Skip to main content

Where did the Gallery go after the Lollipop update?

To put it lightly, Google has had a tough time communicating its photo handling strategy on Android. Depending on the Nexus or Google Play edition device you have and its OS version, you have the Gallery app, the Photos app, or sometimes both. Now with the Lollipop update hitting phones, Nexus 5 and Nexus 4 owners are noticing that their options have been trimmed down to one — Photos is now the default (and only) choice for photo handling.

So what does that mean? Well, mostly it just reduces confusion by giving you one default option rather than two.

More: Read our Android 5.0 Lollipop review

The Photos app is actually just part of the Google+ app (and therefore part of the Google applications suite) with its own icon in the app drawer. It identifies itself as a photo-handling app and can work with whatever camera app you have installed. Photos has also been updated far more often than the Gallery app has as well, meaning you're more likely to have updated design and features.

And just like before, if you don't like the pre-installed gallery app options you can always download one of your choice from the Play Store. The one big issue with this change is that unlike the Gallery app of old, you still can't disable the Photos app without also disabling Google+, which many people want to keep around. So if you do choose to pick up a new third-party gallery app, you'll be sitting with two ways to handle photos — the app you installed, and Google+ Photos. But at least you don't have a third app, Gallery, to mess around with as well. Small victories.

Now of course this all just applies to the Nexus devices that are going from KitKat to Lollipop. Other manufacturers have chosen to create their own gallery apps independent of what's available in the Google+ Photos app and in the AOSP Gallery app, and you can expect those to live on after they receive Lollipop. For people buying phones with manufacturer-customized software, expect to see Photos right alongside the other gallery app of choice from Samsung, HTC, LG or whoever made your phone.

Is it a perfect solution for handling photos on Nexus and GPe devices? Hardly — but at least in Lollipop there's one less app pre-loaded on phones to confuse users.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

