Every year, Apple adds some old technology to the iPhone and gives it a catchy marketing name, then like clockwork, it becomes the next big thing. Google, on the other hand, creates some truly innovative features, doesn't really bother naming them, then lets them languish in obscurity until Apple reinvents them at a later date.
When using face unlock on the Pixel 4, your lock screen notifications are bypassed by default to help you unlock your phone instantaneously. This is different than Face ID on the iPhone, which shows the lock screen until you swipe up, but only shows notifications when you've been authenticated. If you want to do it Apple's way, there are settings you can adjust on your Pixel.
With all the high-tech wizardry available on modern smartphones, the low-key most practical tool is arguably the flashlight. If you own a Google Pixel model, it's finally easier to turn the flashlight on and off from anywhere.
The Pixel 5 is a great value proposition in this era of $1,500 phones. With its reasonable price tag, fully open-sourced software, and unlockable bootloader, it's also an ideal phone for rooting.
Android's settings menu is actually pretty daunting. There are options for nearly everything, so in the sea of various menus and submenus, it's easy to overlook important privacy and security settings. On Google's Pixel phones in particular, there are 20 such settings that you should double check.
The Pixel 4 is one of the most talked-about phones of 2019, and it has many things going for it, especially in the world of rooting and modding. Just as with previous Pixel generations, unlocking the bootloader is the gateway to realizing your device's true potential. It can make way for such things as TWRP, Magisk, custom ROMs, and many other device-specific mods just the same.
Android's status bar is ever-present. It sits at the top of almost every screen in every app, making it the most prominent part of your Pixel's theme. So it only makes sense that Google would give you a way to change the icons it uses.
The first thing you'll always have to do before getting your customization game on with most phones is to unlock the bootloader. Doing so opens the true potential of the device, allowing you to root, install TWRP, Magisk, custom ROMs, and other mods. No matter your wants or needs, there's no way around it — the bootloader must be unlocked to modify the system.
Document scanning is possible via the Google Drive app, but my brain doesn't think of opening a cloud storage app to scan a document. I usually just open the camera app and take a picture instead — and apparently, I'm not the only one.
The Pixel's "Flip to Shhh" feature may not be groundbreaking, but it is useful. Third-party apps are copying it for other phones because it's so convenient. But it's not enabled by default and it's fairly hidden in the settings. So to take full advantage of your Pixel's feature set, you should learn how to use Flip to Shhh.
Google's version of Android is best described as AOSP with extra features. But while the Pixel's UI is rightfully praised for its simplicity, those "extra features" aren't as numerous as they are on other OEM skins like Samsung's One UI. Case in point, there's no real system-wide audio EQ.
Android's hidden Developer Options menu, sometimes called "Developer Mode," has a ton of cool settings inside of it. You can enable wireless ADB, spoof your geolocation, make the Pixel 5's screen always run at 90 Hz, or even force incompatible apps to work with dark mode.
QR codes have become a staple in our everyday lives. Companies use them for everything from marketing promotions to movie tickets thanks to security they provided for these types of transactions. But for years, Android users had to download an app to scan these codes. Well, not anymore.
If you want to root, it's step one. If you're a tinkerer, it's vital. It's Android's hidden "Developer options" menu, and it's definitely worth taking 30 seconds to unlock.
One thing about the small round little Pixel Buds — they might get lost easily if you have a terrible habit of misplacing stuff. Or worse, imagine someone taking a liking to them a little too much and stealing them when you aren't looking. Google thought ahead about these issues, so just like your smartphone, you can track your wireless earbuds from anywhere with ease.
QR codes are supposed to make life easier, but having to install potentially shady third-party apps just to scan one is more trouble than it's worth. Thankfully, there's a QR code reader built into all Google Pixels, but you wouldn't know it unless you stumbled across the feature.
Google's "At A Glance" widget gives you the current weather conditions and upcoming events from your Google Calendar in a handy spot right at the top of your home screen. But on Pixel phones, this widget is permanently embedded into the launcher, so you can't just long-press it to remove it.
There are many ways to access the Google Assistant on your phone, but Android 12 adds another one for Google Pixel models that may be the best way yet.
TWRP won't be ready for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL until months after release. But since you can already root with Magisk and tinker with the OS, you might find yourself in a situation where your phone won't boot, yet you don't have a custom recovery installed to fix it. Luckily, there's still a way around this.
Google doesn't get enough credit for it, but they definitely make some of the best phones for rooting and modding. Heck, if you want to replace the entire operating system on a Pixel, you can do it pretty easily. It all starts with the bootloader.
