Sure, there are more feature-rich versions of Android out there, but the simplicity of Google’s internal vision of what a mobile operating system should be is one of the main reasons fans love the Pixel series. You also get the benefits of certain features you won’t find anywhere else, including improved Assistant integration and more.
We tried to omit some obvious candidates like call filtering and hold for me as they are advertised as key selling features. Instead, we’re sticking to options you may not even know existed. With that in mind, here are some of our favorite Pixel features that we don’t think are talked about often enough.
Video – 10 Google Pixel Features You Don’t Use Enough
Subscribe to 9to5Google on YouTube for more videos
Delete multiple applications at once
On Pixel phones or any phone with Files by Google installed, you don’t have to waste time removing unwanted applications one by one. This time saver is great if you want to get rid of space-consuming games and applications in one fell swoop, rather than having to use the slow process of searching for applications, opening individual application settings, and then hitting the “Uninstall” button. Coupled with some of the other features of Files by Google, you can target the biggest unused apps on your phone and easily remove them all within seconds.
Blackout of the screen at night
The advantages of an Always-on display certainly outweigh the disadvantages, but at night, even at the lowest brightness settings, it can be either dazzling or distracting. A simple solution is to turn off this feature on your Pixel. Thanks to the Digital Wellbeing controls, you can set the Always-on display to turn off when you sleep.
As long as you have a sleep mode routine set up, it’s as simple as toggling options, and the Always-on display will turn off during the hours you set. When the alarm goes off it will come back on and work as it should. There are also some potential benefits of extending your battery if you don’t like charging or forget to charge your phone overnight.
The ability to make adjustments to the audio balance on your Pixel phone is a great feature, even if you don’t listen to the audio very often or watch videos on your mobile. This is a particularly handy feature for the Pixel 5 series, which has a very weak on-ear speaker beneath the display that just isn’t loud enough. This is true for any connected Bluetooth or wired audio equipment, so play around with it sparingly.
While Tasker is undoubtedly the king of Android automation, you may want some basic automated functionality without going too far. The rules feature on Pixel phones gives you basic tools to automate simple things. Don’t go waiting for a full device check; instead, it is limited to adjusting the ringer volume and Do Not Disturb settings.
The triggers you have on offer include Wi-Fi or GPS location. Sure, it’s not exhausting in any way, or it doesn’t save everyone’s time. However, it is a nice little touch that is sealed and allows you to set rules for work, home and any other location.
Quick screenshots, image sharing and text selection
Technically, they’re three things combined into one, but stick with us because they’re all activated the same way. The Recent app menu in Android 11 has some powerful new toggles, and in Android 12 you get some interesting time-saving features that you most likely aren’t using as much as you should.
Let’s start with quickly toggling screenshots as this is something anyone can take advantage of right away. When you go to the main app preview carousel, you can take a screenshot of the app immediately by tapping on it.
This saves you from having to press the power button and volume key combinations while getting a full screen image of the app. On Android 12, you will still have to use the key combination method to access scrollable screenshots of the apps that support them. However, this is a super-fast way to share something between apps and services.
The selection tool is a bit more powerful as it comes with some neat tricks you may never have known about. Touching the “Select” switch allows you to easily select any text on the screen. That alone is a nice bonus, but it offers other cool possibilities courtesy of Google Lens and the Assistant.
Highlight foreign text and you may be asked to translate into your localized language, while other contextual hints are also available including “Copy”, “Share” and “Search”. The latter will take you to the Google application and search for the most interesting moments.
A bonus exclusively for Android 12 users are the more contextual tools in the Recent menu. If an application or website has images, you will see a small image icon that you can tap to quickly copy or save the image. Dragging the icon down opens a small share sheet that allows you to send directly to contacts or to an application of your choice. There is also a quick hyperlink builder that allows you to copy links from webpages or, like the image sharing tool, drag down to the sharing sheet pop-up.
By the time Android 12 Pixel gained a dedicated one-handed mode, it’s a cool option to probably not use as much as you should. As phones get bigger and bigger, it gets harder and harder every year to reach out and hit the top layers of the screen.
One-handed mode in Pixel is a function that, even if you do not use it all the time, it is worth activating on your phone. Just swipe down on the navigation bar and everything that would normally be out of reach is now within your reach. It’s not helpful all the time, but it’s useful because armless gymnastics is needed to access all parts of the app’s interfaces.
If you’re tired of constantly typing your PIN or fumbling with the sometimes sophisticated fingerprint scanner on your Pixel 6 display, you should try using Smart Lock. This feature has been around for a long time, but it’s still something not all Pixel owners use to save time on unlocking and accessing their phones.
Smart Lock has several options to choose from. There’s an on-body detection that uses your device’s sensors to determine if your Pixel is in your pocket or in your hand. You can set up this feature using trusted places, so you don’t have to enter a PIN or use biometrics at home or wherever you want. There is also a trusted device option that will remove the PIN and biometric requirement if you are connected to specific Bluetooth accessories.
Using a phone while driving is not only unnecessary, it’s also dangerous, unless you need turn-based navigation assistance. Android Auto and Android Automotive certainly eliminate some of the risk, but eliminating distractions is still the better option. Luckily, Android has a built-in driving mode that can automatically activate when you’re in a motor vehicle.
As an extension of Do Not Disturb, there are several ways to activate it. Your phone can detect when you are driving on the road or at a certain speed. Or, it may switch when you connect to a Bluetooth device in your car. It’s a great way to eliminate any distraction while still being able to use Google Maps, while calls, texts, and regular notifications are paused until you reach your destination.
Pausing the application
Eliminating distractions is easier said than done. As of Android 9 Pie, Digital Wellbeing provides an option called “Focus Mode,” which you can adjust to block the most distracting apps. When this option is active, all app notifications will be silenced until the end of the time period.
This works great on weekends and evenings, but if you just want to mute an app on your phone quickly and efficiently, you can simply “pause” it when needed. Just press and hold any app and you’ll see an hourglass icon – tap on it and it will be completely muted until it is reactivated by “pausing” the app if you try to open it again.
A good VPN is always something you should be able to access, no matter what technology you’re using. If you’re a Google One subscriber, you can get a free VPN of 1 TB ($ 9.99 per month). This works just as well with other VPN providers, and for added security, you can even block any internet connections unless you’re connected to a VPN service. Data transfer speed and network performance may vary depending on the VPN provider you choose, but it’s a solid way to increase device security on known, unknown, and mobile data networks.
What’s your favorite Pixel feature that isn’t mentioned enough?
If you’re using Google Pixel, what’s your favorite lesser-known feature or feature? Do you have any options that you think deserve more attention? Let us know in the comments section below.
FTC: We use automatic affiliate links to make money. More.
Check 9to5Google on YouTube for more information: