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

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.

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22 Comments

1. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

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

2. HermanR

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 19, 2014

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

4. dfvt07

Posts: 5; Member since: Apr 16, 2012

My Oppo Find 5 too

8. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 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.

12. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

Takes normal photos but crashes when i go photosphere or panorama

14. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 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?

20. PAPINYC

Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 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.

15. HermanR

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 19, 2014

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

17. MMarkkk

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 19, 2014

root required (:

18. lackdon

Posts: 2; Member since: Mar 19, 2014

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

22. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 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.

3. greyhulk

Posts: 184; Member since: Jun 30, 2010

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

5. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Just For photo sphere functionality dude.

7. _Bone_

Posts: 2155; Member since: Oct 29, 2012

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

9. NEO2598

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 17, 2014

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

13. magnanimus

Posts: 565; Member since: Mar 29, 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)

6. wando77

Posts: 1168; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Closes on galaxy note 2

10. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

Working on galaxy s2 here

11. StraightEdgeNexus

Posts: 3689; Member since: Feb 14, 2014

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

16. genkidama20

Posts: 52; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

My LG G2 already has this feature

19. shashanksonth

Posts: 7; Member since: Dec 12, 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.

21. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 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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