Following the Play Store and other first-party apps, Google Photos for Android is rolling out a Material Theme account switcher. Unlike those clients, this new UI element neatly incorporates a redesigned backup upload indicator.

Update 12/12: Two days later, the new Google Photos backup switcher is widely rolling out, and features an introductory prompt about how “You can check the status of your backup anytime from here.”


Your profile icon now appears at the right of the Photos search field. Google One status is noted if you’re a member with the standard four-part ring. This Material Theme account switcher replaces the overflow menu that allowed you to select multiple items, change layout, and “Create new” albums, prints, movies, and more.

Fortunately, the underlying functionality remains accessible through other methods — tap-and-hold and pinch-to-zoom, while the Cast icon appears right next to it.

Clicking your avatar opens an account switcher that’s similar to other apps, but customized. Instead of all your on-device accounts being immediately listed, only the one active is visible. A dropdown presents others and lets you access “Use without an account.”

At the bottom is your current upload status and ability to “Free up” photos and videos that “have been safely backed up to your Google account.” There is where the Google Photos Material Theme account switcher gets particularly elegant.

As media is backed up, a blue ring appears around your profile image to note the status. There’s also an upload icon in the bottom-right corner. It’s very subtle and quite a clever solution to integrate together.

The new Google Photos backup switcher is so far live on only one of our devices (Pixel 4) after updating to version 4.33 from the Play Store yesterday. A server-side component that’s not widely rolled out is required.

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