Astrophotography has been a favorite among Pixel users since its release in 2019, and it continued to improve as Google’s camera software evolved. When the Pixel 5 and 4a 5G were launched with an ultra-wide camera, many were excited to see what it could do in astro mode. Unfortunately, the quality was lacking, and now Google has disabled the use of this lens.
When you are updated to Google Camera 8.1, you can not activate astro mode unless you are using the main camera. Zoom out to the ultra-wide will display a “Zoom to 1x for astrophotography” banner at the top of the screen.
It’s a shame to see this limitation, but not surprising since the resulting images were so bad. Hopefully Google will continue to work on this and bring it back one day in a more polished state. Rest assured that normal night mode still works as before with the ultra-wide lens, so you do not miss it.
The latest update to the app rolled out around December 9th, so you probably already received it via the Play Store. If not, you can download the latest version (or reset to a previous one) on APK Mirror.