Use This App To Enable The Pixel 3’s Camera Features On Older Pixel Smartphone Models

Use This App To Enable The Pixel 3’s Camera Features On Older Pixel Smartphone Models
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Some of the most exciting new features on Google’s Pixel 3 and 3 XL smartphones are their new camera features, such as Night Sight (more accurate colour and lighting-enhancements for dark photos) and Top Shot, which helps pick the best photo among a burst of shots you’ve taken.

While Google had previously confirmed that a number of Pixel 3 camera features will also hit older Pixel phones, why wait? Thanks to XDA developer cstark27’s new app, you can get some of these to-be-released features for your Pixel 3 and Pixel 2 smartphones right now.

How to download and install the CameraP3 app

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

Start by making sure your phone is configured to install apps downloaded from your web browser — in our case, Chrome. You can do this by tapping and holding on your browser app’s icon until you see a dialog box pop out. Tap the “Information icon” (it looks like an “i” inside a circle) to open the app’s settings.

Scroll down and tap Advanced Settings, locate and tap the option Install Unknown apps, and then turn the “Allow from source” option on if it isn’t already. After that, you can close the settings menu and begin the download.

  1. In your device’s web browser, open CameraP3’s download page, and then scroll down and tap to download the file.

  2. If you’re using Chrome, you’ll get a popup asking to download a file named “P3v5_GoogleCamera_6.1.013.apk”. Tap “OK” to begin the download.

  3. The download should only take a moment. Once it finishes, tap “open” if you’re using Chrome. You can also open the notifications tab and open the file by tapping the “download complete” notification. The third option is to open your phone’s download folder and open P3v5_GoogleCamera_6.1.013.apk from there.

  4. Once you start installing the app, if it says that you aren’t allowed to install APKs from this source, tap the “settings” option on the popup and select “allow from source” in the new window. However, if you followed the steps to allow app installation from your web app this shouldn’t be an issue.

  5. The first time you open the app, you’ll have to give it permissions to take photos and record video; record audio using your phone’s mic; access photos and media files/folders, and access location data.

Using the new camera features in CameraP3

CameraP3’s icon looks identical to the default Android camera app. Don’t get fooled.

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

You’ll notice CameraP3’s interface looks similar to the default camera app as well, but with some new menus and icons on-screen. Here’s where to find all the various new settings and features.

  • To find the Photosphere, Slow Motion, Photo Booth, AR Stickers, and Night Sight features, go to “More” on the mode slider and tap the feature you want to open.

  • If your smartphone notices you’re in a dark environment, it’ll also trigger a pop up that asks whether you want to enable Night Sight (though, confusingly, the app refers to it as “Night Mode”).

An example of Night Sight’s AI-driven enhancements (Photo: Brendan Hesse)
  • You can change HDR+ tuning and lens resolution, enable Google Lens suggestions, set gesture controls, and more by tapping Settings in the “More” tab

  • Turn on HDR+ by tapping the HDR+ icon in the centre-left of the app’s window when on the “Camera” mode

  • In “Camera” mode, you can also change motion mode settings by tapping the centre icon at the top of the screen, then selecting the mode you want (off, on, or auto).

  • In the “Portrait” mode, you can swap between face retouching presets by tapping the icons on top of the app window


  • I keep getting the “There was a problem while parsing the package” error (Pixel 2 standard). I have granted access to install from unknown sources and also tried from downloads as well as from the file manager directly. Same result. Any advice? Thank you!

  • I followed the instructions and I installed this app onto my Pixel 2XL no issues.
    And my god it makes an amazing difference, the photos are amazing, it’s quite unbelievable that my room was so dark yet I could zoom in on the photo and read small print on boxes yet when standing in the room I could barely see the box!!!! There is little noticeable noise in the photo, but it did tell me to hold the camera still, and the photo takes several seconds to create. So I’m not sure how good it would work taking people photos. Anyhow anyone with a Pixel phone should give this a try, just for the fun of it.

  • I’m coming a bit late to this discussion – only because it only just popped up on my news feed, but I originally installed it on my Pixel 2 with no issues, but since then, the native camera app on my phone has been upgraded to include the Night Sight feature, at least, so I uninstalled the P3 app. I haven’t tested it for Topshot yet.

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