Google Is Bringing Its AI Photo Editing Tools to the iPhone — For Free

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Last February, Google surprised us by opening up its legendary, Pixel-exclusive Magic Eraser tool to all Google Photos users, including those who use the app on an iPhone.

The Magic Eraser tool was first introduced on the Pixel 6 lineup in 2021, allowing users to easily remove unwanted people or objects from photos. It was designed to showcase exactly what Google’s new custom Tensor silicon could do, and for a long time, it remained a unique benefit of opting for a Google Pixel phone.

However, last year, Google decided to make it part of the Google Photos experience for everyone, not just those on Team Android. Since Google Photos has long been available for the iPhone as well — it’s one of the best alternatives to iCloud Photo Library and Apple’s own Photos app — the company saw no need to leave iPhone users out in the cold.

Unfortunately, Google’s generosity came with a catch; the feature was only available to those who opted to subscribe to the company’s version of iCloud+, Google One. That probably wasn’t too much of a burden for those already all-in on Google Photos, as the 15GB of free storage that Google offers doesn’t get you very far. Much like iCloud+, Google One provides several tiers of storage upgrades that offer additional benefits like a VPN and, for the past year, access to Magic Eraser.

Sadly, that still left out two categories of users: those who just wanted to try out Google’s AI editing tools without moving their whole library into Google Photos and paying users of Google Workspace business plans, which often have vast amounts of storage available but are frequently left out of Google’s paid consumer perks.

Magic Eraser and More, Now Free For All

Thankfully, Google is loosening the reins on Magic Eraser. Today, the company announced that its AI editing tools are coming to all Google Photos users next month at no additional charge.

Starting on May 15, many of our AI-powered editing tools — like Magic Eraser, Photo Unblur and Portrait light — will be available to anyone using Google Photos, no subscription required. You’ll also be able to access these features on more devices, including Pixel tablets.Google

This includes Magic Eraser and other clever AI tools like Photo Unblur, Sky suggestions, HDR effects, Cinematic photos, and Portrait Lighting.

As an added bonus, Google is even giving folks limited free access to its groundbreaking Magic Editor, which debuted on the Pixel 8 lineup last fall.

Magic Editor is the next logical extension of Magic Eraser, which allows users to not only remove unwanted objects from photos but actually pick objects up and move them around, with generative AI automatically filling in the missing parts, from the background to parts of the object that weren’t even originally in the shot.

While any Google Photos user can access Magic Editor, Google is limiting free access to 10 saves per month. Those who want more will still have to opt for a Premium Google One Plan with at least 2TB of storage unless they own a Pixel device.

The new Google Photos AI features will be available on any iPhone running iOS 15.0 or later with at least 3GB of RAM, which means an iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X or later. The improved Unblur requires 6GB of RAM, which will limit that to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 14 and newer models in each of those lineups.

Google will begin rolling these new features out to Google Photos starting on May 15. Meanwhile, Apple reportedly has several new AI features in store for iOS 18, which it’s expected to show off only a few weeks later at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Keynote on June 10. We’ve been wishing for a Magic Eraser-like tool since iOS 16, but so far, Apple has only gone the other way, letting us lift objects out of a photo to use elsewhere.

Despite all the rumors around Apple’s new push into generative AI, we haven’t heard much about any new photo features, but we can hope that Apple has one or two tricks up its sleeve in that area.

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