Google Camera could get a stellar astrophotography upgrade

Google Pixel 5
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Google could be poised to upgrade the astrophotography mode on its Camera app, which could boost the star-snapping capabilities of the Google Pixel 5, Google Pixel 4a, and Google Pixel 4

9to5Google dug into the latest Google Pixel Tips app update, ahead of the June Pixel Feature Drop, and found some interesting lines of code that hint at a possible 'Astrotimelapse' feature. Such an upgrade could bring time-lapse photography to people who want to snap the night sky. 

Of course, the lines of code aren't indicative of confirmed features that are definitely on their way. And there isn't much detail beyond the text "CameraAstrotimelapseSettingController" in the code. However, that's still a reasonably good indication that an upgraded astrophotography feature could be on its way to the Google Camera app. 

The information is preceded by the Pixel Tips app checking to see which version of the Google Camera app is being used. 9to5Google reported the app searched to see if users are on the version 8.2.3 of the Google Camera, rather than the current 8.2.2 version, which further suggests an upgrade to the Camera app is coming. 

Astrophotography mode debuted with the Pixel 4, offering a niche but interesting feature for getting shots of the night sky. While Google improved the low-light Night Sight on the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G, it quietly removed the smartphones' ability to use the astrophotography feature with their ultrawide lenses, for reasons that have yet to be made clear. 

There's an outside chance that with this predicted upgrade, the latest Pixel phones could see astrophotography return to the ultra-wide angle cameras. But we have no strong evidence this will be the case. 

The Google Pixel 5a is reportedly on the way soon, with the Google Pixel 6 set to follow it, so hopefully we'll see more features, not less, for the astrophotography mode as the year rolls on. 

Shabana Arif

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, she's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies.