Bad photos on Androids via third-party apps like Instagram and Snapchat is not exactly a new phenomenon. This issue has been present since Android’s early days, and the OS’ vast device fragmentation is the one to blame.

Also, since the Pixel 2, Google shipped the series with a dedicated Pixel Visual Core chip that handled the device camera’s software processing needs. The chip was essentially a NPU, which stands for Neural Processing Unit.

The Google Pixel 5

Neural cores are designed to handle logical instructions and shave some burden off the main CPU. This accelerates image processing algorithms and results in quicker processed images.

Google’s changed strategy with the onset of the new Pixel 5 series has led to the chip’s omission from the device though. But this does not mean that the new Pixels will miss out on features offered by the previous generations.

However, users say that while image quality via the built-in Google Camera app has largely remained the same, if not better, it has taken a hit when clicked via third-party apps like Instagram and Snapchat.


I believe I read somewhere that snapchat doesn’t actually use the picture that you take, but instead it uses a screenshot of the photo on android, so they don’t have to optimize for every phone/display/camera. I’m pretty sure insta does the same thing. There are just a handful of devices that run iOS, and that’s why everything always just works better on iPhones. Developers can make sure their apps work on all of those Apple devices.

It appears that Instagram made use of the Pixel Visual Core to slightly enhance photos. But since the omission, it is unable to do so.

Pixel visual core used to communicate with third party apps directly but that’s not present on pixel 5 that explains why photos are turning bad on Instagram and Snapchat

It is quite obvious that Google took this step to make the Pixel 5 a more wallet-friendly device. However, they made up for the omission by adding a nice new feature.

Workaround for Pixel 5 bad camera quality on Instagram/Snapchat


The above-mentioned feature is called “Social share”. It encourages you to use the stock camera app more often, even when you want to share your pictures on say, Instagram stories.


This convenience-based option is available on your Pixel’s camera app settings. Upon opening it, you will be presented with a list of social apps with toggle switches beside them.

Simply set the toggle to on for apps you use often. Doing so will allow you to quickly share images shot via your main camera app to the selected social platform.

After clicking a photo, just select an app from the small menu as shown in the below image. And voila! You can share your amazing shot directly whilst bypassing the trashy Instagram/Snapchat camera quality.

It is recommended to do this on the “wide crop (16:9)” picture ratio if you want the image to fit perfectly into the Instagram/Snapchat story view.


Note: This will work on other Pixel devices as well.

The above workaround is just a band-aid on the gaping hole of the third-party camera quality issues in the Android world, though.

Something needs to be done asap, especially since the advent of such great camera hardware and 1080p+ displays on almost every phone these days.

It is sad that third-party camera apps are unable to exploit such hardware to the full potential due to fragmentation. Hopefully, Google will address these shortcomings soon.

That being said, let us know in the comments below if the workaround helped with the Pixel 5 bad camera quality on Instagram and Snapchat.

Also be sure to check out this story on how to improve your Google Pixel 5’s speaker audio quality. And if you are facing battery drainage issues on your Pixel 5, then click here for fixes.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Zohaib Ahmed
824 Posts

Simply love being surrounded by technology as it's a constant reminder of how far humans have advanced as a race. Every new development feels exciting, which I convey to others through writing. And after a day's work, gaming just feels therapeutic.

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