The Pixel Watch is now a better remote for your Pixel phone's camera

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(Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Previously, the Pixel Camera app on the Pixel Watch could only switch between the front and back camera systems or set a photo timer. 
  • With the Pixel Camera 9.2 app update, Google introduced the ability to change camera modes from your wrist.
  • The Pixel Watch can switch to and from Photo, Video, Night Sight, Portrait, Slow Motion, and Time Lapse modes.

In an update to Pixel Camera, Google has quietly added more controls to the Pixel Watch version of the app. Users can now change the camera mode on a paired Pixel smartphone straight from their wrist, as first spotted by 9to5Google

While neither generation of Pixel Watch has an onboard camera, it has support for the Pixel Camera app. That's because Pixel Watch users can control their Pixel phone's camera with their smartwatch, which can be helpful in some situations. However, it was fairly limited in functionality.

In the past, there were two main ways that the Pixel Watch could control your Pixel phone's camera system. First, you could switch between using the front and rear cameras from your wrist. Additionally, users had the option of setting a photo timer with their Pixel Watch. Both of these features are still present, but they've been shuffled around slightly to add more camera controls. 

The Pixel Camera app on Pixel Watch is now split into three sections: camera, modes, and timer. The central list shows each section and the current toggle. You can tap each toggle to see the full list of options available. The front and rear camera switching is done with the camera menu, while the timers are set in the timer menu. 

The new options are found under the modes menu. Here, users can access all the camera modes for their Pixel smartphones that are available in the main mobile app. These include Photo, Video, Night Sight, Portrait, Slow Motion, and Time Lapse modes.

This app update for Pixel Camera certainly adds functionality to the Pixel Watch. Previously, if you wanted to change camera modes, you had to do so manually on your smartphone. For people who use their watch as a way to snap photos from a distance, this sounds great. However, others might be frustrated that the new grouping of toggles in the Pixel Camera app requires additional taps to navigate. 

The change appears to have been shipped with the most recent Pixel Camera app update, which was version 9.2. This update started rolling out last year, so you should already have it installed by now. That means if you own a Pixel Watch or Pixel Watch 2, you can try it today. 

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.