How to install GCam (Google Camera) on all Android smartphones

How to install GCam (Google Camera) on all Android smartphones

Google Camera (GCAM) is probably one of the best camera software for Android smartphones. The first version of the app was launched by Google 8 years ago, precisely on April 16, 2014, and was initially downloadable on all devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and later.

Now, however, the app it is only officially supported by Google Pixel devices, which is a real shame, considering that Google Camera includes several exclusive features that we summarize below:

HDR+ with exposure and balance controls white (ideal in low light or backlit conditions); Best shot (to select a best moment just moments before the picture was taken, such as when none of the subjects have their eyes closed); Night photo mode (to bring out all the details and colors that are usually lost in the dark, without necessarily using the flash); High definition zoom (for sharp photos even at maximum zoom); Motion Mode (perfect for capturing moving subjects, activating Long Exposure and Panning effects); Long shot (to shoot video “on the fly” by long pressing the shutter button in the default camera mode).

In addition to these, we also point out Magic Eraser, a real Google Camera/Google Photo gem that allows you to eliminate unwanted people and objects from your shots. Furthermore, the Night Photo Mode is combined with an astrophotography mode, which is activated automatically when the smartphone is installed on a tripod or placed on a very stable surface, essential conditions for taking a good photo of the sky. In this way, stars and planets will clearly stand out in the final shot.

Obviously, Google Camera also provides various tools for "expanding the perspective" by creating panoramic photos, spherical photos (best appreciated with a viewer for virtual reality), as well as classic slow-motion and time-lapse videos.

As mentioned, the latest version of Google Camera is only available for Pixel phones running Android 12 or later. By going to the download page on Google Play , users of any other smartphone than a Google Pixel will see the following message appear: "This app is not available for any of your devices" .

Not likely that in the future the compatibility will also be extended to non-Pixel devices; for now, however, the only way to access all the functions listed above is to download and install the GCam 8.7 mod (latest version available) by following the instructions contained in this guide.

What is is it GCam?

The GCam mod is nothing more than a version of Google Camera made compatible with "common" Androids, all those that cannot install the app from the Play Store. GCam contains all the options for perfect shots offered by Google Camera, the real trump card of all Pixel phones (at least as regards the camera compartment).

More than hardware, in fact, Google preferred to focus on software, providing Pixel users with truly powerful tools for taking semi-professional shots.

The GCam mod was born with the intention of allowing the transfer of this "wealth"/potential to all Android users, after the peak of popularity reached by the app in recent years. Suffice it to say that Google has almost never significantly intervened on the hardware part of its cameras, preferring rather to devote itself to improving and adding new features within the software.

On the other hand, GCam has its behind a very fierce community of fans and developers who work constantly to standardize the mod to the original app, integrating from time to time all those (no longer) exclusive options that excite Pixel users so much.

L he further premise to make is that different variants of GCam have been developed, not as many as the various smartphone brands in circulation, but almost. Some, in fact, are specifically designed for smartphones of a certain brand, even if not quite "all" (do not expect the mod to work on a device that is too old without the necessary APIs, in short).

It is also possible that not all the features are available for your smartphone or that they do not work perfectly, for the simple fact that the Google Pixels have the Tensor chipset on their side, a processor with excellent AI capabilities that demonstrates its power especially when using the Magic Eraser tool.

How to install GCam: standard procedure

The procedure we are going to describe has been tested on the following devices:

ASUS Zenfone ; OnePlus 3T; OnePlus 5T; OnePlus 6 ; OnePlus 7 Pro ; OnePlus 7T Pro ; OnePlus 8 Pro ; OnePlus 8T 5G ; OnePlus 9; OnePlus 9R; OnePlus 9RT; OnePlus 9 Pro ; LITTLE X2 ; POCO X3 NFC; LITTLE X3 Pro; Redmi Note 7 Pro ; Redmi Notes 10 ; Redmi Note 10 Pro ; Redmi Notes 11 Series ; Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra . As you can see, the list is quite heterogeneous and includes both top-of-the-range smartphones and more or less dated entry-level smartphones.

The main requirement for installing GCam concerns support for the Camera2 API; moreover, the device must be updated to at least Android 10.

