Why I don't use Google Magic Eraser

Magic eraser not needed opinion
(Image credit: Future)

We are all after the perfect selfie. Whether you're alone, with mates, or a partner, or just snapping photos with the family, we all want to capture the moment. But what happens when that perfect natural moment is tweaked, creating an environment that isn't true to life? Where does it stop? Should we be editing in photos of friends that weren't there, or is editing out people where we draw the line?

What I'm talking about is Google's Magic Eraser. Earlier this year I picked up the Google Pixel 6 Pro (opens in new tab), mainly because of its larger size and because I'm always using my phone for work. Fast forward a little, and I've snapped a few images of everyday stuff. So what's this Magic Eraser? Of course, I'm used to editing out distracting objects such as a lamppost protruding from people's heads here and there when I'm shooting professional photography, but I'm not sure it's a tool needed for everyday snaps from your camera phone (opens in new tab).

Recently I saw a new advert, here comes the Google Pixel 7 (opens in new tab) and 7 Pro (opens in new tab), and the Magic Eraser is a big selling point. Even Martin Parr (opens in new tab) has used the feature. The handsome gentleman plugging the feature in the advert says: "Now I can remember things how I want." Or something to that tune.

Are they really true memories at all, if you edit out all the people from a busy pub on a night out? How will you remember that it was a busy place with lots of atmosphere if it's all gone from the image?

(Image credit: Future)

Magic Eraser is very effective, but do you need it?

So you might be asking: Is Magic Eraser not any good? Where I would have to say  – yes, it's excellent, it finds people and edits them out almost flawlessly. But is it needed? Absolutely not, in my own opinion. I guess much like photography, we are all different users of the medium – some are purists, and others are highly advanced digital manipulators finely crafting every pixel until it's perfect.

The best way to avoid certain distracting backgrounds might be to try and take better snaps, at better moments and pay attention to the image as a whole. Other than that, life should not be edited. It should be raw, pure, and real.

*Just for the record, I love my Google Pixel 6 and I rarely take photos of myself.

Check out our guide to the best Google Pixel phone (opens in new tab). You might like to read about the Google Pixel 7 vs 7 Pro: which Pixel handset is right for you? (opens in new tab)

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Alistair Campbell

Alistair is the Features Editor of Digital Camera magazine, and has worked as a professional photographer and video producer.

With contributions from