Google will turn selfie retouching off by default with new Pixel phones

Google Pixel 4a taking a selfie screen

  • Google will deactivate selfie retouching in the Camera app on new Pixels by default.
  • The move is in a bid to improve users’ mental health and self-image.
  • The selfie retouching feature will now explain which features it aims to edit.

Google is switching off selfie retouching on its new Pixel smartphones by default. Starting with the Pixel 4a, Pixel 4a 5G, and Pixel 5, the Camera app will now also provide more information to those using the feature.

The latter will be pushed through a forthcoming update, providing users with icons and labels explaining what retouching features the app wants to apply and why. With this update, the app will also describe the selfie features it wishes to tweak, be it “skin texture, under-eye tone, and eye brightness,” as an example. The user can then choose to accept these touch-ups or run with the snap as is.

google pixel automatic face retouching selfies camera 1

The move aims to provide better transparency for users with an unmodified view of themselves, says Google. This in turn reportedly promotes better mental health. “These default filters can quietly set a beauty standard that some people compare themselves against,” the company adds.

It’s a small tweak to how the Camera app functions on Google’s phones, and isn’t a bid to wean users off using filters, but should give those who just want to snap a selfie more control over this process.

It’s unclear if the retouching tweaks will reach other Pixels and the Camera app on other phones. The feature doesn’t seem intrinsically connected to any new hardware on the new Pixel phones, so we wouldn’t rule the update heading to other Camera app-powered devices in the future.

Next: The best Android phones for taking selfies you can buy

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