Google Photos isn’t available on Android TV, and for good reason. As long as you can cast any photo or video from your phone to your TV, you don’t really need the full app to be installed on the latter. However, there are a few reasons why you might want to get the proper Photos app installed and for that, we have this tutorial. It’s a very convoluted process, especially if you own a Chromecast with Google TV (but much less so if you own an NVIDIA Shield), and you’re better off not wasting your time with it unless you really need it.
Why get the Google Photos app
I could talk about how more convenient it is to browse your gallery directly on the TV instead of looking down at the phone then up at the big screen, but really that’s a tiny nitpick. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two valid reasons to get Google Photos running on your Android TV.
The first one is to set up automatic backups and sync your screenshots to other devices. This is clearly something only tech writers, gamers, app developers, or tutorial writers would find useful. For most other people who don’t need the automatic backup to kick in each time they take a screenshot, there’s always a slower manual way to send screenshots to other devices — uploading from Solid Explorer to Google Drive, or using Send Files to TV are two methods I’ve often used.
The second reason is to allow someone who doesn’t have a smartphone to browse your gallery on the big screen. It could be younger kids or elderly people, or anyone else who doesn’t have a phone or tablet, and you want them to be able to access the gallery and check some pics or videos when you’re not around to cast the content to the TV.
Missing features, plenty of inconveniences
For those of you who feel like rebels and think they’d still want to access Photos on the TV, let me take a moment to deflate your enthusiasm. Even when you get it running, the experience is nothing like you’re used to. This is the same Photos app but the interface isn’t optimized for Android TV, so a lot of the features just aren’t available.
For one, the bottom tabs we’re used to seeing on our phones aren’t visible on TVs, so you can’t go to the search tab (people, places, things) or access your library (albums, favorites, archive). That means you can only browse shared albums — through the conversation bubble on the top left — but even then, only the first two rows of pics are accessible, and not the entire album. For some reason, it’s impossible to scroll past them.
And we haven’t even gotten to the biggest downside of the experience: You can’t press next (right) or previous (left) on your remote’s D-pad to move between fullscreen media. Instead, you have to open each image or video one by one, then go back and choose another.
All the icons here aren’t accessible with a TV remote’s D-pad.
That only leaves some limited functionality. Besides browsing one by one, you can tap and hold to select items then share, delete, archive, or add them to an album. You can also set up automatic backups for specific folders.
Using a USB or Bluetooth mouse might improve the situation a bit, but still, a lot of the features remain inaccessible due to the way the app is presented on Android TV. Overall, what’s here isn’t worth the hassle for most people.
Step 1: Install Google Photos on Android TV
If, after all of these warnings, you’re still excited to get Google Photos to run on the TV, brace yourself. The process isn’t for the unexperienced or the faint of heart. If any terms I use below seem confusing, you’re better off skipping this whole bidness altogether.
Download the latest Google Photos APK
Since browsers on Android TV are mostly crap, it’s better if you kick this off on you phone. You need to start by grabbing an installation file for Photos that’s compatible with your TV.
Of course, we recommend going to our sister site APK Mirror and getting the latest version. Your best bet is to get a full APK, i.e. skip the ones that have a “bundle” notice next to them. The variant to grab will depend on the TV you have. For example, you need the v7a processor variant for the Chromecast with Google TV, and the v8a one for the Nvidia Shield.
The next steps are to send this APK over to your TV and install it there. I won’t go over these two steps in detail here because we’ve already written separate tutorials for them:
Step 2: Find, launch, and browse Google Photos
Photos being an unsanctioned app on Android TV, it doesn’t show up in the app launcher, so there’s no way for you to quickly launch it.
You’ll need to go to the Android TV’s Settings > Apps > See all apps, then scroll down to get to Photos and select Open on the right panel.
If you find yourself opening Photos frequently enough that these steps become annoying, or if you want to simplify it for a kid or someone else, you can set up a Button Mapper shortcut for it. Basically this remaps almost any button on the TV’s remote to Photos.
Whatever the method you decide to access Photos with, the first time you open the app, it’ll ask you for the permission to see your photos and media. You have to agree to that, then Photos’ almost-familiar interface springs up.
The top bar lets you access your shared photos and conversations, as well as the various settings (more on that later). Below that, you’ll find your memories followed by your gallery. As I mentioned earlier, the functionality here is very limited, so don’t expect anything like Photos on your phone.
Step 3: Set up automatic screenshot backups
Turn on automatic backups
When you first sign in with Google Photos, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked to turn on backup & sync. If you plan to use the Photos app to sync your screenshots, you need to turn that on, but it’s not enough.
Most Android TV devices don’t save screenshots inside the DCIM folder, so they won’t be automatically part of the backup. You need to toggle sync for the standalone screenshot folder, but it isn’t as easy as tapping on your avatar and going to settings to turn it on.
You’ll quickly notice that D-pad scrolling in the menu isn’t possible in Photos on Android TV, so you can’t go down to settings or click on anything. What you need is a mouse or mouse-like functionality to do that.
Get a USB/BT mouse or a third-party app
Three scenarios present themselves in the case of the missing mouse function.
➡️ If you have a USB or Bluetooth mouse ready, just connect it to your Android TV unit. It’s the easiest way to proceed.
➡️ If you have a Shield TV, you can download the official remote app from the Play Store and switch to the mousepad mode in it. You’ll get a hovering mouse on your TV that you can move around and click on items with. Easy peasy.
➡️ And finally, if you have any other Android TV, you’re left in the cold because the official remote app has a trackpad and a swipepad, but no mouse. I tried plenty of apps, but only one worked well on my Chromecast with Google TV: Zank Remote. I had to install it on both my phone and my TV to enable the cursor mode. The app requires accessibility access and the permission to display over other apps (it’s putting a cursor on top of your screen). I also noticed that it kept asking for USB debugging and the permission to access media, but I got it to work without those.
Honestly, I’m not very comfortable recommending this because the app asks for more access than it needs. But if you don’t have a Shield or a mouse, then it’s the only thing that works. You can always revoke the permissions — and even uninstall the app — once you’re done setting things up in Photos.
Enable screenshot backups (finally)
Whew, we’re almost there.
Regardless of the way you got a cursor to show up on your TV, it’s time to enable that screenshot folder backup. Go to your avatar on the top right of Google Photos. Now select Photos settings > Back up & sync > Back up device folders and toggle Screenshots on. All of the steps are outlined in the screenshots below.
And with that done, you can simply go back, disable the mouse and continue living your life normally. Each time you take a screenshot, it’ll be automatically backed up to Google Photos, and it’ll become accessible from all your devices. It works in the background too, just like Photos on any other Android device, but it may not be as instantaneous. Give it a few seconds if you don’t see the images pop up on your phone.
I told you before we got started that this wasn’t a simple process and I hope you realize why it’s not worth it, given all the limitations you still end up facing once the app is installed. But if you often take screenshots on your TV and want to get them wirelessly over to your other devices, there’s nothing as quick and reliable as Photos backups.
Java News Roundup: Classfile API Draft, Spring Boot, GlassFish, Project Reactor, Micronaut – InfoQ.com
This week’s Java roundup for June 20th, 2022 features news from OpenJDK, JDK 19, JDK 20, Spring point releases, GlassFish 7.0.0-M6, GraalVM Native Build Tools 0.9.12, Micronaut 3.5.2, Quarkus 2.10.0, Project Reactor 2022.0.0-M3, Apache Camel Quarkus 2.10.0, and Apache Tika versions 2.4.1 and 1.28.4.
Brian Goetz, Java language architect at Oracle, recently updated JEP Draft 828039, Classfile API, to provide background information on how this draft will evolve and ultimately replace the Java bytecode manipulation and analysis framework, ASM, that Goetz characterizes as “an old codebase with plenty of legacy baggage.” This JEP proposes to provide an API for parsing, generating, and transforming Java class files. This JEP will initially serve as an internal replacement for ASM in the JDK with plans to have it opened as a public API.
Spring Boot 2.7.1 has been released featuring 66 bug fixes, improvements in documentation and dependency upgrades such as: Spring Framework 5.3.21, Spring Data 2021.2.1, Spring Security 5.7.2, Reactive Streams 1.0.4, Groovy 3.0.11, Hazelcast 5.1.2 and Kotlin Coroutines 1.6.3. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
Spring Boot 2.6.9 has been released featuring 44 bug fixes, improvements in documentation and dependency upgrades similar to Spring Boot 2.7.1. Further details on this release may be found in the release notes.
VMware has published CVE-2022-22980, Spring Data MongoDB SpEL Expression Injection Vulnerability, a vulnerability in which a “Spring Data MongoDB application is vulnerable to SpEL Injection when using
@Aggregation-annotated query methods with SpEL expressions that contain query parameter placeholders for value binding if the input is not sanitized.” Spring Data MongoDB versions 3.4.1 and 3.3.5 have resolved this vulnerability.
Spring Data versions 2021.2.1 and 2021.1.5 have been released featuring upgrades to all of the Spring Data sub projects such as: Spring Data MongoDB, Spring Data Cassandra, Spring Data JDBC and Spring Data Commons. These releases will also be consumed by Spring Boot 2.7.1 and 2.6.9, respectively, and address the aforementioned CVE-2022-22980.
Spring Authorization Server 0.3.1 has been released featuring some enhancements and bug fixes. However, the team decided to downgrade from JDK 11 to JDK 8 to maintain compatibility and consistency with Spring Framework, Spring Security 5.x and Spring Boot 2.x. As a result, the HyperSQL (HSQLDB) dependency was also downgraded to version 2.5.2 because HSQLDB 2.6.0 and above require JDK 11. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
Spring Security versions 5.7.2 and 5.6.6 have been released featuring bug fixes and dependency upgrades. Both versions share a new feature in which testing examples have been updated to use JUnit Jupiter, an integral part of JUnit 5. Further details on these releases may be found in the release notes for version 5.7.2 and version 5.6.6.
On the road to GlassFish 7.0.0, the sixth milestone release was made available by the Eclipse Foundation that delivers a number of changes related to passing the Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) for the Jakarta Contexts and Dependency Injection 4.0 and Jakarta Concurrency 3.0 specifications. However, this milestone release has not yet passed the full Jakarta EE 10 TCK. GlassFish 7.0.0-M6, considered a beta release, compiles and runs on JDK 11 through JDK 18. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
GraalVM Native Build Tools
On the road to version 1.0, Oracle Labs has released version 0.9.12 of Native Build Tools, a GraalVM project consisting of plugins for interoperability with GraalVM Native Image. This latest release provides: support documentation for Mockito and Byte Buddy; prevent builds from failing if no test list has been provided; support different agent modes in the
native-image Gradle plugin, a breaking change; and support for JVM Reachability Metadata in Maven. Further details on this release may be found in the release notes.
The Micronaut Foundation has released Micronaut 3.5.2 featuring bug fixes and point releases of the Micronaut Oracle Cloud 2.1.4, Micronaut Email 1.2.3, and Micronaut Spring 4.1.1 projects. Documentation for the
ApplicationContextConfigurer interface was also updated to include a recommendation on how to define a default Micronaut environment. More details on this release may be found in the release notes.
Red Hat has released Quarkus 2.10.0.Final featuring: preliminary work on virtual threads (JEP 425) from Project Loom; support non-blocking workloads in GraphQL extensions; a dependency upgrade to SmallRye Reactive Messaging 3.16.0; support for Kubernetes service binding for Reactive SQL Clients extensions; and a new contract
CacheKeyGenerator to allow for customizing generated cache keys from method parameters.
On the road to Project Reactor 2022.0.0, the third milestone release was made available featuring dependency upgrades to
reactor-addons 3.5.0-M3 and
Apache Camel Quarkus
Maintaining alignment with Quarkus, The Apache Software Foundation has released Camel Quarkus 2.10.0 containing Camel 3.17.0 and Quarkus 2.10.0.Final. New features include: new extensions, Azure Key Vault and DataSonnet; and removal of deprecated extensions in Camel 3.17.0. Further details on this release may be found in the list of issues.
The Apache Tika team has released version 2.4.1 of their metadata extraction toolkit. Formerly a subproject of Apache Lucene, this latest version ships with improved customization and configuration such as: add a
stop() method to the
TikaServerCli class so that it can be executed with Apache Commons Daemon; allow pass-through of
Content-Length header to metadata in the
TikaResource class; and support for users to expand system properties from the forking process into forked
Apache Tika 1.28.4 was also released featuring security fixes and dependency upgrades. More details in this release may be found in the changelog. The 1.x release train will reach end-of-life on September 30, 2022.
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