One of the most essential features for most smartphone owners is the camera. Because of this, Google focused on image quality when it launched the Pixel 2 and introduced new features such as portrait mode. But while the search giant’s latest and greatest got new features, the original Pixel and the last Nexus devices were left in the dust.

Thanks to the developer behind Camera NX, PixelPixel XLNexus 6P, and Nexus 5X owners can now enjoy taking portrait mode photos by merely sideloading an APK…

Camera NX has been in development for some time now and has been focused on bringing newer Google Camera features to older handsets. A quick scroll through the comments section for the app makes it clear that what users really wanted was portrait mode.

The developer behind the app made the installation and user experience extremely fluid. First, download and install the APK (found below). Then, open the Camera NX app which looks just slightly different compared to the Google Camera app icon. After that, the interface should look almost identical to other versions of the Google Camera app.

One difference between Camera NX’s portrait mode and Google Camera’s on the Pixel 2 is that the mod has to take a burst of photos to create the depth of field look. You’ll know that the effect worked when you scroll through your gallery and it states that the burst contains two photos.

Unfortunately, at this time, it appears as though portrait mode is only working when the camera app can identify a human face. While the Pixel 2 can create the depth of field look around almost any object, my attempts at taking a portrait mode photo of inanimate objects around my house with the Pixel XL failed.

At this time, we have only been able to verify that it works on the Google Pixel XL but the developer is adamant that works on both 2016 Pixels, the Nexus 6P, and the Nexus 5X. If you want to try Camera NX out for yourself, you can download the APK here (mirror). Make sure to read our guide on how to sideload apps and then let us know in the comments if the Google Camera mod works for you and what device you’re using.

Thanks for the tip, Bryce!

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

About the Author

Justin Duino

I’m a writer for 9to5Google with a background in IT and Android development. Follow me on Twitter to read my ramblings about tech and email me at justin@jaduino.com. Tips are always welcome.