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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
Google dropped new features for its Pixel lineup of phones, and there's something here for everyone.
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.
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.
Google dropped several of the Pixel 4's more gimmicky features in favor of perfecting the basics on the Pixel 5. While you probably won't miss Motion Sense or the Assistant squeeze gesture, you'll definitely like the extra battery they packed into the space those features once occupied. Almost 50% more battery, actually.
The Pixel 5's beautifully slim and symmetric bezels don't leave much room for extra hardware like a notification LED. But with the Ambient Display feature and an inventive app, you can turn the display cutout for the front-facing camera into an animated notification indicator.
The Pixel 5 is a bit of a departure from previous Pixels. Gone are the Pixel 4's Soli-based Motion Sense gestures, the Pixel 3's dual front-facing speakers, and the glass back panel of previous generations. But perhaps the most notable omission for long-time Pixel users is the lack of a squeeze gesture to trigger the Google Assistant.
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 Pixel 5 is the first mainstream phone with perfectly symmetrical slim bezels. Most other "bezel-less" phones have had a disproportionately large bottom bezel, and while the iPhone's side and bottom bezels are symmetrical, there's a huge notch across most of its top bezel. The downside to the Pixel's approach is it has a pretty big display cutout for the front camera.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I think it was about Day 3 of working on our massive, all-encompassing Pixel 4a root guide for beginners when I realized something: Not everyone needs their hands held through each tiny step. If you just need a quick refresher, some links, and maybe a fastboot command to copy, this Pixel 4a root guide is for you.
How To: Install Dirty Unicorns on Your Pixel & Get Custom ROM Features Without Losing Motion Sense & Active Edge
If you've ever been into custom ROMs, you likely know the Dirty Unicorns name pretty well. It's been synonymous with unique features and awesome tweaks when compared to stock. Recently, Dirty Unicorns has returned again in a big way with some neat features for Android 10.
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.
When compared to last year's model, the Pixel 4a has upgrades that go beyond the spec sheet. But since it's one generation old, 2019's Pixel 3a can be had for one hell of a discount right now, and it's still got two full years of software updates coming its way. So which one really is the better buy?
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.
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.
It feels like every few months, some new feature is discovered in the Pixel's Camera app. By taking advantage of machine learning and the high-quality camera, Google continues to add hidden functions that improve your life even if they're a little niche.
On Android, there is a vulnerability that Google doesn't seem to want to fix — anyone can open the Quick Settings panel on your lock screen. GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, all toggles accessible in this menu, are vital tools for locating your phone in case it is ever stolen. But thanks to Xposed, you can eliminate this potential risk.
There was a period when Google knew they were switching to gesture navigation, but felt users weren't quite ready for it. The result was Android 9's two-button nav bar that you could both tap and swipe. Android 10 has since brought full-on gestures, and that's the version the Pixel 4 shipped with, so it never had that quirky, fun two-button setup. But you can bring it back, so to speak.
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.
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.
Prompt and frequent system updates are a big part of the Pixel's identity — we're even getting quarterly feature drops now. But not all devices receive these all-important updates at the same time because of Google's staged rollout system. If you want the update right away, there's a way to manually check without having to dig around in Settings every time.
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.
When Google first launched the Pixel 4, it was and still is the only phone in existence that uses a radar system for motion gestures. Yes, that radar — the same kind of motion-sensing technology used in the military for years — is available on our phones. The Pixel 4 did come with a gesture to let you change songs without touching the phone itself, but you can now pause your music just the same.
Google's push for your safety gained some much-needed attention when it released the Pixel 4 smartphone. It has an app called "Personal Safety," which uses the array of built-in sensors on your phone to detect if you've been in a car crash. The futuristic safety feature was exclusive to the Pixel 4 initially but is now available to all Pixel owners as well.
The Google Pixel's camera is a status symbol of sorts. When someone sees you with one, you become the photographer of choice for social events. And where do those photos end up? Social media, of course. It's how we share our lives now, and the smartphone camera defines how we approach that.