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Pixel phone’s Magic Eraser comes to iPhone and non-Google Android handsets

More people will now be able to remove that annoying person photobombing your shot  (Google)
More people will now be able to remove that annoying person photobombing your shot (Google)

Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy owners can now use one of the best camera tricks from Google’s Pixel phones.

Magic Eraser, which lets you scrub unwanted guests and objects from your photos, is now available on non-Google devices for a premium.

In order to use the feature on a phone that isn’t a new-ish Pixel, you’ll have to sign up to Google’s cloud storage and VPN service, Google One, which starts from £1.59 per month for 100GB of storage space.

Once you subscribe, you’ll be able to access Magic Eraser via Google Photos, the company’s photo-sharing and storage service that comes pre-installed on many Android handsets, and can also be downloaded on iOS.

If you want to try before you buy, you’ll have to wait till early March to take advantage of an upcoming free trial offer for Google Photos.

Google launched Magic Eraser on its Pixel 6 range in October 2021, and also brought it to last year’s Pixel 6a and Pixel 7 series. The feature harnesses AI to analyse your pics for unwanted things in the background, such as photobombers or a lamp-post, for instance. These nuisances, or “distractions” in Google’s words, are replaced with colours and details that already exist in an image.

Magic Eraser uses AI to spot and remove unwanted things from photo backgrounds (Google)
Magic Eraser uses AI to spot and remove unwanted things from photo backgrounds (Google)

The feature is straightforward to use: You can delete an object or person by selecting it and pressing the Magic Eraser button. Google’s AI will also prompt you to remove distractions that could ruin a shot.

It’s a clever move on Google’s part to expand the feature to more phones after making it exclusive to its latest Pixel phones for months.

Aside from incentivising people to pay for Google One, the update could prompt iPhone and Galaxy users to switch to Google Photos over Apple and Samsung’s default photo apps, handing more data to Google in the process.

The company already stores tons of information about people via Google Photos. The app is annually used by one billion people to upload and store pics and videos. In 2020, Google said it stores four trillion photos, with 28 billion new photos and videos uploaded each week. The company also estimates your location by recognising visible landmarks in your images, and through the opt-in location history setting.

It could be that Google is sharing the love because it is pre-empting similar features arriving on rival phones. Some iPhone models already come with a function known as “lift subject from background”, that lets you pluck elements from photos to use in other apps or documents. So, it’s easy to see how Apple could enhance the option to mirror Magic Eraser.

Alongside Magic Eraser, Google One is also adding additional perks, including HDR effect for videos, new collage-editor designs, and free shipping on photo prints.