Again, it is advisable that the smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon SoC : some versions work on phones with Exynos, MediaTek and Kirin processors, but usually they are subject to with some limitations.

You can download GCam from the BSG repository, one of the developers who worked on the mods, by tapping on the link called “MGC_8.7.165_A11_V0.apk” . Keep in mind that this is a beta build ("work in progress"), so it may contain some bugs, even if we didn't find any during our test.

A download completed, open the APK and authorize the installation of unknown apps if necessary. Ignore any other security warnings and proceed with the opening and installation. Done! At this point, the Google Camera icon should already appear in the launcher. All that remains is to open it, grant the app the various permissions and simply start using it!

If your smartphone is updated to an old version of Android and you don't have the possibility to install GCam 8.7, you can always try to install GCam 7.3 , GCam 7.2 , GCam 7.1 or any other mod compatible with your version of the operating system (you can find them all in the repository on the Celso Azevedo website).

If instead your smartphone meets the requirements described in premise, but you still encounter problems while installing GCam, you will need to make sure that your device has the Camera2 API enabled. For a quick check, you can download the Camera2 API Probe utility available on Google Play.

If the procedure was successful, however, you will be invited to join the BSG Telegram group and to consult the history of the various versions of GCam immediately after opening the app. For more details, support and feedback, we invite you to refer above all to the first, where you will be promptly updated also on the availability of updates.

From our test carried out with a Xiaomi 12X it emerged that all the Google Camera functions listed at the beginning they were also perfectly integrated in GCam; the only big lack, at the time of writing, concerns one of the goodies of Google Camera, Magic Eraser, for which it would be necessary to install a modified version of Google Photos (in theory, the function would be accessible only after taking a photo, by tapping on the Edit item and then on the Tools tab. So the function is a prerogative of Google Photos, rather than Google Camera). The procedure to follow to install the Google Photos mod would not be very different from the one followed to install GCam; in case you want to take a look at it, you can find all the details at this address, but we already tell you that in our case it didn't give the desired result.

It is possible that the option has been disabled in recent months from Google on the server side, although at the beginning Magic Eraser was (almost) fully functional. If something changes in the future, we will come back to update this article integrating it with all the necessary information.

How to install GCam on Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus smartphones…

Until now we have limited ourselves to illustrate the "standard" procedure for installing the GCam on all devices. It should be noted that to access the most interesting features of Google Camera it may be necessary to install a mod developed specifically for your Android smartphone (yes, precisely for the specific brand / model). By "interesting features" we mean Google's HDR+, for example, which may be missing from the mod you just downloaded. You can check for yourself by tapping the gear icon located at the top center and then tapping the More Settings button. From the menu that opens, select the Advanced item and check if the HDR + option is present; if not, we advise you to try installing another of the recommended versions that you find at this address , known to be compatible with the majority of devices on the market.

Obviously, if the version you have works fine, you don't need to keep testing. We advise you to carry out new installations only if something is wrong or if you want to unlock features that may not be present in the mod you just downloaded.

If it is so difficult to find a fully functional version of GCam, it is because Google designed its own app Camera exclusive to Pixel phones, and a lot of work is needed before the developers are able to adapt it and make it efficient on other products as well. On the site you will see writings such as Arnova8G2, Urnyx05 and BSG: these are the pseudonyms of the people who have worked to adapt GCam to individual smartphone models. Some modders take care of "tailoring" the software for a specific model, while others support multiple devices (find all the details on the developers page).

Another good way to find the most suitable version for the your device is to read the discussions on Telegram groups or on the online forums dedicated to GCam that you find linked to this address under the names of the various smartphones.

Let's assume that you are wondering how to install GCam on a Samsung smartphone: know that just try it by downloading the first of the recommended versions (this one). If for any reason you are not satisfied, you can proceed by searching the Telegram groups of developers (here the one of BSG) or the XDA forums trying to figure out which is the best version for that single device. You can also take a look at the developers page: you will notice that in correspondence with each profile there is the name of a smartphone, the same one on which that developer worked to optimize GCam. If some developer owns the same model as you, you can rest assured that this is exactly the version you should download (the same goes for Xiaomi , OnePlus , OPPO , realme smartphones and so on).

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