Update Wednesday went by a bit quietly with relatively few rollouts. However, the tail end of the day brought a bump to the Photos app with a lot of unusual and interesting changes. There are plenty of visual tweaks throughout the app, not to mention a couple of new features. Auto-generated movies now support custom music and there are some improvements to folder management and SD card support, such as it is. As always, hit the bottom of the post for download links.

What's New

Official Changelog: (summarized from Google's post)

  • Provide your own music for automatically generated movies
  • Folder renaming and partial SD card support
  • Replaced the FAB that launched Search with a search bar
  • New search interface
  • Many other small visual tweaks

Substitute Your Own Music in Generated Movies

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Photos, like many other apps and services that have cropped up over recent years, is pretty awesome at stitching together short videos from our pictures and movies, then adding background music to give them some extra punch. As great as that can be, sometimes we might want to add our own flair. Photos now allows us to substitute our own music. Just hit the edit button on a movie, tap the musical note, then look for the My Music option.

Folder Management and SD Card Support

Google's post about this update also mentions that folder management is improved, particularly with regards to SD cards where it's now possible to rename and delete folders. Judging by comments on many of our previous posts about Google Photos, this should resolve the biggest complaint many users have.

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Left: previous version. Center+Right: latest version.

It's also possible to copy images from an SD card to the main storage. Start by selecting images using a long-press and look for the new Copy to folder option in the overflow menu. From here, there is a new popup with a short list of folders an image can be copied to, or an option to create a new folder.

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

Folders can also be renamed as of this update. From within any folder, just hit the overflow menu and look for the Rename device folder option.

Search Bar Replaces Search FAB

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

Most Google apps are slightly inconsistent in some way or another. Some people chalk this up to different teams having different interpretations of the guidelines while others believe this is the way Google experiments with different solutions. Whatever the case may be, Photos is dropping one of those irregularities by adding a search bar at the top of the screen and removing the search FAB.

New Search Interface

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

The UI for search has also changed rather significantly, as it now feels more like a dropdown from the search bar rather than an entirely different screen. Where we used to see fairly large thumbnails for people and places, they have been replaced with recent search terms, really small thumbnails for people, category searches, and finally place names (they are below the fold in the screenshot above).

Visual Changes

This version of Photos includes quite a few little tweaks to the appearance of some screens. None of these really account for any functional changes, but they are fairly distinctive. There are more changes than those pictured here, but they've been trimmed down to keep this post from being unnecessarily overloaded with screenshots.

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

Pages for people identified through facial recognition still look mostly the same, but the name and primary photo are now a bit larger and centered on top of a gray background.

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

A few of the menus are also styled a bit differently, though the distinctions probably aren't noticeable without seeing them side-by-side.

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

While some menus didn't require much attention, a few have also been completely redesigned so that they now look much more consistent with the rest of the app.

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Left: previous version. Right: latest version.

There are also some more subtle changes to text and controls, like those shown above. Minor adjustments have been made to the visual controls. The navigation drawer and Albums screen also saw the name "Shared albums" changed to "Shared." There are surely a few others.


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.