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Here's how to install the stock Android KitKat camera app for awesome 360-degree photo spheres, no root required

Posted: , by Chris P.

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Here's how to install the stock Android KitKat camera app for awesome 360-degree photo spheres, no root required
With massive projects like Street View and now Project Tango in its portfolio, it has always made sense that Google would be the one to go for the first semi-serious push to bring 3D-like 360-degree panoramas to our smartphones. 

Called Photo Sphere, the compelling feature initially debuted with Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, but even today, almost a year and a half later, Photo Sphere still remains shockingly absent from just about every Android smartphone. A quick look through Google's Views community dedicated to capturing the awesomest of awesome photo spheres should give you a pretty good idea of why this omission bugs us deeply. And if you're still unclear as to how these work, here's a quick video tutorial published by Google shortly after the Nexus 4 was launched.


Now who wouldn't want such a feature? If you are nodding in agreement right now, then we have a nice surprise for you: the Android 4.4 KitKat camera app (which includes the feature) can now be installed on a plethora of devices about as easily as any app install. You do not need to be rooted at all, and there is no jumping through hoops to get this ready and working. Best of all, we'll be directing you towards the very latest version of the stock Android camera, which has seen some noteworthy updates in regards to photo spheres -- stitching is easier, and the software is less prone to errors. So jump right into the below slideshow for a quick walk through the steps.

NOTE #1: Keep in mind that if you're running an AOSP-based Android ROM, this app will replace your current Camera and Gallery apps. In those cases it's best that you do a back-up just in case. If you're running on a version of Samsung's TouchWiz, or HTC's Sense, for example, installing this app will simply give you two cameras to choose from.

NOTE #2: If the app crashes upon launch, then download this ZIP. Extract and place the three files within in /system/lib/. You may need writing permissions, in which case you'll have to root. The app has been confirmed to work on several devices without the need for this, however. 

NOTE #3: Your phone needs to have a gyroscope in order for you to capture photo spheres. You can search our database if you're unsure it does.

NOTE #4: If you're still having trouble with the KitKat camera apk, then try the JellyBean one from this thread, no extra libraries required. Confirmed to work just fine on a number of devices.

22 Comments
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posted on 19 Mar 2014, 10:39

1. kaikuheadhunterz (Posts: 774; Member since: 18 Jul 2013)


That's good news. Not sure if my Samsung Galaxy Ace can handle it though (it's running CM10.2 btw)

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 10:42 1

2. HermanR (Posts: 5; Member since: 19 Mar 2014)


"Unfortunately, Camera has stopped" shows as soon as I open 360 photo or landscape phone mode on my I9505 (JB4.3)

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 11:10

4. dfvt07 (Posts: 1; Member since: 16 Apr 2012)


My Oppo Find 5 too

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:00 1

8. Chris.P (Posts: 299; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


Extract and put these in /system/lib. That should fix your issue. Goes for everyone who has your issue.

I've updated the guide to reflect this.

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:40

12. Aploine (Posts: 197; Member since: 24 Oct 2013)


Takes normal photos but crashes when i go photosphere or panorama

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:54

14. Aploine (Posts: 197; Member since: 24 Oct 2013)


Sudden joy for nothing. It fails. I don't want to root my phone. Any suggestions for free apps that do the same in Google Play?

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 16:52

20. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)


Don't bother, my Superphone [is] rooted and this DOES NOT WORK; I can record but I can not "Playback", therefore, useless!!!

Worth the effort, though.

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 13:00

15. HermanR (Posts: 5; Member since: 19 Mar 2014)


Thanks, but unfortunately i don't want to root my device. :)

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 14:19

17. MMarkkk (Posts: 1; Member since: 19 Mar 2014)


root required (:

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 15:26

18. lackdon (Posts: 2; Member since: 19 Mar 2014)


how should i extract from pc an how to find system/lib

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 02:26 1

22. Chris.P (Posts: 299; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


If you're not rooted or the guide does not work for you, you can use the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Camera app, which also has Photo Spheres.

Get it here:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2khZcLGUdkralBrakhnb1ZZalk/edit?pli=1

Installation is identical to that of the guide, just keep in mind that this will add a Camera and Gallery app. The two are one, so removing one will remove the other. I can confirm that it worked just fine on 6 different devices, without adding the extra libraries.

Updating the post to reflect this.

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 10:53 1

3. greyhulk (Posts: 124; Member since: 30 Jun 2010)


The stock android camera app is horrible. Why would you even want to install it on any device that wasn't stock android?

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 11:21 1

5. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3593; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Just For photo sphere functionality dude.

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 11:45

7. _Bone_ (Posts: 2137; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


And HDR. I prefer stock app HDR over 3rd party on my Nexus 4.

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:25 1

9. NEO2598 (Posts: 3; Member since: 17 Feb 2014)


I'm lucky because i have aG2 and I can take photo-sphere with the stock camera app:D

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:48

13. magnanimus (Posts: 306; Member since: 29 Mar 2013)


I have a G2 too but the stock camera app sucks because the viewfinder lags so much. It goes from 60fps to about 20fps in low light D: (I'm not sure if this is due to the camera hardware or the camera app. Feel free to correct me if wrong :D)

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 11:23

6. wando77 (Posts: 311; Member since: 23 Aug 2012)


Closes on galaxy note 2

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:30

10. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3593; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Working on galaxy s2 here

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 12:32

11. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3593; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


On CM 11 of course. I think this doesnt work below android 4.2. Btw thank you Chris P.

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 13:58 1

16. genkidama20 (Posts: 44; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


My LG G2 already has this feature

posted on 19 Mar 2014, 16:43

19. shashanksonth (Posts: 3; Member since: 12 Dec 2013)


the app crashes when I open photo sphere n I tried extracting n placing the 3 files in /lib folder but it says overwriting failed... my galaxy s2 is rooted n in using es file explorer
plz help.

posted on 20 Mar 2014, 02:15

21. Chris.P (Posts: 299; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


Mount R/W. In Root Explorer (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com​.speedsoftware.rootexplorer) it looks like this:

https://lh5.ggpht.com/5c3vuNH85fygUfRlEuL7vHYs1Ej6-rHO9Nl4tLCs1Xzgt2jyVsT4hHwoOtbAJXJdtQ=h900-rw (top middle~)

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