Back in May, Google introduced the Ultra HDR format, a significant step in photo and video technology for Android devices. As previously announced, this feature would enable compatible apps on devices with Android 14 to showcase photos that encompass a wider spectrum of colors and tones. Google’s commitment to innovation was evident in May during the Google I/O event when the tech giant confirmed that Android 14 would be welcoming the Ultra HDR format for both photos and videos.

Key Features of Ultra HDR:

  • Introduced in Android 14 Beta 2
  • Supports 10-bit HDR images
  • Fully compatible with standard JPEG images
  • Provides photos with superior quality equivalent to watching television in Ultra HD
  • Backward compatibility with non-HDR screens

Google Photos Gets the Update

Recent discoveries have brought the much-anticipated news that Google Photos might soon support Ultra HDR. Evidence of this development comes from the hidden code strings in the Google Photos app, specifically version 51.0.561138754, as cited by Forbes and AssembleDebug. These code strings such as “Ultra HDR disabled,” “UltraHdrPreviewFragment,” and “EDITOR_ULTRA_HDR_PREVIEW” hint at imminent Ultra HDR compatibility in the Google Photos app.

The Implication for Android Phones

With Google Photos gearing up for Ultra HDR support, it’s likely that a future update to Google’s camera application will equip Android phones with the ability to capture in Ultra HDR. It’s speculated that the Pixel 8 series might be the pioneers, boasting the first cameras proficient in shooting in this advanced format.

What Does Ultra HDR Mean for Users?

With HDR (high dynamic range) offering a broader range of colors and brightness than its counterpart, SDR (standard dynamic range), users can expect unprecedented image quality. The introduction of Ultra HDR also adds a “gain map” layer of information to the conventional JPEG image. The resultant enhancement in photo quality has been compared to transitioning from watching television in standard SDR to Ultra HD. Even more impressively, Ultra HDR’s backward compatibility ensures that photos shot using this feature will still be viewable on apps that haven’t adapted to the latest standard. On such platforms, the images will merely appear in SDR.

Integration with Other Platforms and Release Speculations

It’s not just Google Photos that will benefit from this enhancement. Third-party apps are also set to leverage this feature, provided they’re compatible with Android 14. Google’s endeavors extend to partnerships with chip industry titans like Qualcomm. The intent? To optimize their System on Chips (SoCs) for the Ultra HDR format. This push means that UltraHDR will soon become the default format for a plethora of actions on Google Photos – uploading, backing up, editing, sharing, and downloading photos.

The tech community is abuzz with speculation regarding the activation of Ultra HDR support on Google Photos. With the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro release rumored for October 11th, it’s likely that Google may activate this update just a tad earlier.

Ultra HDR’s Potential Impact

The arrival of Ultra HDR is not just a mere technical update, but a transformative leap in the world of mobile photography. As our dependency on smartphones continues to grow, the ability to capture and share moments in near-perfect clarity becomes increasingly essential.


The integration of Ultra HDR into Google Photos will inevitably redefine the photography experience for many. From capturing moments of impeccable quality to sharing those memories without the constraint of display compatibility, the horizon of possibilities seems expansive and thrilling. The fusion of advanced tech from both Google and other third-party apps promises a brighter, more colorful future for Android users worldwide. As the feature rolls out to a broader audience, the real-world implications of Ultra HDR will become even more evident, solidifying its position as a game-changer in mobile technology.

Ryan is our go-to guy for all things tech and cars. He loves bringing people together and has a knack for telling engaging stories. His writing has made him popular and gained him a loyal fanbase. Ryan is great at paying attention to small details and telling stories in a way that's exciting and full of wonder. His writing continues to be a vital part of our tech site.

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