld will result in blurred pictures.
The exposure times depend a lot on the device. Some phones only support a few seconds while others support minutes.
# How to use Motion Photos »
Motion Photos is a feature that records a small video every time you take a picture, allowing you to see what was happening before/after you took the picture. To see the picture/video, open the photo using Google Photos (you might have to click play/stop on the top right corner).
- Google Photos app: in order to see the video, other gallery apps only display the static image.
- GCam app with the feature: most versions based on GCam 5.x (or newer) support this feature.
- Android 8 or newer: it doesn't work on Android 7 or older.
- HDR On: it doesn't work with HDR Enhanced.
- Video doesn't play on other gallery apps, computers, or if you send them via an app like Telegram, Signal or Whatsapp.
- File sizes are bigger than usual. Keep this feature off if you don't need it.
This is how this feature looks like on Google Camera 6 (some versions come with motion photos disabled by default, enable it in the settings menu):
While taking a picture:
The UI is different on GCam 7+, but still works like before:
Due to code differences between Google's devices and other brands, it's not always possible to record a full resolution video with motion photos.
Some versions allow you to set the resolution. Some phones need one with a 16:9 aspect ratio. On other phones, it will only work with a very small resolution. Try them all if you are experiencing crashes.
On versions without a setting, it needs to be changed by the modder. Try another version, perhaps from a different modder and see if it works or report the problem to the developer.
If this feature is causing issues and you can't fix it, you should set it to "off".
# How to use multiple cameras, what's AUX, etc »
Some GCam versions support multiple cameras (main front/rear camera, wide angle, etc). Support also depends on the phone: it needs to properly declare the available cameras and allow 3rd party camera apps to access them.
If your phone has multiple cameras and you don't know how to use them, I recommend you find a forum thread or group and ask for help there. They'll be able to give you info and even suggest a fix if one is needed.
- Enable all cameras:
On some versions, you need to enable this inside the settings menu. The feature is often called "AUX" (enable AUX, etc). Aux comes from the word auxiliary [cameras]. On some versions, it's under the camera IDs. In most cases, ID 0 = main, ID 2 = wide (or secondary camera), ID 3 = telephoto, and so on.
After enabling this, restart GCam.
- Switch between lenses:
Some versions display icons on the viewfinder:
On other versions, you can move between cameras by pressing the camera switch button, usually with a normal click or a long click. See fu24's post and Arnova8G2's post where he explains how it works on (some of) his versions.
# Instantaneous HDR quality and overheating »
Some versions allow users to use instantaneous HDR or fast HDR (name differs between versions). It's fast, but it has a few downsides:
- Worse dynamic range;
- Overheating and battery drain;
- Final file might be different from what you saw;
This feature works by constantly taking pictures (frames) in the background. Then when the user takes a picture, it uses these old frames to create the final picture.
It's fast to take pictures, but it's not as good as HDR Enhanced, it demands a lot from the hardware (hence the heat and battery drain), and because it uses old frames, your pictures may show what was happening a few seconds before you took the picture.
# What is "Lib Patcher" and "Libs" »
Lib patcher and Libs affect noise levels, detail vs smoothness, colours, add/remove brightness to shadows, etc. Some GCam versions don't support either, some support one of them, and some have both. Explore the settings menu of the GCam version you're using.
- Lib Patcher: Users need to find the best values for their hardware. Different camera sensors need different values. Each user also has different preferences: some like more detailed/noisy images while others like smooth pictures.
- Libs: Libs are created by a modder and just like "lib patcher", it affects the image quality, detail, etc. The main difference is that they are ready to use and you can't modify them.
Since this is very dependent on the hardware used by our phone and on personal preferences, it's not possible to recommend a lib or lib patcher values that work well for everyone.
[ Note: If you're having issues loading libs, see Why can't I load libs? ]
# How to load and export Google Camera settings (xml/config files) »
Some versions support import/export of .xml configuration files. Check this guide to know how it works.
# Fix for black and white pictures »
Usually this issue can be fixed by changing a setting inside the settings menu and then restarting the app.
