Ontario Journalist, Writer, Photography & Filmmaker

Snapseed on Desktop? Hell to the Yeah! A Quick How-To.

You can get Snapseed to work on a Windows (and Mac) Desktop. Well….. Sort of.

Snapseed is a popular photo editing app from Google that’s available for both Apple and Android mobile devices. It’s quite good and has a lot of useful features as well as some of the fun filters and overlays. It can even open and edit RAW files. I dig deeper into Snapseed in my book The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Photography (it’s a good book, you should buy it ? ). A list of compatible camera RAW formats is available on the Google Snapseed site. I can confirm that it will not open RAW files from the Nikon Z6. Non-compatible camera RAW formats can be converted to DNG using the Adobe DNG Converter.

Lamentably, there is no desktop version of Snapseed. There are a couple ways to use Snapseed on a desktop though, with some limitations.

  • It’s only possible (as far as I know) on Windows 10 with the October 2019 feature update (i.e., not earlier versions of Windows, nor Mac computers) if using Link to Windows
  • It’s only possible with Samsung Galaxy phones running Android 9, or later (other phone manufacturers may be possible later)
  • It’s possible using the Windows Your Phone app and Link to Windows on the mobile device
    • both the mobile device and the PC have to be connected to the same WiFi network
    • using WiFi the connection can be laggy depending on the speed of the WiFi network
  • It’s also possible with Samsung devices that can make use of the Samsung Dex app
    • Dex can be used with either Windows 7, or Windows 10 (not 8)
    • Dex can also be used on Mac computers running OS 10.13 and higher
    • using Dex there is virtually no lag
  • It will not access local drives on the Windows PC. It will access cloud drives (e.g., Dropbox, MS OneDrive, Google Drive)
  • Snapseed will not save edits in a metadata-readable format like XMP for sharing in other desktop editing applications like Lightroom
Why would you want to do this?
  • For many photographers editing is the bane of their existence. It’s the not-fun, frustrating part of photography. The well-known editing applications like Lightroom, Photoshop and CaptureOne are expensive and have a steep learning curve
  • Snapseed, on the other hand, is free and is quite easy to learn
  • There are some other free editing applications like Raw Therapee and The (very poorly named) GIMP
    • both of these are difficult to use and, like many open source applications, have been designed by coders for coders. That is, the UI is for shit, the usability is awful and the learning curve is like trying to climb Mount Everest in shorts and flip-flops
    • you need to understand terms like CIELab Blending, Reweighting iterates and contrast fulcrum
  • Using Snapseed on a desktop gives you a bigger screen to see what you’re doing
  • When travelling, you may not be using a laptop with all of your usual editing suite – Lightroom, Photoshop – installed
  • Using a mouse, or trackpad may be easier for you than dragging your finger on a small phone screen and you won’t obscure part of the image with your finger

How do you do it?

Link to Windows

  • Make sure you have the latest version of the Windows My Phone app installed on your PC
  • Turn on Link to Windows in the Settings of your mobile device
  • Launch the Your Phone app and follow the on screen directions
  • You will likely be asked to confirm the connection by swiping the screen on the phone
  • With the connection made, you will see the home screen of your phone on the desktop of your computer
  • If you have apps inside folders, you need to double-click to open the folder, any other commands are single-click
Snapseed on Desktop? Hell to the Yeah! A Quick How-To., RF-Photography
Link to Windows desktop connection via WiFi

Samsung Dex

  • Install the Dex app on your computer, it can be downloaded from the Samsung website
  • Connect your mobile device to the computer with a USB cable
    • Dex will recognize the connection and launch automatically
  • Confirm the connection on your mobile device
  • Apps can be accessed via the Apps launcher at the bottom of the screen
  • You can also place apps on the Dex desktop
    • Apps on the Dex desktop must be double-clicked to open, apps accessed via the app launcher will open with a single-click
Snapseed on Desktop? Hell to the Yeah! A Quick How-To., RF-Photography
Samsung Dex desktop connection