# 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 how to install an apk file.
# Can't install the app »
If Google Camera is already installed (pre-installed with your ROM, installed with GApps, or manually), new installations may fail. Some phones report a "parsing error" while others display a "couldn't install" message.
The solution is to remove Google Camera before installing the new one. If the app was pre-installed, use something like Titanium Backup to remove it or use a different ROM.
The version you're trying to install is not compatible with the Android version your phone is using. Many of the recent versions only work on the latest Android version.
In this case, the only solution is to use a version based on an older Google Camera base. For example, if the most recent versions are based on Google Camera 6.2, try a version based on Google Camera 6.1 or 5.3.
Check this page if you want help finding a good version for your phone. You can also keep Android up-to-date by using a custom ROM like LineageOS (not an option for all phones/users).
The apk file you've downloaded may be corrupted. The solution is to download it again, preferably using a stable internet connection.
# Black screen / viewfinder »
You may need to install a front camera fix or enable an option to fix the issue.
The GCam version you're using isn't fully compatible with your phone or your ROM. Try a different version.
# What are Motion Photos and how to use it »
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:
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.
# App crashing just after being opened »
You may need to install a front camera fix or enable an option to fix the issue.
Older versions may not work on newer Android versions (and vice versa). Try an older apk if using an outdated Android version, or a more recent apk if using the latest Android version.
Google Camera will crash if you didn't flash a GApps package. Read "how to use GCam without GApps" for more info.
If it happens after you upgraded to a new version or after changing the app settings, there's a chance you're using not compatible settings. Clean the app data or uninstall and reinstall the app again.
Using a root file manager/explorer, delete the following files (ignore the ones you can't find), and try again:
In some cases you also need to reflash an updated GApps package after removing the files. Keep in mind that dirty flashing GApps can cause some issues if the GApps you already have installed are old. A nandroid (TWRP) backup or a clean install is recommended.
Google Camera only runs on ROMs with the Camera2 API enabled and some ROMs don't have this enabled. To enable:
- Search for "persist.camera.HAL3.enabled=0" and change it from 0 to 1;
- If you can't find it, add: persist.camera.HAL3.enabled=1
If you use XPrivacyLua, be aware that it can cause crashes. The "use tracking" setting is known to cause problems on phones that use camera hal fixes, so you may have to unlock it.
# App crashing after taking pictures »
There's a big chance you're using wrong settings or a version with hardcoded settings not compatible with your phone. Sometimes it's the wrong viewfinder or raw format used by Google Camera, sometimes it's caused by features like Motion Photos using a resolution not supported by your phone (in this case, disable it and it should work well).
You should try to find a thread or group for your phone. This way, you'll learn which versions and settings are better for your phone.
# Can't open photos from inside the app »
Go to "Debugging and tools", uncheck "camera.use_photos" and restart the app.
Install the Google Photos app and try again.
# Over exposed photos »
There are 3 HDR options on most apks: HDR off, HDR+ On, and HDR+ Enhanced (HDR off, HDR+ Auto, and HDR+ On on older versions):
Try to use HDR+ enhanced (right side option). While it's slower, it takes better photos on hard conditions:
# 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.
Some users reported that this feature was working on Nokia's camera.
# Black and white pictures »
Change one of the settings (eg: disable camera sounds), restart the app, and try again.
Reinstall the app (remove and install). Sometimes settings from old versions cause issues.
# 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.
# How to use GCam without GApps »
If for some reason MicroG doesn't work for you, you can install Google Services Framework (GSF) manually, although this can result in reduced privacy. TWRP zips are available for Oreo and Pie. They install GSF as a system app and are able to survive system updates:
# How to load and export Google Camera settings (xml files/config files) »
Some versions support import/export of .xml configuration files. Check this guide to know how it works.
# 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 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.
# What "Libs" do and which one to use? »
In plain english, the libs included by some version versions affect the noise levels, detail vs smoothness, colours, add/remove brightness to shadows, etc. Usually these versions include the default lib (used by Pixel phones) and a few modified by other modders.
It's impossible to tell which one is better because they work differently on different hardware. It also depends on your preference (more noise + more detail vs less noise + worse details). You have to test to know which one is better for your phone.
If you're having issues loading libs, see Why can't I load libs?
# What's "Hot Pixel Correction"? »
Reduces the number of "hot pixels" (red dots) on 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.
# How to change the camera/lens used (phones with multiple cameras)? »
Some GCam versions support multiple cameras (main front/rear camera, wide angle, etc). Support also depends on the phone, if it properly declares the available cameras or not.
Usually you can move between cameras by pressing the camera switch button, usually with a normal click or a long click.
The order used depends on the GCam version used/device. Some GCam versions use different colours on the camera switch button (blue, red, etc) with each colour indicating a different camera.
# 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).
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 »
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.
- 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 7.x:
Google Camera 6.x:
Google Camera 5.x:
# How to use Astrophotography »
Astrophotography is a Google Camera 7+ feature. It's part of the Night Sight (aka Night Mode) feature.
There's no dedicated option. 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.
If the phone isn't moving and if the GCam mod you're using supports astrophotography, when you take the picture, it will take longer than normal. For better results, don't move the phone.
Some versions have a setting to force enable astrophotography (check the settings menu), removing the need for the device to be steady. Keep in mind that hand movements will reduce the final image quality.