If you own a Google Pixel 4a or newer, there are new live wallpapers for you to explore that other Android devices can't have.
Developer Options is your first step to becoming a power user. If the Pixel 4a feels a bit slow, Developer Options can fix that. You want to root your device for unprecedented controls and powerful apps? You need to enable OEM unlocking in this hidden menu. ADB, secret features — Developer Options is where it all originates.
Pixels don't have a "Download Mode" like Samsung Galaxy phones, so there's not an easy, point-and-click way to send firmware files and low-level commands from your computer. What they do have is an even more powerful tool: Fastboot Mode.
Your Pixel's Now Playing song discovery tool received a few updates in Android 12, and the feature is finally comparable to other music recognition services.
In a tradition dating back to the Nexus days, Google has always used fish-themed codenames when communicating internally about their phones. Their laptops and tablets are usually named after video game characters. These names often give us the first evidence of an upcoming device when they're used in software commits in Android's open source code.
For the Pixel 4's face unlock feature to work in the dark, Google had to add a front-facing IR camera. If you download a specific app, you can actually see a live feed from this camera. It's true night vision for your phone, and it's completely free.
For Android 11, Google is doubling down on the handy App Suggestions feature that debuted in Android 10's app drawer by expanding it to the home screen dock.
It took a while, but the premiere custom recovery for Android is now available for Google's Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, so it's finally open season on root mods.
The main draw for Google's Pixel series is the software. It rocks a clean version of stock Android instead of a heavy OEM skin like TouchWiz, it gets frequent prompt OS updates, the camera software is downright amazing, and it has perhaps the most fluid UI of any phone. But an understated advantage of the software is how dead-simple it is to modify with root-level tweaks.
The most recent premium flagship smartphones from Google — the Pixel 7 Pro and Pixel 6 Pro — are equipped with displays cable of 1440 QHD+ resolution. But they also come with a tool to downgrade to 1080p FHD+, which you may want to do in certain situations.
The Pixel 4 is one of the most talked-about phones of 2019, so you know there will be lots of third-party developer support. Mods are already popping up, so you'll want to get Magisk installed as soon as possible to get root access. The current method used to gain root is the quickest way yet, thanks to the recent TWRP custom recovery support for the Pixel 4.
If you've ever been in a crowded, noisy place, chances are you've dealt with having to talk louder just so the other person can hear, and vice versa. You can alleviate this headache in the latest Pixel update by using the Sound Amplifier app's new conversation-geared tool.
How To: Create Custom Emoji or Cinematic Wallpapers on Your Google Pixel for a More Personal Home/Lock Screen
While Google's generative AI wallpapers for Android won't be out until the fall, you can take advantage of emoji backgrounds and cinematic wallpapers on your Pixel smartphone right now.
You may be wondering what exactly makes the Pixel 4a's camera so great. Compared to its predecessor, it has the same Sony IMX363 sensor and no additional hardware. Well, beyond stellar image processing, it also has several great new features that Google has added since they released the Pixel 3a last year.
If you live in the US, it's pretty simple: The Google Pixel 4a is the best phone for rooting and modding in 2020. Its price keeps the risk-reward ratio nice and low, and its unlockable bootloader makes it easy to modify virtually any aspect of Android.
Your phone is loaded with contacts you've collected over the years. They're an asset, and you should use your library of connections outside the confines of your mobile device. Luckily, your Pixel uses a standardized medium to store contacts that can be used by the likes of LinkedIn, Outlook, Hubspot, iCloud, and more.
Everyone has that one app they use more than any other. What if I told you there was a way to open these apps on newer Google Pixel devices with one quick gesture? I imagine you'd want to know how to do it.
TWRP is a name many are familiar with since it allows your Android device to install any custom file of your choosing. You can create a NANDroid backup to keep your data safe or even use Magisk to achieve full root access. In fact, TWRP is often seen as the gateway to modding your system for creating a unique user experience.
How To: Open Snapchat Directly to Camera, Stories, Chat, and More from Anywhere on Your Pixel — Even the Lock Screen
In Android 12, you can launch the Snapchat app just by tapping the back of your Pixel phone twice. The latest Pixel update from Google improved upon the feature by giving us access to the shortcut from the lock screen. That means you're mere seconds away from snapping photos, videos, and stories. But first, you have to set up and configure where you want to land when Snapchat opens.
In older Android versions, you could flood your status bar with a wall of notification icons. But starting with Android 9, Google made it to where you can only see four icons by default, and it was mostly done to accommodate phones with notches. But Google's only notched phone is the Pixel 3 XL, so what if you have literally any other Pixel?