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GPe Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3 ditch 'Gallery' in favor of G+ 'Photos' app

We suspected it was coming ever since we powered on the Nexus 5 to find both "Gallery" and "Photos" occupying the app drawer. And now the inevitable has come to pass — the stock Android "Gallery" app has been phased out in the new Google Play edition Sony Z Ultra and LG G Pad 8.3, having been completely replaced by the new Google+-based Photos app.

It's a curious move given that the Nexus 5 shipped with a new Gallery app just over a month ago, and that Google highlighted a bunch of new editing features in that app as part of the 4.4 release. That said, the writing was clearly on the wall when Nexus Camera app was integrated with "Photos," not "Gallery" in the recent Android 4.4.1 update. The move also raises the possibility that future Nexus devices will follow this lead, though precedent suggests that "Gallery" will remain on devices that currently have it.

The elimination of "Gallery" means the new Google Play edition devices will have to make do without the comprehensive photo editing features found in the app. "Photos" offers some editing options, such as filters and frames, but nothing as full-featured as its rival. We're willing to bet these capabilities — including exposure, contrast and curves sliders, among many others — will be patched into "Photos" at some point in the near future, completing the transition from Gallery to Photos.

In any case, it's another example of the expanding reach of Google+ across all the various Google properties. And that could be seen as a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of Google's social network.


Reader comments

Stock Android 'Gallery' app is no more on the new Google Play edition devices


That's not new, though. Google's Android has been different than AOSP for quite some time. Google's Apps are proof of that.

Besides, Google invests the most in Android development. Shouldn't they have the right to define what Android is?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5

I believe Google has the right, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it applies here as well. I'm very happy with the advancements they have made with everything, and I'm still jonesing for a nexus 5 on verizon. But not everything needs to be tweeked and over done. I just think Google wants you to store all your pics to G+ for people to use G+ more. My last update added all my phone pics automatically to G+ and all my Drive content could be seen there too even though I had both settings off before the update.

Yes, looks like it. I have no problem with it as long as they leave the AOSP apps available.

agreed. we need more than just filters for photo editing.
Personally, i feel they should just roll gallery, snapseed, and photos all into the photos app.

i actually like the photos app, but the limited editing is a downer...especially with all the tools that google already has available to them.

Remember photos is practically a link to g+ which is in the market it'll most likely be updated in the store!

Posted via Android Central App via the shiny new Nexus 5 and a half

More importantly, there has been a lot of crashes for me trying to send things from the G+ Photos application.

Oh god... i would tell all my apps to open Photos automatically but the lack of photo editing functionality (or rather screenshot cropping as that's what i use most of the time) is a real kick in the teeth.

Absolutely. I tried using G+ Photo as my default photo app, but it won't let me crop screen shots. Why hasn't anyone made a bigger deal about this feature missing?

Google is likely going to update G Photos with the same features as gallery and then kill the gallery app.

Posted via Android Central App

Probably because we all use the gallery app instead. I'm sure this will become a bigger issue now that gallery is not an option.

Seems like they should have left the gallery app alone and concentrated on the Photo app and bring those editing features to the app from the beginning. It has to be a project management nightmare...

I'm liking the look of the Photos app anyway, its just annoying that...even though I set it to backup my photos SOMEWHERE, I don't know where the hell they are. I simply can't find them. I set this feature on, it said my photos were backed up, I wiped my phone later on, opened up the app looking for them and they're nowhere to be found. Luckily I use drop box for this as well but if I'm looking in the wrong place someone tell me.

Posted via Android Central App

They're backed up to Google+. You have to go to your G+ page, and then on the left hand side, click Photos, and you'll find all the pictures that have been uploaded.

Via G+ on the computer I'm guess? Because doing what you just said through the G+ app takes me right back to the Photos app, where none of my back ups are.

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If you set your photos to be backed up in the G+ app then your photos should be backed up in G+. If it through some other app then I'm not sure.

Did you just enable Auto Backup (which will back up all future photos) or did you hit "Back up all" (which will upload everything in your camera folder)?