124 Comments
  • Good. I hate that photos app Posted via Android Central App
  • Photos is the app that remains; Gallery is gone
  • Erick didn't read :(
  • Gallery and Mail is gone. Thanks Google! Let's put all mail into the same app with the same notification icon so you can't tell which account it is. It's Aldo really convenient to switch accounts...tap...tap...tap...tap..oh there it is. I love Android but WTF Google. Do you guys actually use all of your own apps?
  • I feel your pain. I end up buying "Nine" from Market for $10. Best exchange client ever.
  • Good post. I switched my work email account I was using in Email to Outlook.com, not my Gmail account, in order to keep them separate. Good move Google, not! I don't care if it's web-based, it appears to be a quick server, quicker than Gmail's!
  • Good post Rufus M. I switched my work email account I was using in Email to Outlook.com, not my Gmail account, in order to keep them separate. Good move Google, not! I don't care if it's web-based, it appears to be a quick server, quicker than Gmail's!
  • I use to run a screen saver from gallery now I have to find a new way. I hate using Ggogle+, Hangouts and picasa photo app. I always disable or uninstall these apps as quickly as possible.
  • The photos app is garbage. It's so slow compared to any Gallery app. I got rid of it as soon as I could on my Nexus 6.
  • yeah, my Dad's nexus 5 updated and I ended up having to find a third-party solution for him since the photo app was so awful. if you're going to nix a functional app, you better damn well be sure the replacement is fully functional and smooth like the one its replacing.
  • +1 Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Amen Posted via my Galaxy Note3 on the Android Central App
  • whats wrong with photos? i like that it syncs my pictures around my devices :)
  • i agree but i loved the gallery app because it was simple and straight to the point. the pont being after i took pics with my phone i could go to them w/ no effort. with the photo app, i have to scroll down to on device. just more steps. but i agree the photo gives you access to old pics in the cloud that you might have deleted off of your phone.
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I backed up the Gallery app from KitKat and installed the apk in Lollipop. Works like a charm. I disable Google+ and the Photo app - both garbage that I don't need.
  • Can you provide the apk file please! And will it work on a nexus 7?
  • Hey spacesurfer108, still haven't upgraded my KitKat to Lollipop on my Nexus5 for solely the same reason. I hate the new photos app and loved the old gallery one thanks to the subdividing of pictures with camera, Facebook, WhatsApp images and the like. Could you please explain how you did this? Would be eternally grateful. (Also, in non developer language?) Haha thanks a ton in advance bro. H
  • Just download this file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4kcujbxbp5xraeg/Gallery_1.1.40304.apk?dl=0. Enable being able to install apps from unknown sources, then install this APK by "touching" it in your file manager. It will install it.
  • It says that link has expired... :(
  • https://www.dropbox.com/s/n9qope44ehk30a1/Gallery_1.1.40304.apk?dl=0; download quick. not sure why link expired. didn't set it to expire.
  • It works like a charm thanks
  • Use Scene Posted from the bando
  • Use QuickPic.. problem solved.
  • Thank you! Just downloaded. This app is awesome! Posted via Android Central App
  • How do I get all my photos out of Photos/Google+ to start using QuickPic? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well you need to have the photos on your device, thats it.
  • +1000 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I used and loved Quick Pic to manage photos before my phone upgraded to the new Lollipop version. However, when I went to add Quick Pic after my phone was repaired (and wiped), Quick Pic is no longer able to access all the photos in Google + Photos. It only sees the pics on my camera roll. Is there a way to access all the pictures?
  • Jup... Quick pic is the best and the fastest Posted via Android Central App
  • +1, I tried sticking with Photos for a few days. After seeing how slow it was went with QuickPic. Love it. Photos and G+ have both been disabled on my phone :)
  • I don't think it's as much that Google has had trouble communicating its photo handling strategy, I think it's more that it simply doesn't have one, at least not an entirely thought out one. I fail to see why the gallery app needed to be replaced, as opposed to adding the features from Photos into it. The photos app *totally* sucks, to put it lightly. It's yet another Google app that I've had to turn to the market to replace because I'm tired of endless forced changes which usually come with reduced or degraded functionality. It really has be contemplating switching to a new platform, not so much that any other is better than Android, but if I continually have to change my usage habits, I might as well investigate another platform entirely.
  • Switching platforms over this seems like a bit of an overreaction. It really only affects nexus and GPE devices. Other devices have a default gallery app from the manufacture. If you think of the photos app as being part of g+ its not confusing at all. If you dont use g+ then you can disable/remove. If you do use g+ then keep it for managing what photos you backup to g+ and use another app for managing all images. As others have mentioned QuickPic is very nice and has great support. If this is too confusing then by all means go to another platform...I hear ios is very simple, might be more your speed.
  • Wouldn't necessarily switch platform JUST for this, but it's an additional thing pushing me in that direction. Availability of reasonable sized phones, a reducing reliance on Google services and just an interest in other options are others. I just think Google needs to be mindful of more long-term consistency if they want people to rely on their platform. Constantly changing features, some services being abruptly killed off entirely, etc. all serve to undermine one's faith that a given product will fit their needs long-term.
  • Very well said. Just as this may be the straw that breaks your camel's back, mine was the continuous promise of better cameras. I bought an iPhone 6 on launch day, and so far, even though iOS is horribly primitive compared to Android, so good.
