This Google Pixel 8 feature just came to older Pixels for free — try it now

Google Pixel 8 back
(Image credit: Future)

You can try out a Google Pixel 8 feature on an older Pixel right now in the form of the new Magnifier app, which is available to download from the Play Store.

The new and improved version of this app was shown off at Made by Google last week, but it's not  a Pixel 8 exclusive. You can get the app on the Pixel 5 or later models, although unfortunately the Pixel Fold is excluded for now.

At its heart, the Magnifier app is a way to zoom in or out (between 0.5x and 8x) and take photos of things you can't easily see. These images don't get saved to your gallery though, which stops you from filling up your phone storage with images you likely won't need to keep for very long.

Screenshots showing the Google Magnifier app's minimum 0.5x and maximum 8x zoom levels

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

New to this version of the app is a low-light mode and an adjustable flashlight so you can use as much or as little extra light as you need to help you see what's going on. This is great if you're somewhere dark and don't want to blind yourself or others when trying to read something.

Screenshots showing the Google Magnifier app's flashlight brightness settings

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There are now also 11 different color filters to make things easier to see. In the settings, you can select which ones appear in the main app interface, giving you quick access to only the ones that help you.

You also get contrast and brightness controls in the same menu, letting you tailor your view further, a lot like editing a photo.

Screenshots showing the Google Magnifier app's filter, brightness and contrast controls

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you think all that isn't smart enough, then there's also Google Lens built into the app, allowing you to search for things related to what's in front of you.

With these upgrades, Magnifier seems even more fantastic for making Pixel phones accessible. It's a shame this app isn't available on more Android phones. Hopefully, this encourages more phone makers to follow Google's lead and make their equivalent apps just as fully featured.

If you're interested in Google's new phone, Pixel 8 preorders are available until October 12 if you want to try to get yourself a discount or free gift with the handset. You can also have a look at our Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro hands-on reviews to see our initial thoughts on these phones before our full reviews come in.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.