First they get rid of the stock browser, which was better than chrome. Then they get rid of stock messaging which was hands down better than hangout and now they get rid of gallery which is much better than photos. They are making android worse, lol. The photos app isn't even in my drawer unless it is tied to an app I disabled... I suppose the unwanted google+ like everything now days. They must really rake in the ad dollars by inflating those google+ numbers. It's the only reason I can think that they would make products worse.

Ok, Google's version of Android. Let me know when I can buy a phone with stock Android on it. Until then using the term "Android" is perfectly acceptable and understood.

That's the thing, there is no more "stock" Android phone and probably will never be. If you really need those apps, they are all readily available on XDA.

I disagree.
Chrome>Stock Browser
Hangouts>Stock Messaging

I don't prefer Gallery or Photos, but I can tell you right now I don't want both on my device.

agreed...except for the messaging part. I really don't like hangouts handling my messages. I prefer textra. Anyone else have any preferences for texting?

Some of this is hyperbole, but I do agree with the gist of what you're saying. While I prefer Chrome to Browser.apk, many of the other changes have not been for the better. I miss Talk, which was completely reliable and always correctly detected whether I was using the phone or another device. I miss Stock Messaging, which supported MMS a lot better on T-Mobile US. I miss the old dialer, which had a keypad front and center. I miss the old home screen. And most of all, I miss the old keyboard - I'm still typing asterisks instead of exclamation points. How frustrating.

The number of apps I have to install to make Android "usable" by my definition grows longer by the day. Fortunately, Titanium Backup exists, but I wonder how long Google will tolerate it.

If gallery is part of AOSP then can they even remove it?? Can it still be called stock Android?

Posted via Android Central App

I don't think google even says their nexus runs stock android. These are google experience devices. Custom roms are the only way to have a compiled from source stock android and good luck not having bugs doing that.

Well said. And all the custom ROMs I've ever seen have custom mods and functionality so stock Android is practically a nonexistent thing.

If you do have a recent Nexus, it's dirt simple to build your own ROM directly from AOSP and leave out all the custom stuff. Stock Android does exist--in fact, the emulator bundled with the Android SDK runs pure AOSP. It even comes without Gapps.

It does make me slightly sad that Google is discontinuing the open source versions of so many of their products. But the fact remains that they never removed any open source code. If you compile AOSP, it still comes with the original Music app which was ugly and simplistic as hell.

Other companies like CyanogenMod are taking all the good open source bits and continuing development of them while keeping everything open. Which gives me a lot of hope for the future of Android as a base platform.

Are photos in the Photos app automatically posted to Google+ and publicly available? If not, how exactly is the Photos app integrated with G+?

I hope not. A lot of underage, nude selfies would get posted to google+ if it did I would imagine.

By default, they are made public. But luckily, on the Google+ website, there is a setting to make all photos private. I can't remember how to get to it specifically, but I know its there. All my photos are private unless I manually share them after they upload.

You have it backwards. Photos are private until shared by default.

Posted via Android Central App

All pictures are private by default. No one would use this option if they were public.

Locally stored photos can be accessed and edited in the Photos app, as well as anything stored in G+. If you auto upload photos and videos to G+, they are stored privately unless you intentionally share something publicly.

The Photos app, derived from the Google+, has lots more filtering and enhancing tools than the stock Gallery app...and you can create videos using the photos with the Photos app (on Nexus 5)

Negative... The gallery app on KitKat has the 'non destructive' editing capabilities. U can't manually adjust things like exposure, shadows, highlights, etc in the Photos app. It's more for quick edits with filters like Snapseed

Um... On my Nexus 7 (4.4) and my Nexus 5 (4.4.2) the g+ photos app has the same edition functions as the gallery app... Crop, rotate, frame, filter.

Posted via Android Central App

u can simply download gallery app from google play . and dont use G+ Photos.. simple as that.. then if song&lg see that nobody like it. then on next os update they put it back. but thank god im gonna upgrade to galaxy s4 soon. samsung would never do that..

