If you’ve just had a Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro smartphone, here are a number of settings and features you should know about.
You just had a Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro? There are a number of little things to consider and potentially change before you start to use it fully.
The Pixel 6 range is exceptional, with its Tensor chip, its photo module and its very successful design. But to get the most out of it, you have to dig into the settings and make a few tweaks, including customization.
Some of these changes will make the interface look nicer, others will help you get the most out of the phone’s camera or battery. Google has also integrated certain features into the telephone application to facilitate calls to automated centers. We’ll show you how to turn it all on, or turn it off as needed.
Enable themed icons to match your icons to your wallpaper
One of the biggest features of Android 12 is Material You, which comes to customize the color palette according to your wallpaper. You’ll notice that some elements in some apps, like the keyboard in Messages and the Compose button in Gmail, have color accents that mirror your wallpaper.
If you go to Settings, you can choose from several options.
But you don’t have to stop there. To give your icons a colorful treatment that looks like your wallpaper, long press an empty space on the home screen of your Pixle 6 then tap “Wallpaper & Style” and make sure that the button next to Theme icons is enabled. The icons should now match the style of your wallpaper.
Use Quick Phrases to cancel an alarm or reject a call without saying “OK Google”
This has happened to all of us. The alarm clock rings and you are not awake enough to reach the phone. Google simplifies the operation with the Pixel 6 by allowing to pause or cancel an alarm by simply saying “Stop”, without the classic “OK Google”. This also works for calls, by simply saying “Answer” or “Decline”.
To activate this feature, in Settings, then Applications and Assistant, tap Quick phrases. You should see options for alarms, timers, and incoming calls. Activate according to your will.
Let Google Assistant wait in robocalls
Being put on hold during a phone call is a real pain. With the Google Hold For Me feature, Google Assistant waits for you and alerts you when a human is available on the other end of the phone. If you don’t want to have to remember which number to enter to get there next time, you can also activate Direct My Call. This transcribes the automated menus.
These two features are in the Pixel 6 phone app. Open it and then tap on the icon with the three little dots in the upper right corner. Choose Settings and you should see Hold for Me and Direct My Call in the Assistive section.
The Direct My Call feature is promising, but currently only works on certain numbers and only in English. And the transcriptions are sometimes quite strange.
Choose between battery conservation or high performance
Google Pixel smartphones can optimize battery life depending on your usage. But there may be times that you would prefer to disable this feature to get the best performance from your device. You can turn this option on or off at any time from Settings, choosing Battery then Adaptive Preferences.
Enable smart storage to avoid running out of storage
If you take a lot of photos and videos, you know how valuable storage is. To handle this, you can let your Pixel automatically delete old photos to free up space. If you enable this feature, your device will erase photos saved to your Google Photos account that have been on your device for more than 60 days if the free phone storage drops below 25%.
Activate storage saver to optimize photo and video storage
If you want to save space, here’s another option: turn on storage saver on your Pixel. This changes the most storage-intensive settings, like storing photos no longer in RAW but in JPEG and recording videos in 1080p instead of 4K. If you prefer quantity over image quality, you should enable this option.
Launch the Camera app and tap on the cogwheel icon in the upper left corner then on More settings and select Device storage. Activate the switch next to Storage Saver.
Customize the behavior of the volume key while taking a photo
You can use the volume button to take a photo, adjust the zoom, or control your Pixel’s volume. Open the Camera app, tap the settings icon and choose More settings. Then choose Gestures and select volume key action.
Make the Pixel’s screen automatically switch to the correct orientation
Seeing your phone stuck in portrait mode when you hold it in landscape to watch a video is very frustrating. Avoid this on your Pixel 6 by opening Settings then Display and tapping on Auto-rotate screen. You can choose to enable face detection to make automatic rotation more precise.
Identify songs from the lock screen
Google Pixel devices can recognize songs and display title and artist on the lock screen. Open the Settings menu, choose Display, and tap Lock screen. Tap Now playing player and activate the switch next to Identify current songs.
Choose between smooth scrolling or autonomy
The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro can increase their screen refresh rate for faster scrolling and smoother animations, making the interface more responsive overall. The Pixel 6 can crank up to 90Hz and the Pixel 6 Pro up to 120Hz. But that feature taps into battery life.
To access this option, and deactivate it if necessary, go to Settings then Display. Scroll down to Smooth display and toggle on or off as appropriate.
Add subtitles on videos, podcasts, and phone calls
The Google Live Caption feature generates closed captions during media playback and it works on older Pixel devices, up to the second generation. It’s an accessibility feature that can come in handy if you don’t have a headset or earphones, for example.
To activate, press the volume button and tap the Live Caption icon which looks like a speech bubble. Just remember that it taps into the battery.
Edit quick settings for easy access to shortcuts
When you swipe the screen from top to bottom, the quick settings menu appears. Tap on the pencil icon to edit this menu and add the settings you use most often. Google offers a wide variety of options, from battery saver and mic on / off to alarms. There are also shortcuts to airplane mode, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.