Google Photos is working on an Android redesign that removes the navigation drawer to center controls around the bottom bar. With version 4.38 today, we have our first look at the new Search tab.

About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.


Instead of search always being accessible at the top of the screen, it will soon reside in second position on the bottom bar. The Search tab starts with a text field just underneath the app bar that still cycles through various hints to demonstrate the service’s lookup prowess.

As a full page, everything is much larger, starting with a carousel of “People” that features bigger avatars than today. Next up are “Places” and “Things,” with “View all” buttons in the top-right.

“Your activity” is a list that includes quick access to “Favorites” and “Recently Added.” In the previous iteration, “Categories” and “Creations” were combined into one long list, with the labeled approach much easier to browse.


Preferences in Google Photos are mostly unchanged, but Photo Frames for managing Assistant Smart Displays and Pixel Stands have been moved here from the navigation drawer. There’s also a minor tweak to the Upload size picker that we enabled with Google Photos 4.38.

How to update?

Google Photos 4.38 is rolling out now via the Play Store. Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: