Google just bought this fan-favorite feature back to Pixel phones — but Pixel 8 is missing out

Google Pixel 7 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you’ve been lamenting the loss of Photo Spheres feature on your Pixel phone, you’re in luck. Originally this feature was a staple on Google phones, launching in 2012 and lasting until the launch of the Pixel 8 when it promptly vanished. Now Google has brought it back in the latest Pixel Camera update. 

Photo Spheres is essentially an advanced version of Panorama, letting you create 360-degree images of pretty much everything. And you don't need any specialized hardware, though it does require a steady hand as you move around the object in question.

The change was spotted by Reddit user PourJarsInReservoirs, following an update to Pixel Camera version 9.2.113.604778888.19. My Pixel 6 Pro installed that same update earlier this week and Photo Spheres is indeed living in the camera app once more. 

Just scroll the camera options all the way to the right, and you’ll find it right next to Panorama mode. Pixel 7 owners should be able to find it in the “Modes” section of the Pixel Camera app, between Panorama and Lens.

google photo spheres on google pixel 6 pro camera

(Image credit: Future)

The downside is that it sounds like Google has only returned Photo Sphere to phones that previously supported it. Since the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro both launched without Photo Spheres, it seems that Google didn’t want to include them in this update.

But it’s good news if you have a Pixel 6 series or Pixel 7 series phone, and have been lamenting this loss since last October.

It’s still unclear why Google killed off the feature in the first place, but it is nice that it’s been brought back — presumably due to fan demand. The only questions we have are how long the revived Photo Spheres will stick around for, and if we’ll see it launch on either the Pixel 8 or future Pixel phones like the Pixel 8a and Pixel Fold 2.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.