# What's "Sabre"? »
Sabre is a merge method created by Google that improves photo quality on some modes. Some call it "super resolution" because of the sharpness/detail improvements. It's used by Google for Night Sight, but some GCam mods also use it for zoomed photos and HDR+ Enhanced. Works with the RAW10 format (other RAW formats may result in black photos).
Sometimes Sabre isn't supported by all cameras sensors (eg: non-Sony sensors) and Google Camera will crash after taking a picture. In this case, the only solution is to disable Sabre (only available on some mods) and restart the app.
# What's "Google AWB", "Pixel 3 AWB", etc ? »
The Pixel 3 AWB (Auto White Balance) was created by BSG and Savitar, and uses Pixel 3's colour calibration info instead of the info from your phone. This is different from the Colour Balance options available in the viewfinder.
Other settings with similar names (Pixel 2 AWB, Google AWB, etc) are also included in some apps. Only some GCam mods come with this setting. Usually it only works with one of the "Pixel" models and sometimes it can result in pictures that look different from reality (e.g.: yellow street lights can become white).
Since results may vary from phone to phone and also depends on personal taste, you should do your own tests to see if it's worth using this or not.
# How to use GCam without GApps »
GCam requires Google Play Services to run, meaning that it will crash if you try to run it on a phone without GApps. To use GCam, you can't go fully "google free" (GCam itself is a Google product).
You can use microG, an open-source re-implementation of Google's proprietary libraries. Simply install microG's Service Core app and GCam will work.
Gcam Services Provider:
# What's "Hot Pixel Correction"? »
Reduces the number of "hot pixels" on the picture. Hot pixels are usually red or white dots in the picture.
# What's "Lens Shading Correction"? »
Fixes vignetting (darker area around the centre of the picture).
# What's "Black Level"? »
Using a custom "black level" value usually fixes pink or green photos on phones with this problem.
Some versions allow users to use custom values for each colour channel (Crimson Red, DarkGreen, Light Green, Blue). This can be used to improve results in low light.
# What's "Hexagon DSP"? »
Hexagon DSP is an image processor available on some SoCs (processors) and improves processing performance while using less battery. Leaving it ON usually improves speed, but doesn't work on all phones.
Some apks are tagged with "NoHex" or "NoHexagon". Other apps have a "allow unknown devices" setting that enables/disables Hexagon.
# What's "Buffer fix"? »
The "buffer fix" option fixes viewfinder lag on some phones affected by this problem. There's a downside to this setting: on some phones users have to double tap the shutter button in order to take pictures.
# What's "Pixel 3 Color Transform"? »
This replaces the code cameraAPI2 SENSOR_COLOR_TRANSFORM1 and SENSOR_COLOR_TRANSFORM2 with that of pixel 3 (works for the creation of DNG images). Changes colours slightly.
# What's "HDR+ underexposure multiplier"? »
This adjusts the under exposure (if auto exposure is enabled). Set HDR+ underexposure multiplier to 50% and compare it with "normal" photos. Some users use it on 0%, but you need to test and see which value is better for your phone.
# What's "Default GCam CaptureSession"? »
Android 9+ only. Used for capturing images from the camera or reprocessing images captured from the camera in the same session previously. More info on Google's developer website: CameraCaptureSession.
# What's "HDR+ parameters"? »
HDR works by merging a number of pictures. If you select "36", it means that Google Camera will use 36 frames/photos to create the final picture. Higher values improve quality, but only until a certain point and at a speed cost. For daily usage something between 7-12 is usually enough.
# "Autoexposure correction" and "Correction Night Sight" »
Controls the shutter speed. Long shutter speeds can be used for long exposure photos, but it doesn't work well on all phones and users often report crashes. On the OnePlus 3, long exposure times only work with the "Pixel 1" model and crashes with other models. Sometimes going a step up or down can help fixing the pink tint that affects some phones.
# Portrait Mode vs Lens Blur »
Some versions of this port come with these two features. Portrait Mode works better with humans and (sometimes) animals and has better edge detection. Lens blur is older and works with objects too, but it has worse edge detection and sometimes it blurs what shouldn't be blurred.
