Popular Snapseed photo editing app finally gets an update, but it’s not getting AI

Mobile phone with the Snapseed app on the Google Play store on display
(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Snapseed lives to fight – or should I say edit – another day, following a recent update that was rolled out on the Play Store for Android devices, according to Android Police

I'm thankful - the long time app, which is owned by Google and has over 100 million downloads, remains one of my favorite free photo editors with some seriously powerful tools you simply don't get with your Android device's camera app.

Snapseed's smart tools include a wide range of one-push looks and a neat 'Selective' feature that can make localized edits, for instance, brightening just your subject to make them pop. 

You'll be hard-pressed to see exactly what is new in this recent update, though. There's an auspicious lack of AI-powered tools that are regularly at the fore today in Google's own Google Photos app, and the swathe of AI-powered apps cropping up for iOS and Android devices, such as Canva.

Mobile phone with the Snapseed app editor on display

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Google's own editing app features some neat if polarizing AI-editing tools, such as Magic Eraser – which recently made its way onto older handsets – and Best Take.

Since Google purchased Snapseed in 2012, updates have been few and far between. Major updates include 2017's redesign and a refresh in 2023 that made it compatible with Android 13. 

And so while the latest Snapseed update provides solace to its regular users that the free editor is going nowhere for now, it feels like the writing is on the wall for one of the most loved free photo editing apps, given 2024's rival apps rely so heavily on AI.

With the latest update, it's fair to assume that Google is putting most of its efforts into developing its own Google Photos app, likely future AI-powered tools. What its plans are with Snapseed remains to be seen.

Perhaps it's nostalgia on my part, but I'm hoping I can still use my long-time favorite free editing app for years to come. It remains a powerful editor despite its lack of AI, as you can see in one of my photo edits above. Maybe Google will change the tide for the editing veteran and introduce new, powerful tools, but that seems unlikely. Just please don't retire it.

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Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.