Home News Google Photos’ Magic Editor will refuse to make these edits

Google Photos’ Magic Editor will refuse to make these edits

Google Photos’ Magic Editor will refuse to make these edits


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Robert Triggs / Android Authority


  • Code within the latest version of Google Photos includes specific error messages that highlight the edits that Magic Editor will refuse to do.
  • Magic Editor will refuse to edit photos of ID cards, receipts, images with personally identifiable information, human faces, and body parts.
  • Magic Editor already avoids many of these edits but without specific error messages, leaving users guessing on what is allowed and what is not.

Google first announced Magic Editor at Google I/O 2023. The feature is now available inside the Google Photos app on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. With Magic Editor, you can harness the power of generative AI to perform complex image edits with ease. This lowers the skill and experience barrier and democratizes complex image editing. On the flip side, many have wondered if Google has adopted enough guardrails to prevent users from abusing Magic Editor. As it turns out, there are at least some guardrails present on Magic Editor, preventing users from making these kinds of edits.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

Google Photos v6.60 includes code around various error messages that users would see when performing a few prohibited Magic Editor edits. These error messages are reproduced below:


<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_edit_document_photo_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t edit photos of ID cards, receipts, and other documents that violate Google’s GenAI terms. Try Magic Editor on a different
<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_edit_face_photo_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t edit faces. Try selecting something else.</string>
<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_edit_large_area_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t erase or move large selections. Try making a smaller selection.</string>
<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_edit_part_of_body_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t edit parts of people. Try selecting something else.</string>
<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_edit_too_much_being_generated_dialog_text">Can’t complete edit. Try moving your selection less.</string>
<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_generate_personally_identifiable_information_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t generate images that may have personally identifiable information. Try typing something else.</string>
<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_show_results_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t complete this edit. Try a different edit.</string>

Summarizing the strings above, it seems Magic Editor will refuse to edit:

  • Photos of ID cards, receipts, and other documents that violate Google’s GenAI terms.
  • Images with personally identifiable information.
  • Human faces and body parts.
  • Large selections or selections that need a lot of data to be generated.

And as we mentioned separately, Magic Editor could be getting text-prompt-based generation abilities. In such situations, Magic Editor could also refuse to generate images based on some words mentioned in the prompt.


<string name="photos_photoeditor_udon_cannot_input_blocked_prompt_dialog_text">Magic Editor can’t generate images based on some of the words in the prompt. Try typing something else.</string>

Google already blocks plenty of these edits, but some go through. On an older Google Photos version, we tried editing faces and IDs but could not perform those edits as Google blocked the edits with a generic error message. We could edit invoices, though. We do not know if Google will be improving the guardrails, too, alongside presenting the specific error messages mentioned above.


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