Google Pixel 6 tips and tricks: 13 features to try
(Pocket-lint) – The latest phones from Google come with new software, and this year there are quite a few changes. Android 12 brings a lot of new features under the hood, which means a lot of cool new things to check out.
While there are a lot of big changes to get used to, there are also some lesser-known abilities and features that we found very useful on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Watch our video below for a visual guide to these features, or read on below if you prefer a written guide.
1. Make the fingerprint sensor more reliable
The Pixel 6’s fingerprint sensor isn’t amazing, so if you want to make it a bit more reliable, there’s a handy trick back in the days when iPhone TouchID sensors weren’t too hot no more: just register the same finger or thumb multiple times.
Once you’ve set up your first fingerprint scan, go to Settings> Security> Fingerprint unlock. Now enter your PIN code to access the settings. Press “Add fingerprint” and scan that same finger or thumb again. In our testing, we found that this made the scanner much less likely to break down.
2. Press back to take a screenshot
For years, the default way to take a screenshot on Android has been to press two buttons together. This can be a bit tricky, depending on the position and layout of the buttons. But you can activate a gesture to take a screenshot just by tapping on the back of your phone.
Open Settings> System and now select “Gestures”. At the very top you will see “Quick Tap”. Select this option and activate the function on the next screen. By default, its action is set to screenshot, so now when you double tap the back of the phone, a screenshot will be taken.
If you’d rather have a different function, you can do that, whether it’s pausing or playing music, launching Google Assistant, or showing notifications.
If you find it too easy to turn on the double tap feature, you can enable the option at the bottom of the screen that requires harder taps for it to launch your chosen feature.
3. One hand mode
The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have big screens, so you might find some things hard to reach. That’s why Android 12 now has a one-handed mode that brings things down from the top of the screen.
Head to Settings> System> Gestures and choose “One-handed mode”. Now activate it. Once active, when you swipe down at the bottom of the screen, the UI will lower, allowing you to access the top items with your thumb.
4. Disable “At a Glance”
By default, the Pixel’s home screen has something called âAt a Glanceâ at the top. Most of the time, it displays weather conditions, but it also automatically displays important calendar events and travel plans from your Gmail account.
If you want to turn it off, long press the “At a Glance” widget and tap “Personalize”. Now tap “At a Glance” from the list and then tap “Deactivate”. You can also enable or disable the display of specific features.
5. Allow the home screen to rotate
If you like to use your phone in a landscape orientation, the Pixel with its home screen rotation feature turned off by default can be slightly frustrating, but luckily you can turn it on.
Long press the wallpaper of your home screen and tap “Home settings”. Now turn on the switch at the bottom next to ‘Allow home screen rotation’. And now, every time you rotate your home screen to landscape mode, the UI spins with you. Just make sure to turn on the “Auto-rotate” feature in your shadow of quick settings as well, to make sure you don’t have to tap the little on-screen rotate icon every time.
6. Reverse wireless charging
Pixel’s reverse wireless charging is called Battery Share, and it will allow you to wirelessly charge compatible devices on the back of your phone. Just pull down the quick settings nuance and hit the Battery Sharing option. Turn your phone over and place your wireless charging compatible product on the back of it.
Also, if you long press on the battery sharing icon, you will get access to the main battery sharing settings. Here you will find a slider that allows you to set a limit to stop charging. Just in case charging your favorite earphones or smartwatch drains your phone’s battery. Adjust this slider until this limit is at a comfortable level. The default is only 10 percent.
7. Quickly access Google Pay from the lock screen
Once you’ve set up Google Pay for contactless payments, you can access it right from the lock screen. When your phone is locked, you will see a small map icon at the bottom of the screen, in the right corner. Tapping on it quickly launches GPay so that you can use it to pay for goods.
If not, make sure Google Pay is set up for your chosen card, then go to Settings> Display> Lock screen and make sure the âShow walletâ toggle is turned on.
8. Multilingual keyboard
If you speak multiple languages ââand communicate regularly in them, you will probably find it useful to have a bilingual or multilingual keyboard. Rather than having to constantly switch languages.
Go to Settings> System> Languages> Onscreen keyboard and now tap on ‘Gboard’. Now tap on languages ââand “add keyboard” and choose one of the languages ââfrom the list.
When you start typing now, the installed keyboard will automatically detect when you type in either and can correct and predict the spelling of both without ever having to change manually.
9. Quickly turn off your microphone or camera access
This one is very fast, but it’s a new feature. Pull down the settings pane and find the camera and mic toggles. Tap on any of them and it will immediately block your camera and mic so that no apps on your phone can access it.
10. Current reading history
One of Pixel’s most useful features in recent years is to display the name and artist of any song that is playing right where you are. To turn it on, go to Settings> Display> Lock screen and “Now Playing” and turn on the switch if you haven’t already.
To view songs that have been tagged recently, scroll down to âNow Playing Historyâ and you’ll see a list of songs, along with the time they were tagged. Also, if you want to add a shortcut to this list, you can. In fact, once you’re in the list, a pop-up will appear asking if you want it. Just press “yes”.
If not, go to your home screen, long press the wallpaper and tap “widgets” from the pop-up menu. Now choose âAndroid System Intelligenceâ and hold the âplaying historyâ shortcut and drag it to a space on your home screen.
11. Deactivate your Google Discover page
On the left of the home screen you’ll almost always find the Google feed page, showing you the news and videos that it deems relevant to you, but you can turn it off. Long press your wallpaper and choose “Home settings”. Now deactivate the option “Swipe to access the Google application”.
12. Display a RAW image switcher in the camera
If you want a manual switch to choose between RAW and JPE, you can have one. Open your camera, hit the settings cog in the corner and now select âmore settingsâ. Now choose “Advanced” and enable the option indicating “RAW + JPEG” check.
When you open the camera settings menu that loads on the viewfinder / monitor view, you will now see an option that allows you to switch between RAW + JPEG or just take pictures in JPEG.
13. Android Easter Egg 12
It’s not a new version of Android without an Easter Egg, and the path to find it is still the same. Open Settings> About phone and tap “Android version”. On the next screen, repeatedly press “Android version” until it loads an image of a clock widget.
Now turn the minute hand of the clock until the time reaches 12 o’clock. It will now load an Android 12 Easter Egg in your phone’s theme colors.
There’s also an extra element to the Easter egg: long press your home screen and tap “Widgets.” Now choose “Android S Widget” and drag and drop the paint chip shortcut to your home screen. If you want, you can resize the widget to display multiple color maps. Tap on it, and they’ll load in full screen, and you can tap any individual card to share that color. It’s pretty pointless, but it’s an Easter egg, it doesn’t need to have a point.
Best Black Friday 2021 phone deals: Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia and more
Written by Cam Bunton. Originally published on .