  • Considering iOS and OSX photo management is currently in a state of flux as well, I wouldn't consider switching to that platform if photo disruptions are your issue! Posted via Android Central App
  • Where did my update for my Nexus 7 2013? :p Posted via Android Central App
  • 2013 WiFi Nexus is on Google developer page , just upgraded to 5.01 Posted via Android Central App
  • Is this OTA? Does it have to be sideloaded? Posted via Android Central App
  • My wife got the 5.0.1 OTA today. She never got the initial rollout.
  • same here. i got it 3pm on dec 04 est.
  • There's still hope. Haha Posted via Android Central App
  • I was forced to look for an alternative since I hated Google Photos and found that I love Carousell by dropbox. Pretty much the same as the camera roll and iCloud...fast, easy and all backed up.
  • I just found the gallery apk a while ago and now use that on my nexus 7 2013. I hate anything google+ that gets forced on me.
    I will be switching away from google for my tablet use, already have done on the phone side. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's nice. Google won't miss you. Btw the photos app does not require a google plus account so stop spreading your bull
  • It most certainly does. Check your facts!
  • Go delete your gmail account off your phone and go to the photos app. Weird... it works and your local pictures are there...
  • Photos app is garbage. Slow, clunky, and ugly.
    Why do i have to Wait for the damn app to communicate to Googe servers in order to view what's only on my device?
  • You don't. Just select On Device. But I agree it sucks big time. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I extracted the gallery app apk before I updated my Nexus 5 to lollipop and I reinstalled it. I'm not a fan of the photos app.
  • Unfortunately, with the Gallery app gone now, there isn't a way to trim videos. Gallery was the only way I found to be able to trim videos unless you download a third party.
  • +100000 I was JUST about to say this. I always used Quickpic to organize my albums and the Gallery app to view the pics and trim my videos and the Photos app to edit my pics. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • Just use the app "Quickpic" by Q-Supreme Team. Posted via the Android Central App
  • i like photos for the cloud service. i can literally wipe my phone and never back up a thing prior. esp now with lolipops more extensive restore function.
  • OneDrive is awesome on Android, try it out. QuickPic is amazing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am glad that they removed one of them.
  • I would have preferred it if they had removed photos though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm glad I disabled the gallery app and went with photos on my droid mini.
  • at least Photos gives me an "Empty Trash" option.
  • The photos app has actually gotten really good that's my go to app now a days to edit pictures. The editing tool like adding saturation, contrast, Brightness etc do the job for me.
  • Disliked the photos app until recently, and avoided using it through the desktop or app. Now I have started to prefer photos with more tine
    Don't know if it is just familiarity, or improvements. Although many features I thought were missing are in the app..
  • Meh, I still prefer Gallery. I'm still getting used to Photos app. Posted via Android Central App
  • Another vote for Quik Pic here. I with I could uninstall Photos, but keep Google+. Tying them together really irritates me. Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm happy to see Google consolidate similar apps, but I will miss the more advanced image editing tools in Gallery, that are not available in Photos app. I have been able to edit really nice pics on my N4 using Gallery, but Photos is actually not quite as powerful for me. Too bad....
  • The old gallery did tiny planets... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Fina-fuckin-ly now just trim the map/ navigation apps down and we're getting somewhere! what is there? gmaps ,navigation, places ect... And the mystery-to-me "utility" apps that like to constantly access wifi
  • Don't forget "waze" in the map app list.
  • I like Photos for most things, but I'm forced to keep sideloading the trusted old Gallery app on all my phones for two reasons. One the vendor gallery apps are over-engineered junk, and two because the damn Photos app is a pain in the ass for finding a picture quickly to attach to things like messages. I don't understand why if you go into the Photos app you can click Albums and get a nice organized thumbnail version of all your albums to find what you want. But if you go to attach a picture to a Hangout conversation, that album view isn't available and you're expected to scroll through all of your pictures in a giant list instead. A number of my albums have hundreds of pictures in them, this is easily one of the most inefficient ways for it to function. But with the classic Gallery app installed I can instead choose it and very quickly see a thumbnail listing of all my albums locally and on G+ (Picasa).
  • This. F-ing ridiculous. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I tried Photos, I really did. But.....no. Like many, Quickpic to the rescue.
    One thing I did like about Photos was that when you opened an individual picture the background went from white to black. Quickpic has just added this option, which made me very happy. I'm also trying out Picktures because...why not?
  • Another vote here for Quickpic. It's just like the old gallery but with some nice improvements. Unlike the photo's app which is pretty much garbage. Google has this way of taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back. At least their Android division. Maybe they'll get it right with "M".
  • I found editing useless. No features at all. Nearly every pic on KK got a filter and a vignette... 2-3 clicks on Gallery. Impossible on QuickPic. Snapseed has been easiest for me so far.
  • GS5 owner here, still on 4.4.4, and the Gallery disappeared on me with a recent update anyway. This is not limited to 5.0.
  • As a photographer, I keep a lot of images on my memory card. Gallery was far superior to Photos for showing them off. I loaded KK Gallery on my Nexus 9, but will check out Quickpic. Hopefully someone at Google is noticing that the reaction to this is overwhelmingly negative.