I disable Google+ on all my Android devices, as i don't use it. with Photos being tied to Google+, am i going to HAVE to use Google+ now.?

All you have to do is type in all your personal information into it and sign loyalty to G+ forever now.
Jokes aside, I feel you, I really want to know the answer to this to. I reaaaallly don't want to use G+ services.

If you use Gmail, you already use G+ services.
Honestly, the whingeing over G+ is pretty funny. I've never seen so much fuss and kvetching over such a little thing.

If you don't like it, don't use it. NOTHING ever posts to G+ unless you tell it to. not photos, not app reviews, not Youtube reviews, nothing.

You do realize that you don't pick and choose which services your google account participates in. Long story short, if you have a google account, then you already opted in for all the google services.

"if you have a google account, then you already opted in for all the google services"
Ehhhh... not quite. in fact, not at all. If you set up a Gmail account, you don't automatically get a G+ account. You have to activate it. Ditto Youtube and most of their other services. It's a no-fuss 1-step click and you're done setup, but it doesn't exist for that service until you tell it to.

Exactly. They do everything they can to loop you in but if you take care you can keep your services without them dragging you into their g+ bs.

Posted via Android Central App

Same here. You'll have to disable the g+ photo gallery app and download a different one and make that your default.

Posted via Android Central App

He's talking about building the aosp gallery app on a Linux build environment....

Posted via Android Central App

I'm not a fan of G+ Photos because it doesn't show the folders by default like the Gallery app, that's an extra tap. Even then, you don't get to see all your photos in a specific folder (Snapseed, Pixlr Express, Eye-Fi, etc.) right away; you get thumbnails of the first 5 photos and you'll have to tap again to enter the folder. It also looks like both Gallery and Photos don't allow you to choose your app when you tap the edit button. I even went to Settings -> Apps -> Reset app preferences. This may be something that was done in Android 4.4.2 since I just updated my Nexus 4 yesterday.

Not cool. Gallery syncs photos from multiple G+ accounts. Photos+ only syncs from your main one. You have to log out, then log into a different account to see the photos on it.

They really need to get rid of the ugly News & Weather app because it's so out of place on any device! Guys, I know that many of you think the same, please, support me

Here is my take on things. Google launched Google+ as a competing service to Facebook. Most of the online public knew right away that there would be no way Google could compete here, but Google still thought they had a shot at it. Now that reality has set in, and people just aren't choosing to use it, they need to find some way to bring up their user count. So they decide to "force" people into using it. It is a little creepy when I take a picture on my Android phone, and then I later receive an email stating that the photos were automatically uploaded to Google+! I never set it up to do that, Google did. There is probably a way to shut off that feature, but this proves that Google will do anything to control as much of your personal information as possible.

Don't get me wrong, I like most of Google's products. They typically make very useful software. However, I want complete control of my personal information. I want to tell Google when they can have something and just how much they can have.

It gives you the option to turn off auto upload when you launch g+ app for the 1st time. It did with me anyways

Posted via Android Central App

"I want to tell Google when they can have something and just how much they can have."
You absolutely can do this. It's not even hard. You just weren't paying attention when you set up the phone/apps. You sound like those people who check "Yes" when their phone asks them if they want to have their contacts backed up, then get huffy when they see that their contacts are stored on Google.

+1 I don't even understand the fuss over this stuff, I love all my stuff being backed up.

Posted via Android Central App

*very* creepy. Its become so objectionable. When I wanted to buy my moto x the site wouldn't let me until I joined g+, today when I went to a YouTube video they tried more than once to link my full name to my YouTube account. At one point the pop up gave me 2 choices, opt in or not be able to move forward, I actually had to click around for a bit and see that I could avoid those 2 choices by closing the window, to which they reminded me for the 50th time, "ok, we'll ask you again later." A person has to be active in avoiding Google linking all their services together. Really gross.

Posted via Android Central App

I love the gallery, mostly for the valuable and quick editing options. Plus I never auto upload to G+ so I really wish they wouldn't push that so hard. Goog is trying so hard to integrate fricken everything into G+ just to grow its adoption. I can understand them wanting to grow it, but I simply don't want everything running through it. I loathe Facebook and will not adopt anything like it!!!

