How to get Google Pixel 2’s Portrait Mode on older Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P smartphones

Developer brings Google Pixel 2’s one of the best features to the first-gen Pixels and Nexus smartphones. Here's how to download, and how it works.


With the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google entered the flagship hardware space to compete with Apple. Besides top notch hardware and stock Android, one of the key highlights of the Pixel devices was their camera prowess. Google upped the ante with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices, especially considering the improved cameras and software tweaks. The camera on the Pixel 2 is also highly rated on DxOMark, with “Portrait Mode” being one of the most talked about features.

The original Pixels also sports the portrait mode, but you have to move your smartphone slightly upward if you want to capture depth effectively. In case of the Pixel 2, Google is using AI and software-based algorithms to add DSLR-like blur effects to your photos. While it was expected that Google would bring the portrait mode to first-gen Pixels and Nexus smartphones, the search giant hasn’t done it yet.

Finally a developer decided to do something about it. Charles_I, from the XDA Developers Forum managed to port the camera app with portrait mode to the Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P smartphones. Here are instructions on getting the camera app with portrait for the older Pixel and Nexus smartphones.

Get the Pixel 2 camera app on Nexus and Pixel smartphones

First, head over to this link to download the APK file. Once the file is downloaded, install it on your compatible Nexus or Pixel smartphone. Do ensure that you enable the option to sideload apps using APK files. To do this, head over to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Special App Access > Install unknown apps. Here select Chrome browser or File Manager, and enable Allow from this source.

Do note, you will now have two camera apps – the stock app and the modified one. Once the camera app is installed, open it, tap on the hamburger menu on the top left and select portrait mode. We tried the portrait mode on our Pixel XL smartphone and it works like a charm – both with the rear and front cameras. You can look at the sample photos below.

What’s more, the camera app also brings other tweaks such as zero shutter lag (ZSL) along with HDR+ and 60fps video recording feature too. If you have a Pixel or Nexus smartphone, do give this a try and let us know about your experience in the comment section below.

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  • Published Date: January 2, 2018 11:16 AM IST