Google Photos non-destructive editing

The Google Photos update to v1.17 on Android automatically saves a copy of your original photo, even if you’ve edited and saved it, without duplicating it. This means that no matter what you do to your image, including excessive cropping or going crazy with filters, you can always get the original image back, just as it was the day you took it.

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After you’ve got the update, when you edit an image and tap the Save button, you’ll see a popup saying Photos no longer saves a copy of your photo, but that you can undo edits in future. This way you can save an edited image as usual but without creating a duplicate in your album. If you ever want to go back to the original, just open the photo, open it for editing, tap the overflow menu and hit Undo edits.

Google Photos undo edits

Non-destructive editing is an elegant solution to the “doubling up” Photos used to do – keeping the original and adding a new edited version to your library. Photos now keeps the original file “inside” the edited version, kind of like how you can endlessly undo changes in Photoshop to return to the original image. The reduction of duplicates will please some and undoubtedly irritate others, as a return to the original means you’ll now lose your edited version.

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Do you prefer this self-contained method to image duplication?

Kris Carlon
Kris Carlon is a Senior Editor at Android Authority. He is a half-British Australian who lives in Berlin, travels a lot and is always connected to a laptop, phone, smartwatch or tablet (and occasionally a book).
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