The primary reason that you may decide to have a Google One subscription is to get extra storage for Google Drive and other apps, but the service has other benefits. Google Photos has now begun to lock some of its editing features behind a Google One paywall for some.

A little over a month ago, Google Photos got a redesigned editor, meant to coincide with the launch of the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. This redesign made the editor’s tools a little easier to find and use, and it also enabled the launch of new Pixel-exclusive tools like Portrait Light.

It looks like Google has plans to bring more functionality to the photo and video editor, but it seems not all of these features will be available for free. Our APK Insight team spotted some new texts in the latest update to the Google Photos app that point to “extra editing features” that will be locked behind a Google One paywall.

As a Google One member, you get access to extra editing features

Get extra editing features with a Google One membership

Unlock this feature and more with a Google One membership

Unlock more editing features and {storage_amount} of storage with a Google One membership

As tipped to XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, some have already begun to see Google Photos lock some features like Color Pop behind a Google One membership.

Overall, this is a fairly disappointing change as Color Pop has been available for free on photos taken in Portrait mode for a few years now, but now it’s locked behind a paywall. For what it’s worth, it seems that any level of Google One is enough to unlock the full suite of editing features, as the first screenshot specifically advertises the cheapest £1.59 plan.


Update 4:00pm: Google has clarified to Droid Life that the “Color Pop” seen in the screenshot above is not the same Color Pop as available in Google Photos today. Right now in Google Photos, Color Pop is only available on photos taken in portrait mode, meaning there is depth information available, which is especially helpful in making the foreground of an image pop.

The version of Color Pop that will be locked behind Google One will work on photos without depth information. Likely this version attempts to use machine learning to automatically differentiate the foreground from the background.

More importantly, this means that Google Photos will not be putting an existing feature behind a Google One paywall. Instead, it seems Google intends to create new features to incentivize Google One subscribers. We’ve striked out the incorrect information above, accordingly.


For the time being, it seems this Google One paywall for Google Photos is only being tested in a limited capacity, as we’ve yet to confirm the test on any of our devices and have not seen any reports from our readers. If you have these Google One limitations on your device, let us know in the comments what phone you have and what all is locked.

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