Google silently paralyzes Astrophotography functionality in Pixel phones

The update of ‘Google Camera 8.1’ arrived in November, and it took a few months before users noticed that Google had quietly removed functionality for certain models of the phone: the ultra-wide lens no longer takes astrophotographic images.

The Verge reports that Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 owners no longer have the option to use the phone’s Night Sight mode in combination with the ultra – wide-angle lens aimed backwards. Instead, users are prompted to “zoom in 1x for astrophotography.”

Google’s Poor Photography Support Document takes note of this update but does not explain why this change was made. However, Pixel users discussed the ultra-wide astro capabilities in November, and the poor quality of the images suggests that Google might have been embarrassed to take action. As one owner remarks, “the quality is terrible, green, spotty and full of noise.” A second user optimally confirms his thoughts: “Hopefully this can be fixed with an update rather than the wide-angle hardware not being able to keep up with the work.”

Another note that Google seems to have silently turned off the astro functionality rather than addressing the issue. Users may have expected an apology and an acknowledgment that the issue could not be resolved.

Are you a Google Pixel owner? Do you now have a phone that has been quietly downgraded by Google? Let us know in the comments below.