Posted via Android Central App on my white Nexus 4 with StraightTalk

There's only one problem I may have with this. Firstly, G+ photos is a closed and there's no APIs for it correct? I just want to know.
I think, Google's starting to close the system down.

Yeah, seems like it. Too bad there are not really any alternatives right now so we just have to deal with it for awhile. Given enough time maybe something new will emerge that isn't closed. Microsoft and Apple are not it.

So what happens when you swipe to the gallery in the camera app? Are G+ Photos and the camera connected like with the gallery?

Does that mean if one was to not sign into the google+ app, and disable google+ syncing. The "Photos" app will still open and view/edit your local photos?

I have no issue with the google+ app, but this is basically what all these commenters are wondering..

I have disabled google+ which removes the Photos app from your app drawer. When you take a picture with the camera and you use that little quick view icon within the camera app it will open the Photos app to show you a preview even though Google+ is disabled. So, some part of the photos app remains active or is somehow baked into the camera app. I have not signed into nor so I use google+ at all.

I'm running 4.4.1 with CM11 and it's still the "Gallery" when I swipe from the Camera... is this something that needs to be implemented or have an update to gapps?

If Google is going to eliminate the Gallery, isn't Photos going to have to be open sourced as part of the camera.apk?

Hmmm... You are starting to scare me Google. Forcibly shoehorning all your services into android can only go so far before the line is crossed.

They crossed the line when they shoehorned the masses into g+ and now you Google someone and a list of their family members show up. Or when my sister emails someone and her photo then shows up in their phone.

Posted via Android Central App

I really hate being forced into using Google + for anything. I have no need or desire to use a social network and Google forcing me to is further pushing me towards alternatives.

Posted via Android Central App

This was expected, and unfortunate, but not the end of the world.
* Google wants to bundle Google+ on every device possible, like they bundle the Launcher with Search, in order to make the bundle co-feature indispensable
* Google doesn't care about you playing with Contrast and Exposure sliders, they want you to use Auto-Awesome which not only works (so-so), but it is also baked into Google+
* Google wants you to share all your content, to make their storage space indispensable and the first natural choice. Gallery did not have auto-upload
* Google wants to control that no other storages are available in your Gallery. Though Samsung always bakes Facebook storage in their Gallery, and HTC does that with Flickr.

The end result would be that Google Photos will get much more features and improvements (most of them, server-based) in the future. So I am excited about this.

My friend has an HTC OneS and she accidentally clicked Photos>Always> to open up a picture sent to her via Text. She couldn't see the picture.It said no photo found. She couldn't see any of her pictures in her gallery when trying to open with Photos. I had to uninstall photos from her phone so she could open up her pictures again. So It either isn't compatible with all photo types or something was set up wrong on her phone. But after that I decided I wouldn't even try photos...

lol You're actually doing it WAY wrong...

You can clear the defaults in Settings, and you could have always just launched the regular Gallery app anyway. No need to take unnecessary extreme measures and make an uninformed stance.

Kinda like "I couldn't find the DIALER so I took the phone back. Piece of s@#t!!"

What I dislike most about the Photos app on my Moto X (4.4) is that if you have Photos set up as the default photo viewer that opens when you swipe left from the Camera app, the Photos app does not have a delete button (trash can) available. Therefore, you can't easily delete a photo that you just took. You have to back out of single-photo view, then tap back into the photo you just took, and only then does the delete button appear.

Contrarily, on my Nexus 5 (4.4.2), the Photos app does make the delete button available immediately after swiping left from the Camera app.

And yes, in the Photos app, I miss all of the manual controls present in the Gallery app. Therefore, I have Gallery set up as the default viewer from Camera on both my Moto X and Nexus 5.

But, I do use Photos when I want to manage photos in Google+ -- and also for Photo's totally awesome Auto Awesome Movie feature. Auto Awesome Movie kills!

