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New Google Camera update revives a key Pixel feature for older phones

The Frequent Faces feature was disabled earlier this year, but it's back on older phones.
By
December 9, 2022
Google Pixel 6 and 5 series camera housings outside
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • The Google Camera 8.7 update is now being pushed out to older Pixel phones.
  • This camera app update revives Google’s previously disabled Frequent Faces feature.

The Google Camera 8.7 update has been available on Pixel 7 series devices for a while now, bringing several tweaks and a long-missing feature. Now, it looks like this update is finally landing on older Pixels as well (h/t: 9to5Google).

More specifically, the update resurrects the Frequent Faces feature on older Pixels after it was disabled earlier this year. Google quietly disabled the option in May, with company sources subsequently confirming to Android Authority that this was due to a bug. 

Frequent Faces identifies faces of people you often shoot in photos, subsequently recommending better Top Shot snaps of them. It’s also used in conjunction with the Pixel line’s Real Tone feature for more accurately capturing skin tones. Google says facial data is stored on-device and doesn’t leave your handset.

What else should you expect?

There are also a couple of other Google Camera 8.7 features landing on older Pixels. For one, it lets you double-tap the viewfinder to switch between 1x and 2x. This feature was always available on the Pixel 4 series, but 9to5Google reports that it was initially removed from the Pixel 4a onwards and on the Pixel 5 and Pixel 6 phones. Finally, you can also long-press the icon showing your last photo to choose whether pictures are saved to your default gallery folder or a private locked folder.

In saying so, one Google Camera 8.7 feature for Pixel 7 phones that isn’t available on older devices is the ability to choose a minimum or maximum shooting time for Night Sight (varying between off and six seconds). Nevertheless, we’re glad to see Google re-enable Frequent Faces after older Pixel phones went for months without it.