# What's "Recompute AWB"? »
Similar to other Auto White Balance (AWB) settings. Device compatibility limited.
To see the difference, take two pictures - one with this setting enabled and another with it disabled - and compare the results. Depending on the GCam version you're using, you might have to disable other AWB settings in order for it to work.
# What's "Select iso priority"? »
This is a new piece of code and no one knows exactly what it does, but seems to affect the viewfinder. Ignore it.
# What's "Metering mode"? »
This changes the way Google Camera measures the light of the scene on the viewfinder. It doesn't change the final picture, but it may affect the areas of the viewfinder that are darker/brighter.
Some versions come with multiple settings for this option. Some might work on your phone, while others won't do anything. It all depends on the hardware/software of your phone.
# How to change your phone's fingerprint? »
1. Using Magisk Manager, install the MagiskHide Props Config module and reboot.
2. (screen recording) Using a terminal app (e.g.: Termux), type
su, press "enter" on your keyboard, and grand root access.
props > press enter > type
1 (to change fingerprints) and confirm by following the instructions.
4. Pick the phone you want to "emulate".
5. After changing the fingerprint, choose the option to reboot.
# What's video bitrate? »
The video bitrate is the number of bits per second of a video. Higher bitrates, results in bigger files and better quality. Some slower hardware might struggle to play files with high bitrates. Read this wikipedia page to learn more.
Some versions of the Google Camera mod allow users to change this. Usually the default setting (or "auto) is good enough, but you can use higher values if you find video quality to be bad.
# Is it possible to improve processing speed? »
Most Google Camera modes work by taking multiple photos and then merging them to create a final photo (HDR). This takes a few seconds and during this time you'll see a "processing..." notification. The time it takes to process depends on how fast your processor is and on the picture taken, but it's usually between 5 and 15 seconds.
Usually there's 3 modes: HDR Off, HDR+ On (or HDR+ Auto), and HDR+ Enhanced (or HDR+ On).
On GCam 6:
On GCam 7:
HDR Enhanced is the best one in terms of quality, but it's also slower than the other two. If you are in a hurry, you can try to use HDR+ On (the middle setting).
Some versions let you choose the number of HDR frames. Sometimes it's called HDR Quality, HDR Frames, HDR Speed, etc. Try a lower value, restart the app, and try again.
There are some features that are more resource intensive than others. Night Sight (aka Night Mode) is one of them and we should expect some processing time. If your camera has a big resolution (e.g.: 48MP), it will take longer to process images (the solution for this is to select a lower resolution).
# What's "Face Warping"? »
Some apps allow you to enable/disable a feature called Face Warping correction. When enabled, Google Camera tries to correct lens distortion when a subject's face is distorted.
# What's JPG Quality, JPG Compression, etc? »
JPG, or JPEG, is a lossy image format. A file with 95% quality is bigger (more MBs) and retains more details than a file with 85% quality. Most default camera apps use a default quality of 80-85%. JPG quality for images you can find on most websites is usually between 60 and 85%.
It's a trade-off between quality/detail and file size: a 80% quality file can be 2MB, while a file with 95% quality can be 6MB.
I personally use 97% quality (or 95% when I can't set 97%) for mobile photography. From my tests, anything under 95% starts showing compression artefacts which are visible when I zoom in. I couldn't see difference in image quality after 97%. For me 100% quality is overkill: not only file sizes are 1 or 2 MB bigger, but I couldn't see any quality improvements.
If you value quality, use low JPG compression/high JPG quality. If you're constrained by storage space, then reduce the JPG quality.
# What's "instant_aec"? »
This is a camera2 api code from Qualcomm. There isn't much info about this, but seems to be related to AEC 3D/artificial reality (the technology itself allows us to create 3d images/videos from 2d images. Video about a camera that uses this tech: vimeo.com/282288552).
In practice, this setting seems to improve quality on some devices, but it's not available on all GCam versions or on all phones. It's up to you to test and see if you can see any differences.