  • I need the apk to the old Gallery app. Posted via Android Central App on The Nexus 5
  • I miss the KK Gallery. Can't get it to load on the N6. I have tried 10 other apps, so far snapseed is closest to the editing features of KK gallery
  • for those who want the old gallery app back download and install this apk https://copy.com/VhxSTbgKpqeBjAAy%2Fcom.google.android.gallery3d-latest.... works on my nexus 5
  • Does anybody have a apk for the old Camera app?
  • Thank you verry much!
    Now i can upgrade my Nexus 7 to Lolipop.
    The missing Gallery apk was why i wouldnt do it,
    because the G+ Photo one will not even show pictures in full resolution.
    Not even when they are on the device. Its such a crap.
    This was a dealbreaker for My N7 2013 because i bought it for high res Photo viewing.
  • Google apps stink. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google+ doesn't interest me at all. It's stupid I need a social networking app installed on my phone to browse the pictures I take. That seems like something Facebook would do in its early days. It's actually pretty ridiculous. Separate photos from Google+ and I'd be fine with it. Thankfully someone on XDA got the stock gallery working on the nexus 6. Quickpic and some of the others have very limited editing ability and rely on whatever stock app you have installed which is why I don't use them.
  • So if I delete g+ from my phone I can delete the dumb stupid slow ass photos app ?
  • If you delete the G+ app from your phone it takes all the G+ apps with it, Photos included. Unfortuantely, that doesn't do anything to bring back the superior Galleries app, but other have posted solutions for that (galleries APK or Quikpik)
  • I tried to get used to Photos, but I just didn't like it. I tried QuickPik, it's okay, but I just searched for "gallery.apk" and downloaded it. Installed in seconds, now I'm back to using the app that I'm comfortable with. Gallery will probably never be updated again, but it works for me just the way it is.
  • The "Gallery" app has always sucked badly... can't even display nested subdirectories properly. "Photos" is even worse.... Google+ disabled means no "Photos", won't even open. Said it once, will say it a million more times: Install Quickpic and move on. Fast, free, tons of features, works with everything.
  • I'm glad they got rid of the extra gallery app. Now they need to get focused on making Photos better. I know they can do it. If the can separate the Photos app from Google+ but still make them work together like they did with Drive and their office apps, then that would be good too. It would help them update it easier.
  • Have tried quickpic,myroll and few others and the best seems to be F-Stop.Name sounds wierd but thats the perfect gallery replacement so far.Fast and feature packed.
  • The name is probably meant to attract seasoned photographers, an f stop is the measurement of one of the three most basic photography parameters: aperture. More precisely, it's a ratio that describes the opening of the iris in the lens, which helps determine how much light is let in. You'll often see max aperture quoted on a phone, e.g. f2.0, etc.
  • Try Piktures, beautiful app, Posted via Android Central App
  • My biggest issue is that it doesn't organize the way I like. The aosp gallery organized everything perfectly and I had no trouble finding a picture. Updating it to material is all I could have asked for, as I don't mind having two gallery apps on my phone. There are always alternatives but still sucks.
  • I used to use the gallery app all the time, I hate the photos app and Google+. This is just Googles way of forcing us to use their apps rather than the ones we want. I updated my nexus 5 as soon as the update came out, but will not be updating my moto e if the promised update ever becomes available. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It sounds like a cany developer could do alright for themselves by updating the Gallery with Material Design. I'd be interested, I detest Photos. Posted from the redheaded stepchild of the Nexii
  • I want the Gallery app back, would be nice if Google let us install it via Play Store. I don't do G+ even..
  • If that happens when I get Lollipop, I'll just install QuickPic.
  • Why don't you download gallery.apk from zippyshare.com or any other website it is available on most of sites.. your old gallery app will be back.. I did same thing and now my old gallery is back n m using it on my nexus 5 after lollipop update from 15 days with zero lag.
  • Great. Now let them choose between Hangouts, Messenger, and the phone's stock Messages app.
  • Neither Messenger or the "stock Messages app" come preloaded on devices anymore.
    Messenger never did, and Messages has been axed in favor of messenger.
    They are for 2 groups of people: Those who want a Google services centric app, and those who don't.
    So, yeah..
  • HOW DO I RECAPTURE ALL MY PHOTOS FROM THE PHOTOS APP SO I CAN SET UP QUICKPIC? Posted via the Android Central App
  • The thing that drives me nuts about the Photos app is that, even after a picture is synced and uploaded, you have to wait an indeterminate amount of time before you can add it to an album. Very very annoying. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This was the only improvement that I had ever directly suggested to Google(and also to HTC) for Android so I'm happy to see it go.
  • I'm pretty sure I'm in a tiny minority here, but I hated Photos and used only Gallery, so when I got my Nexus 5 updated to Lollipop i found the apk for Gallery and reinstalled it. It looks out of place compared to all the other apps which have been Lollipop-ified but it's a price I'm willing to pay.
  • Fuck you google ! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Bye bye, beloved Gallery editing features. You were so good, so customizable. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wow I am surprised so many people hate photos. I have used it exclusively since it came out. I love cloud sync and autoawesome. The on device is plenty fast for me for times when I am not in good cell or wifi coverage. I guess that is android's advantage, you can use a different app that suits your needs if you do not like the google solution.
