Editing and Managing Images on Your Android Tablet

By Dan Gookin

Your Android tablet comes equipped with some basic photo tools. The best tool for image editing is a computer amply equipped with photo editing software, such as Photoshop or a similar program that’s also referred to as “Photoshop” because the term is pretty much generic. Regardless, you can use the Photos app to perform some minor photo surgery.

Editing an image

The Photos app features a special image-editing mode. It offers basic features, such as Crop and Rotate, but also tone manipulation, framing, and other special effects. These powerful editing features are probably why the Google Camera app is so sparse: True image manipulation should be done after the fact.

To edit an image, follow these steps in the Photos app:

  1. Summon the image you want to edit or otherwise manipulate.

    Display the image full screen.

  2. Tap the Edit icon.

    If you don’t see it, tap the screen and it shows up.

A scrolling list of tools appears at the bottom of the screen. Swipe the list left or right to view the lot.

Editing an image in the Photos app.

Editing an image in the Photos app.

To apply a tool, choose it from the scrolling list. After you select a tool, manipulate the image by using the touchscreen.

For the effects tools, swipe the screen up or down to choose a mode, and then swipe left or right to adjust that mode’s intensity. For example, here you see the options for Vintage mode.

Applying image effects.

Applying image effects.

Tap the Review icon to compare the original and modified images. When you long-press the icon, the original image is shown.

To set your changes, tap the Done icon.

To cancel, tap the Cancel icon.

Choosing Done or Cancel doesn’t end Editing mode. To complete the edits and save the image, tap the Done icon on the main editing screen.

  • To view the original version of an image, view that image in the Photos app and tap the Original/Edited icon. Tapping the icon doesn’t restore the image, but it does temporarily show you the original.

  • To restore an image, removing all edits, edit the image and tap the Action Overflow. Choose Revert. Tap the Revert button to confirm. Tap the Done button to leave Image Editing mode. All edits are removed.

  • Be careful with those edits! The Photos app attempts to synchronize photos between all your Android devices as well as your Picasa web image library on the Internet.

Cropping

An old photography term carried over into the digital world is crop. It means “to snip away unwanted portions of an image,” like using a pair of scissors on a photo to slice out an old boyfriend (the cheating scum).

To crop an image in the Photos app, follow these steps:

  1. Summon the image for editing.

  2. Choose the Crop tool.

  3. Adjust the rectangle on the screen to select which portion of the image to keep.

    Drag the rectangle around. Drag its edges or sides to resize the rectangle.

  4. Save the cropped image.

  5. Tap the Done icon to exit Editing mode.

The cropped image is saved in the Photos app.

You can undo the crop by tapping the Restore icon when viewing the image in the Photos app.

Rotating pictures

When that image isn’t really topside up, you can rotate it within the Photos app. Obey these steps:

  1. Summon the cockeyed image for editing.

  2. Choose the Rotate tool.

  3. Tap the Rotate Left or Rotate Right button to reorient the image in 90-degree increments.

    These buttons are found in the lower right corner of the editing screen.

  4. Tap the Done icon to save the rotated image.

    Tap the Done icon to exit image editing mode.

It’s possible to rotate the image to almost any angle. In Step 3, drag your finger around the touchscreen. The image is automatically resized and cropped to maintain its aspect ratio, but this trick reorients an image up to 45 degrees in any direction.

Deleting images and videos

It’s entirely possible, and often desirable, to remove unwanted, embarrassing, or questionably legal images and videos from the Photos app.

So how do you know what you can delete? Simple: If you see the Delete (Trash) icon on the screen when viewing an image, you can delete that item. Tap the Delete icon. Tap the Delete Everywhere button to confirm. The item is gone.

If you don’t see the Trash icon, the item cannot be deleted. It’s most likely a copy pulled in from a web photo-sharing service or a social networking site.

  • To undelete an image, tap the Side Menu icon to display the navigation drawer. Choose Trash. Long-press the item to select it, and then tap the Restore icon, shown in the margin.

  • To delete images from Picasa, visit Picasa web.

  • You can delete a whole swath of images by selecting them as a group.

Selecting multiple pictures and videos

Three commands can be applied to groups of images and videos in the Photos app: Share, Copy to Album, and Delete. To select a group, follow these steps:

  1. Long-press an image or a video to select it.

    Instantly, image-selection mode is activated. The thumbnail you long-pressed grows a check mark.

  2. Continue tapping images and videos to select them.

  3. Perform an action on the group of images or videos.

    The actions you can perform in Step 3 are

    • Share: Choose an app to use for sharing the images, such as Gmail to send the lot as an email attachment.

    • Copy to Album: Select an album to copy the images to, or create a new album. This item is available only when images are selected, not movies or animated GIFs.

    • Delete: The items are removed. Tap the Delete Everywhere button to confirm.

To deselect items, tap them again. To deselect everything, tap the Back icon.