On versions from Arnova8G2 we usually are presented with 3 settings that allow us to disable/enable the AEC backend:
0 - Disable
1 - Enable and set aggressive AEC algo to the backend
2 - Enable and set fast AEC algo to the backend
# Why can't I load libs? »
Warning: Libs don't work anymore on versions LibLoader posted before 2019-07-01. Read why here.
When you click on "get updates", it initiates an internet connection that downloads a few kilobytes of data (libs) and stores them locally. Since libs are added, removed, and updated often, the list of libs available for the GCam version you're using will change over time. Google's stock lib is included and used by default, meaning that the app will work if you don't download libs or if in the future this feature is discontinued.
There are a few pros/cons compared to shipping libs with GCam itself:
- Pros: Smaller apk file size; Libs can be updated/added without updating the apk file;
- Cons: GCam needs internet access (only when you "update") in order to download the lib files; This is likely to be broken in the future as modders move on to other things;
If nothing happens ~30 seconds after clicking on "get updates", it means that the update has failed. Make sure your phone is connected to the internet, that the app itself isn't being blocked from accessing it, and that Github.com isn't blocked on your network.
If everything is okay on your end, try again later: sometimes Github's API limit is reached and all requests are rate limited.
# How to fix green/pink blurred photos? »
Usually this is caused by GCam using an incompatible "model" for your camera. It's a common problem with some phone's front camera.
The solution is to change the "model" used. If one of the Pixel models is selected by default, try the Nexus 5X or 6P model, restart and try again.
# Missing or deleted photos bug »
- Portrait photos:
By default, Google Camera saves photos taken with the Portrait Mode on folders inside the main
/DCIM/Camera folder, so some GCam versions include a setting that allows you to save them on the main shared folder. The setting name changes from dev to dev, but this is how it looks like on some versions:
Sadly, this isn't stable and sometimes some photos are lost. The solution is to keep this setting off or use a version that doesn't do it by default.
- Other photos:
- If they're displayed after a reboot: it's a system problem, Android isn't scanning the storage quickly enough to show new files on the gallery.
- If photos taken with other apps also get deleted: it's not a Google Camera problem.
- If you have apps that modify photos/files in some way: make sure they're not deleting them.
- If none of above: report the problem to the developer (usually by following the "changelog" link next to the download link) or ask for help on a thread or group for your phone.
# What's DCI-P3? »
Some versions come with a DCI-P3 option. On phones with displays that support DCI-P3, it should result in photos with more vibrant colours.
To learn more about this colour space, check the wikipedia page about DCI-P3.
# Can GCam save photos/videos to the SD Card? »
No. Since Google phones don't support sd cards, Google Camera doesn't have a setting to save photos and videos to external storage.
You can try a 3rd party app though. Tasker, for example, can be used to move files between folders/storages.
# How to mirror selfies? »
This setting is only available on Google Camera 7 or newer (check the settings menu). It's not possible to enable/disable mirroring of pictures on older versions.
# How to save Portrait mode photos in the main folder »
Check this page where I talk about a setting and some 3rd party apps that will allow you to save pictures taken with GCam's Portrait Mode in the main /DCIM/Camera folder.
# Differences between GCam 5, 6, 7, etc »
Major Google Camera versions are usually released when Google releases a new phone (once a year). Some of the new features can be used with the port on non-Google devices, while others can't. Everything depends on how the feature works and your own hardware.
On Google devices, new versions usually mean new features and better (or at least equal) quality, but it may be different for people using this port. When new updates are released, they need to be fixed/improved/modified to work on non-Google devices and that work takes a while. Sometimes it's better to use an older version than moving to a new, unstable version.
To learn about new features, I suggest you check sites like XDA Developers, 9to5Google, etc, as they usually talk about what's new on each new update. New features are also mentioned when Google presents their new devices.
Some articles about each version:
Google Camera 8.x:
- 8.1: Post 1
Google Camera 7.x:
Google Camera 6.x:
Google Camera 5.x:
# Forum threads, telegram help groups, etc »
Check this page for a list of forum threads, telegram groups, and useful files/tools for this port.
# How to save error logs »
If the app is crashing and you want to send a log for the developer, check the How to save a logcat with MatLog page.