How to install Google Photos on Android TV (and why you shouldn’t) – .

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How to install Google Photos on Android TV (and why you shouldn’t) – .


Google Photos isn’t available on Android TV, and for good reason. As long as you can stream any photo or video from your phone to your TV, you don’t really need the full app installed on the TV. However, there are a few reasons why you might want to install the correct Photos app and for that we have this tutorial. It’s a very complicated process, especially if you have a Chromecast with Google TV (but much less if you have an NVIDIA Shield), and you better not waste your time with it unless you really need to.

Why download the Google Photos app

I could talk about how it’s more convenient to browse your gallery right on the TV instead of staring at the phone and then staring at the big screen, but it’s really a little booze. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two valid reasons for running Google Photos on your Android TV.

The first is to set up automatic backups and sync your screenshots with other devices. This is clearly something that only technical writers, gamers, app developers, or tutorial writers would find useful. For most other people who don’t need autosave to start every time they take a screenshot, there is always a slower manual way to send screenshots to others. devices – uploading Solid Explorer to Google Drive or using Send Files to TV are two methods I have used often.

The second reason is to allow someone who doesn’t have a smartphone to browse your gallery on the big screen. They could be young children or the elderly, or anyone else who doesn’t have a phone or tablet, and you want them to be able to access the gallery and check out photos or videos when you don’t. are not there to broadcast the content on TV.

Missing features, a lot of downsides

For those of you who feel like rebels and think you would still want to access Photos on the TV, let me take a moment to deflate your excitement. Even when you put it to work, the experience is nothing like what you’re used to. This is the same Photos app, but the interface is not optimized for Android TV, so a lot of the features are just not available.

On the one hand, the bottom tabs that we are used to seeing on our phones are not visible on TVs, so you cannot go to the search tab (people, places, objects) or go to your library (albums, favorites, archives). This means that you can only browse shared albums – via the chat bubble at the top left – but even then only the first two rows of photos are accessible, and not the entire album. For some reason it is impossible to exceed them.

And we haven’t even addressed the biggest downside to the experience: you can’t press next (right) or previous (left) on your remote’s D-pad to switch to full screen media. to another. Instead, you have to open each image or video one by one, then go back and choose a different one.

Not all of the icons here are accessible with the D-pad of a television remote control.

That leaves only a few limited functionality. In addition to browsing one by one, you can press and hold to select items, then share, delete, archive, or add to an album. You can also configure automatic backups for specific folders.

Using a USB or Bluetooth mouse may improve the situation a bit, but many features still remain inaccessible due to the way the app is presented on Android TV. All in all, what is here is not worth it for most people.

Step 1: Install Google Photos on Android TV

If, after all these warnings, you’re still anxious to get Google Photos working on the TV, brace yourself. The process is not for the inexperienced or the faint of heart. If the terms I’m using below sound confusing, you better skip this offer entirely.

Download the latest APK from Google Photos

Since browsers on Android TV are mostly crap, it’s best to run this on your phone. You need to start by getting a Photos installer file that is compatible with your TV.

Of course, we recommend that you go to our brother APK Mirror site and get the latest version. Your best bet is to get a full APK, that is, ignore those that have a “bundle” review next to them. Which variant to enter will depend on the TV you have. For example, you need v7a processor variant for Chromecast with Google TV and v8a variant for Nvidia Shield.

Load it aside

The next steps are to send this APK to your TV and install it there. I won’t go over these two steps in detail here as we have already written separate tutorials for them:

Step 2: Find, launch and browse Google Photos

Since photos are an unauthorized app on Android TV, they do not appear in the app launcher, so you have no way to launch it quickly.

You will need to go to Android TVs Settings> Applications> See all applications, then scroll down to access Photos and select Open on the right panel.

If you find yourself opening photos frequently enough that these steps become boring, or if you want to make it easier for a kid or someone else, you can set up a Button Mapper shortcut for it. Basically, it remaps almost any button on the TV’s remote to Photos.

Another solution would be to use a third-party launcher like Sideload Launcher or Home Screen Launcher to view your downloaded apps sideways and open them quickly.

Whichever method you choose to access Photos, the first time you open the app it will ask for your permission to view your photos and media. You have to accept that, and then Photos’s almost familiar interface pops up.

The top bar gives you access to your shared photos and conversations, as well as various settings (we’ll talk about that later). Below you will find your memories followed by your gallery. As I mentioned earlier, the features here are very limited, so don’t expect something like photos on your phone.

Step 3: Set up automatic screenshot backups

I have already explained how to take a screenshot on Android TV in my remote remapping tutorial. However, Nvidia Shield owners don’t need to go through this. Maintain the Domicile The Shield’s remote control button displays a menu for taking a screenshot.

Enable automatic backups

When you first sign in with Google Photos, there’s a good chance you’ll be prompted to turn on backup and sync. If you plan to use the Photos app to sync your screenshots, you need to turn it on, but it’s not enough.

Most Android TV devices don’t save screenshots to the DCIM folder, so they won’t automatically be part of the backup. You need to toggle sync for the standalone screenshot folder, but it’s not as easy as tapping your avatar and going to settings to turn it on.

You’ll quickly notice that scrolling the D-pad through the menu isn’t possible in Photos on Android TV, so you can’t go to settings or click anything. What you need is a mouse or some mouse-like functionality to do this.

Get a USB / BT mouse or third-party app

There are three scenarios for the missing mouse function.

➡️ If you have a USB or Bluetooth mouse ready, just connect it to your Android TV unit. This is the easiest way to do it.

➡️ If you have a Shield TV, you can download the official remote app from the play store and switch to mouse pad mode. You will get a hover mouse on your TV with which you can move around and click items. Easy peasy.

➡️ And finally, if you have another Android TV, you’re left out in the cold because the official remote app has a trackpad and swipepad, but no mouse. I tried many apps, but only one worked well on my Chromecast with Google TV: Zank Remote. I had to install it on both my phone and my TV to enable cursor mode. The app requires accessibility access and permission to view on other apps (this places a cursor above your screen). I also noticed that it kept asking for USB debugging and permission to access media, but I got it to work without those.

Honestly, I’m not too comfortable recommending this as the app asks for more access than it needs. But if you don’t have a shield or a mouse, that’s the only thing that works. You can always revoke permissions – and even uninstall the app – after you’re done setting things up in Photos.

Enable screenshot saves (finally)

Phew, we’re almost there.

Regardless of how you’ve made a cursor appear on your TV, it’s time to turn on the screenshot folder save. Go to your avatar at the top right of Google Photos. Now select Photo settings> Backup & sync> Back up device folders and switch Screenshot at. All the steps are described in the screenshots below.

And once that’s done, you can just go back, turn off the mouse, and continue living your life normally. Every time you take a screenshot, it is automatically saved to Google Photos and becomes accessible from all your devices. It also works in the background just like Photos on any other Android device, but it may not be as instant. Give it a few seconds if you don’t see the pictures appearing on your phone.

I told you before we started that it is not a straightforward process and I hope you realize why it is not worth it given all the limitations you still end up with once the app is installed. . But if you often take screenshots on your TV and want to transfer them wirelessly to your other devices, nothing is as fast and reliable as photo backups.

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