Google Camera on Pixel phone

With the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G, Google introduced Auto Night Sight so that the signature feature can be accessed without having to explicitly enter the low-light mode. Some people found the automatic nature frustrating, and a new version of Google Camera this week addresses it.

In dark environments, a moon with a corner “A” appears on the right edge of the viewfinder. This button lets you turn on/off Auto Night Sight, with Google intending this feature to save Pixel 4a 5G and 5 owners from having to swipe right twice to enter the mode:

When your camera is in Default or Portrait mode and you take a photo in low-light conditions, Night Sight turns on automatically. 

However, the control resets to enable Auto Night Sight every time you exit the application. Users have to remember to disable it every time they launch the camera. If they don’t, their capture will take a few seconds longer to complete as you lose the ability to take new pictures quickly. Meanwhile, the Pixel 5 is pretty aggressive about using Night Sight even in conditions where there is enough lighting for a normal shot.

Hearing the feedback, Google Camera will remember if you disable Auto Night Sight through app closures, swipe aways in Recents/multitasking, and even force stops. 

Meanwhile, Google has tweaked the settings for “Flash” that appear when swiping down on the screen. The top row is now called “More Light” with three options:

  • Flash: Night Sight disabled
  • Night Sight: Flash disabled
  • Off: Both Flash and Night Sight disabled

Version with this new Pixel 5 Auto Night Sight behavior started rolling out on Monday, January 25, via the Play Store. It’s not yet widely available, while users can no longer manually sideload Google Camera (or the Recorder app) without first resetting the entire device due to new restrictions.

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Abner Li

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