I grow more frustrated as I am one that doesn't use (and refuses to use) most social media. ESPN will not be getting a renewal payment of $80-100 this year to be a member of ESPN Insider because they now require I have a Facebook account to post comments. I also no longer pay for other news and media outlet subscriptions that require me to fork over more personal information. If google continues down this road then I'll be looking at stand alone apps that allow me to have the control without giving up privacy and when that is gone then I'll likely be off the platform entirely and on to Linux or something else...


Considering Gallery quit working on my SG4 over a month ago and no one can seem to find a fix for it, it's no great loss to see that they're fazing it out. I imagine it will be gone like the dodo in the new Android OS's as well eventually.

Maybe I am missing something, but I do not want g+ involved with my photos.

Is it a separate app or is it cloud crop with g+

My phone can beat up your phone. It's bigger, badder and has more moves. If worse comes to worse, it also comes with a sword.

I'm probably the minority here but I despise G+ and having to go through it to deal with my photos annoys me. I want a choice in the matter. Maybe I'm interpreting this all wrong so correct me if I am. If I am not the type to use our care about social media and having all my stuff on the cloud am I becoming phased out of the pure "Google experience" phones? Forgive me as I've really not been keeping up for the last five months.

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Hi @ll,

All what we need ( including myself) is the 10 steps how to keep Google private and not sharing every little crumb.

That would be nice to share.......we will wait while you make a sticky !!

Thank you, Gracia, Merci, Danke !!

I really hope they add photo strip view to the Photos app and then I might forgive them.

I 100% agree with you! I've been a tried and true android fanboy since it came out (I started on the Eris), but android has been dying of the cancer they call google+ and it's infectious integration. I tried to hang in there, but my last two phones were and n4 and then the moto x and things were getting worse so I finally gave up and tried my first apple device. I'm happy with it, it's far better than 4.4 in stability and in freedom from a social networking driven platform. I say 4.4 because earlier versions of android were close to perfection for my uses. I like how I'm not getting random reboots, losing bluetooth, and have a Normal functioning texting app/Dialer/camera with the option to or not to integrate it into a social network...plus if I were to do so, I can choose the one I want instead of being forced to use g+. It was more than just not liking the phones, with the device uploading everything and disabling those functions would cripple some apps it came to the point I started to not trust the device. I always thought to myself, what's public, what's not..did I remember all the privacy setting, are there any new ones since I haven't checked in awhile. I'm just done, it's android, not a Facebook phone. There are plenty of really good things I miss about android, but I'm done with android unless google+ gets out of it.

The only thing that seems stupid to me is that I can't see my Auto Backup folder, like I do in the Gallery app.

"And that could be seen as a good or a bad thing depending on your opinion of Google's social network."

It's neither an opinion nor limited to Google that "social" networks, who profit from advertisment revenue while empowering the loss of privacy and leading people on in a virtual emptiness filled with unmanageably long "friend" lists are questionworthy!

Shit move by Google

In the folder view, Photos app doesnt even show half of the folders that I have on my Nexus 5.

Even Google's own phone used to have the Gallery, like the XT890 from Motorola (mobile division) which Google bought... By the way, I can't remember how did I disable g+ plus app from my mobile because at the begging was annoying to upload every single photo, so now, I want to find out if I can choose if I want to upload or not, which by the way now that I decided to try picasa. google suggested me to backup all my photos, so now... I updated G+ app and appeared even as installed but I in the app list in config says disable, I uninstalled updates to see if I could find an enable and now its gone again... any ideas?

We were also highly irritated by the fact that there was no gallery app present on the Android L update. The photos app is not up to the mark for viewing of images. It does not show the folders in Grid view, so it is difficult to navigate. We tried some other apps already available on Google Play (like KK Gallery and QuickPic), but it was not up to the mark and kept crashing. Therefore, we used the earlier API of Google and modified it to suit Android L. The app can be used for viewing all pictures and videos on your device as well as networks such as picassa, hangouts, whatsApp etc. You can download it for free from Google Play by searching for IntelliPic. We would love to hear your feedback though.