Google PhotoScan Review

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What is Google PhotoScan?

As Google states, “PhotoScan is a new scanner app from Google Photos that lets you scan and save your favorite printed photos using your phone’s camera.”

Simply stated, that is pretty much it. Download and install this app and you’ll be scanning photos in just a few minutes. But, before you ditch and heirloom type photos, read on about my experience with the app to decide if it’s the solution to you becoming more minimalist or, clearing out the attic or, your basement of all those old photos.

Installing Google PhotoScan

Installing Google PhotoScan is fairly straightforward.

Go to the Google Play Store and visit the app’s page. The Google PhotoScan app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

How To Scan a Photo with Google PhotoScan 

Tap to open the app on your phone. The app has a flash control. I found it helpful using it during scanning.

The app will prompt you to first take a photo of the picture you are scanning.

The app displays dots to follow during scanning. Just line up the circle over each dot.

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The dot updates your progress as you are scanning a section of the photo by progressively turning blue. You will also see an arrow pointing you to the next dot in the scanning sequence. The app actually stitches together multiple images during this process.


Proceed to each dot scanning sections of the photo. When you’ve scanned the last dot, your photo scan is complete. 

After scanning you can apply filters to the photo, save the photo to Google Photos, and share the photo with other people and sites like Facebook. 

The Test Photo

The photo for this test is a childhood photo that has become stuck to the glass in the frame. The glass has also become cracked over the years. I had attempted a few methods to get the glass and photo separated and nothing was successful. This included freezing the glass and photo in the freezer. 


You will note the test photo is aged and yellow. The color overall is muted. The photo’s backdrop and carpet are off color as well.

Google PhotoScan Results

Here is the resulting image after scanning with Google PhotoScan.


You will note that signs of aging have been removed. Colors have been restored. Even the crack in the glass seems to have been minimized. Pretty impressive for a phone app, for sure.

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My Opinion of Google PhotoScan

While the resulting image is visually appealing, it’s small, lacks some technical stats and finer detail. The image size produced by the Gooogle PhotoScan app is a disappointing 3MP, 1500 × 2000, 322.6 KB.  If printed out, this image would probably yield less than a 6″ x 5″ print.

3 megapixels? Really? My phone (an LG G5) by contrast, has a 16-megapixel, 16:9 camera. That’s a lot more pixels to include.  It’s almost as if the Google developers didn’t want to max out file size or resolution. 

Initially, I was quite excited about the prospect of being able to scan photos with my phone and save them to Google Photos. And if you are okay with the results noted above, by all means, use it. For my needs, I will probably wait for an upgrade to the app and continue to keep the printed photos I have right where they are. For now, your best option for better quality scans is to use a high-quality flatbed scanner to digitize photos.

Even with the apps limits, it can be a great way to up your (#tbt) Throw Back Thursday game.

Google PhotoScan Video


Have you used Google PhotoScan? What’s your experience? Share in the comments below. 

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