  • I backed up the Gallery app from KitKat and installed on Lollipop. Works like a charm. I also backed up Movie Studio way back from Ice Cream Sandwich, I think. It's still the best lightweight movie editor for a phone and it's worked in all versions since. What I really hate is the PDF viewer that doesn't show the bookmarks. What a pathetic PDF viewer that have included with Drive or Docs or whatever the H e l l it's called.
  • I like the photos app. That said I used to use the Gallery App to delete photos from my device. That still left the photos in the cloud in my Google+ account. Now with Gallery gone, can someone help me - how to delete photos from the phone only?
  • On the side menu in Photos is a section called "On Device".
    I used to prefer Gallery for that sort of thing too. But, funny enough, this change made me spend more time with the Photos app...and I actually love it. Couldn't go back to Gallery now.
  • thanks. Never did use Gallery- except for the on device feature. Don't miss it at all.
  • Yeah, Photos needs some better options for organizing and editing, but it is otherwise OK. Gallery is much better. I don't get why Google can't be logical and just merge the two apps and thereby increase functionality overall. I suspect that there are political forces involved in which Google+ is to be promoted instead of something else that may compete with it.
    I don't see the attraction of QuickPic. It makes you use a third party editing app anyway, and is as poorly organized as Photos.
    I can deal with not having Gallery as long as I have ES File Explorer and Snapseed. Those are a much better solution for me as far as editing and organization. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why do people always whinge about stock apps. It's Android, if you don't like the selection of apps you've got download different ones. QickPic for example is better than most stock Gallery apps.
  • I wish I could vote this up twenty times over. I don't understand this whining either. "They are forcing more and more on us." With the removal of one app it seems to be the exact reverse, considering you can install any other app. Or maybe I've come to think too mathematically over the years.
  • it's just Google wanting to take your offline life to the online world via the photo's app. Gallery was offline but photos is highly integrated with Google's servers and the like. Not liking the forceful trend here,
  • The photo app is confusing. To see the upload you have to type #autobackup in the search bar. Setting autobackup on in Setting does not auto backup, there are little icons in Photos in the category heading which we have to enable by clicking. It has On Device but no option to view OnCloud except to type #autobackup??
  • Has anyone ever tried to extract the old Gallery app from another device and sideload it? Probably won't work though, but hey, can't say "no" until someone tries it. One thing the Photos app does that is super annoying--if you go to delete a photo on your phone, it deletes it everywhere! So, unless you go a third party route (I use ES File Explorer), it wants to delete the photos. I do backup my photos via Dropbox automatically, so it's not like they'd be lost forever, but still. Photos' feature set is somewhat braindead too, IMHO. Google has another photo editor called Snapseed, but I didn't care for it...
  • I'm actually not mad I think the photos app has a cleaner loom plus it organizes photos by days instead of a bunch of albums plus the photo backup is great! ...if you have it once you start your phone Posted via the Android Central App
  • You've got most of it backwards. You said - "The one big issue with this change is that unlike the Gallery app of old, you still can't disable the Photos app without also disabling Google+, which many people want to keep around."
    The reality is the opposite. Most people don't want Google+, but you are once again forced to have it an enable it on your device. Because, Google took away the far more functional Gallery app. If you disable Google+, as most people do, the photos app ceases to function.
    The problem with the photos app besides the Forced Google+, is the Horrendous Amateur hour layout. No albums! Seriously, is this 1994 or 2014. All my photos are on the phone in folders. The POS photos app shows them all in one gigantic album. Genius Google, Pure Genius. The problems get worse when you try and find another alternative. None support Photo Spheres. So you are forced to enable Google+ and suffer. Now matter how much Google ass kissing you do, there is no excuse for this pathetic excuse of an app.
    Then there's lollipop, with all its issues, which are too much to list here...
  • Gallery is gone.. OK.. Now all photos in same place .. but why 1. Inbox
    2. SMS App
    3. New Google messaging app
    4. Hangout
  • I just went looking for a few photos I took just before the switch happened and they are gone. Not in Photos. Not anywhere on G+. I am certain it has to do with the app switch. Anyone else have this problem or know how to locate those files? I used AirDroid to look through my files and am unable to locate them.
  • I have 2 photo icons after the update. Can I safely delete one? Thanks
  • This is easily a deal breaker for possible Nexus converts. Most people don't want to be forced a Google+ account. I sure don't. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've created some albums in the Photo app using images taken with my Nexus 4 and some uploaded to my Google+ account desktop taken with other devices. However, I can only view these on my Nexus 4 when I have a wifi connection or a good mobile signal. I live in a rural area so when I'm away from home there is no wifi and a weak or no mobile signal. So it's impossible to view any albums of images taken with another device. How can I get round this?
  • I do not like this move by Google. Mainly because the photos app logs pictures chronologically, instead of by folders, by default. Everything is just mixed together. No good. There is the Option to see photos "on device", and the folders appear, but the setting does not STAY that way. For Google to ditch such a staple is somewhat understandable--less confusion, fine. ...but I feel like I'm looking at an iPhone's Camera Roll. No thank you.
  • Hi, quite long since comments. Hudl2 has just updated self and lost gallery app. Does anyone know where screenshots are saved to?
  • Have you tried Quick Gallery? It's fast with tabbed browsing and a built-in image editor, check it out:
    https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.anrdoezrs.net%2F...