How to use Magic Editor on the Pixel 8

Google Pixel 8 hands on with AI features
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The Magic Editor is what Google likes to call "the future of editing," and we completely agree. This powerful tool that was previously exclusive to the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro devices works like magic, making editing images the easiest task imaginable. And now, it's available on pretty much any modern device, even tablets, Chromebooks, and the iPhone. 

Thanks to the power of generative AI, Magic Editor goes as far as to create elements from nothing, perfecting your shots. So, if you've got your hands on the Google Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro, you've got to have some fun with the innovative photo editing tool. Learn how to use Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 with this simple guide.

How to use Magic Editor on the Pixel 8

Before jumping in, know that Magic Editor can only be used on images that are backed up to Google Photos. With that out of the way, let's begin!

1. Open Google Photos on your Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro.

2. Choose a photo that is backed up to Google Photos.

3. Tap the Edit button at the bottom.

(Image credit: Android Central)

4. Select the Magic Editor button at the bottom-left corner.

5. Tap or circle any object you want to edit.

6. To add or erase the item, tap the + or - buttons.

(Image credit: Android Central)

7. Press and hold, and then drag the selected item to move it around.

8. To change the size, pinch to scale the object.

9. Drop it and let go for Magic Editor to fill out the image using AI. You can also erase the object from here.

10. Tap the check mark once you're happy with the results.

(Image credit: Android Central)

11. Slide through the carousel to see them all.

12. Hit the checkmark if you like one.

13. Slide all the way to the right to generate new results if you don't like any.

Magic Editor is no longer confined to the Pixel 8 series

Magic Editor for Chromebooks render

(Image credit: Google)

After giving Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro owners a few months of exclusivity, Google has since expanded the availability of Magic Editor. In April 2024, it was announced that this impressive new feature would be making its way to "all Google Photo users on Android and iOS."

Then, in May 2024, a massive update rolled out to Chromebooks, bringing with it the likes of Magic Editor in the Google Photos app. Currently, this is "exclusively" available on Chromebook Plus devices, as these offer a better experience and more power than many of the non-Plus models. 

There is one catch, as you are limited to "10 Magic Editor saves" you can make on a monthly basis. If you want to be able to save more creations, Google states "you'll need a Pixel device or a Premium Google One plan (2TB and above.)" 

Shortly after the April 2024 announcement, those with older Pixel devices started seeing Magic Editor appear in the Photos app. There are some requirements, as your phone will need Android 8.0 or newer and have a 64-bit chipset with at least 4 GB RAM. Provided that your Pixel meets the requirements, you won't need to worry about being limited to the number of Magic Editor saves you can make. 

On the flip side, if you purchase a new Chromebook Plus device, you'll get one free year of Google One AI Premium. So by association, Magic Editor will also be available on your other devices in the Google Photos app.

Google Photos goes up against Adobe Photoshop

With the new editing options in the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro, Google Photos is a powerful photo editing app that competes with the likes of Adobe Photoshop. Just like the Generative Fill feature in Photoshop, Magic Editor can edit your pictures to the extent of creating graphics from scratch.

The pick-and-drop option isn't the limit of Google's Magic Editor on the Pixel 8 series. The tool can also increase and decrease the size of objects. Pair this with the other cool features of Google Photos, and you can rework an image to perfect it like no other. Faces can be swapped, skies can be replaced, and you can even add portrait light.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Editor — Accessories, speakers, and tablets

Namerah enjoys geeking out over accessories, gadgets, and all sorts of smart tech. She spends her time guzzling coffee, writing, casual gaming, and cuddling with her furry best friends. Find her on Twitter @NamerahS.

With contributions from