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How to Change the Image Gallery on Your Nexus 6



Google’s brand new Nexus 6 smartphone has only been available for a few weeks, but with more carriers offering the smartphone and stock arriving on Google Play, the device is finally making it into the hands of eager buyers.

Now that the Nexus 6 release is moving a long and becoming more readily available, we’ve started to receive a lot of questions regarding certain aspects of the device. Things like changing the keyboard, setting up your new phone, and even changing simple things like the Gallery app for viewing photos and video.

Read: How to Disable Lockscreen Notifications on the Nexus 6

With Android 5.0 Lollipop and the Nexus 6 (and others) Google’s removed the stock “Gallery” app many users are familiar with to view photos and videos on their device, or that they’ve taken with the camera. Instead, we now have a “Photos” application that is tied to Google+. It has many advantages, but if you want to replace it with something else read on for the details.


Using the stock “Photos” app on the Nexus 6 for handling all your previous and current photos and videos certainly has its advantages. For one, it automatically (if you agree to it) backs up all your photos and video so you’ll never lose them, no matter what. It’s also a nice way to easily share and edit them from your phone, tablet, or even a computer.

Google+ Photos is a great app, but using it as the default and only image gallery option on the Nexus 6 isn’t ideal. At least not for me, and many others we’ve talked to on Twitter and other social media sites. We’re seeing a lot of users wanting the old Android 4.4 KitKat Gallery back, or asking if they have other options.

The beauty of Android is everything can be changed. There’s different apps for the homescreen, launcher, keyboard, browser, gallery, text messaging apps and more. It’s truly very customizable. With that, below we’ll explain just how easy it is to replace “Photos” with something a little easier to use, and more familiar.


Users may also be running into this same problem on their Galaxy S5, LG G3, and other smartphones, if at some point you accidentally set “Photos” as the default app for viewing photos. Android lets you choose which app things open by default, if more than one are open. You may have set photos as the default app, or if you’re on the Nexus 6 is it the only option available out of the box.

To start you’ll want to clear the default, then download something different from the Google Play Store. Go to Settings > Apps > All, select Google+ (since Photos is a component of Google+), and tap Clear Defaults. This should remove the Google+ Photos app from being your default app for images, and your phone will revert to the built-in gallery viewer provided by your manufacturer.

However, those with a Nexus 6 or Nexus 9 will simply need to head to the Google Play Store and download one of the many different gallery and image viewer apps available. They might not all have the same customization and tweak options as Google+ Photos, but there’s plenty of choices.

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 10.05.21 AM

Personally I’ve chose to download and install the official CyanogenMod Gallery for my Nexus 6, also known as the CM Gallery. This is a simple, fast, and fluid image viewer that can replace the stock “Photos” app on the Nexus 6, or any smartphone and tablet for that matter. Things are broke down into folders just like before, and they’ve even integrated a nice Moments feature to gather photos from moments in life, and much more. The grid view has mixed sizes to give it a lively feel, and it works wonderfully.


Next time you go to open a photo or view some images, make sure you set CM Gallery (or whichever app you download) as the default app for viewing images or video, and you’re all set.

The next time you open a photo saved from Facebook, Gmail, or any other source it will open with CM Gallery, and not photos. From here simply add the icon to your homescreen, or anywhere you’d like, and use CM Gallery whenever you’re viewing photos or video.

Read: 16 Nexus 6 Tips, Tricks & Hidden Features

My Roll and QuickPic are two of the most popular gallery replacement apps for Android, and both are worth checking out as well. QuickPic has been around for years and focuses on offering a very simple, sleek, and fast image viewing experience. While MyRoll does things a bit smarter. It will reorganize photos by events, date, time, or even location if you let it. It also has the classic “gallery reel” option where all your photos are in one spot, if you’d like. It has all the share features of the stock gallery, it learns as you go, and can even discover old photos in your gallery.


The gallery aspect is a full reel of all your photos, while moments uses the smart features to group images by location, time, date, and more. It will even remember a photo from the same day last year, and show you relevant photos (like birthdays or holidays) with a smart discover mode. It’s quite neat.

Those looking for the Gallery from Android 4.2 Jelly Bean or Android 4.4 KitKat, they’re also in the Play Store. However, most of those aren’t compatible with Android 5.0 Lollipop, at least not yet, so the other options mentioned above should be your first choice.

There are plenty of excellent photo gallery and image viewer replacement apps on the Play Store, so give them all a try, and once you choose the one you want you’re all set.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca

    06/15/2015 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you so much. This was incredibly helpful and user-friendly!

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