If you’re one of the many that pulled the trigger on a shiny Google Pixel or Pixel XL, you made an excellent decision. The device was Google’s first official entrance into making smartphone hardware, and boy is it an awesome first attempt. Even though it’s now a few years old, the device still holds its own against many newer devices.
You’re probably getting used to your new phone, but it takes time to truly become a master of the Pixel. It would be practically impossible to know about every single feature the device has to offer. That’s why we’ve put together this list of Google Pixel tips and tricks to try out. All of these tips will work equally well on the Pixel XL. Note that many of these tips apply to Google Pixel phones that have the Android 9.0 Pie update, so if you don’t yet have the update it’s worth upgrading.
Learn the basics of your phone and camera
Keep searching from the home screen
The home screen is a little different than other stock Android phones, most notably because of the fact that the search bar is found at the bottom of the screen. That makes it easy to search the web from the home screen — simply tap on the search bar and start typing.
Wake your phone without touching with the home button
Unlike many phones of yesteryear, you don’t actually have to even touch the power button to wake your Pixel. Instead, make sure the fingerprint sensor is set up, and simply place your fingertip over the sensor to wake up your phone. It’ll open straight to the home screen, doing away with the need to press the power button and input a PIN code.
Get extra battery life with power saving mode
Running low on juice and not yet done with your day? You need power saving mode! To access power saving mode, head to the Settings app, then hit Battery, and press the Battery saver button. You can then switch on battery saver right away, or set it to turn on automatically when you have a certain amount of battery left. You can set it to turn on at anywhere between 5 and 75 percent.
Schedule Night Light mode
Night Light has finally made it to Android. The feature takes out much of the blue light being blasted towards your eyes — light that could signal to your brain that it’s still daytime. What that does is help you to get to sleep quicker and easier than you otherwise might, especially if you tend to use your phone at night. To schedule Night Light mode simply head to Settings, then hit the Display button. You’ll see an option for Night Light — press that button, and you can either turn the feature on straight away, or schedule it to turn on and off at certain times.
Tap the weather widget to get to the weather app
You may notice a slightly different look to the Pixel’s home screen — that’s because Google has included a few widgets, something that you probably wouldn’t have found by default on your Nexus phones. The most notable of these widgets is the weather widget, but did you know that you can simply tap on the widget to go straight to the weather app? It’s a nice, quick way to get to the weather forecast for the next few days. If you want more, then check out our best widgets for Android roundup.
Set up pulse notification lights
You may not know this, but the Google Pixel and Pixel XL actually have a hidden notification light that’s disabled by default. It might take some getting used to to figure out what the colors mean, but that will come with time. To enable the light, head to Settings, then tap Apps & Notifications, then Notifications. You can then toggle the notification light on or off with the “Blink light” option.
Quickly get to the camera from anywhere
Many people are aware of the fact that you can quickly access your camera from the lock screen, but it turns out you can access the camera from any screen on your phone. Simply double press the power button, and you’ll be taken straight to the app.
Switch to selfies with a gesture
Once you’re in the app, it’s super easy to switch over to taking selfies. You could hit the camera switch button, but you can also twist your wrist twice to make the camera switch from the rear-facing to the front-facing sensor. Double twist it again to switch back to the primary camera.
Hold down the ‘take photo’ button to use burst mode
Want to take a burst of photos instead of just one. You don’t need to tap the take photo button as fast as you can — instead, just hold the button down and the camera will take a burst of photos. It will even go as far as to make a little animation out of those photos, after which you can look at all the pictures and choose which one’s best.