10 Google Pixel features you should be using

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Google Pixel phones may not have as many features as Samsung Galaxy phones, but they’re not without some great things to do. We’ll show you some things you can do with a Pixel phone that you might not know about.

Make it easier to use with one hand

One-handed mode on Android 12.
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Google has released some pretty big Pixel phones. The Pixel 6 Pro, for example, has a whopping 6.7-inch screen. To make it easier to reach things with one hand, Google has included a helpful gesture.

The “One Hand Mode” setting allows you to swipe down the bottom edge of the screen to do one of two things. You can choose to move all screen content closer to the bottom of the screen or display notifications.

RELATED: How to use one handed mode on Android

Get a temporary break from notifications

Focus mode logo

Sometimes notifications are nice to have, but they can also be a huge distraction. “Focus Mode” is a feature that allows you to block those particularly annoying notifications for a temporary period of time.

Focus mode is pretty simple. First, select the apps you don’t want to be bothered by. You can then create a schedule for focus mode to run or manually turn it on and off whenever you need a break from distractions.

RELATED: How to use focus mode on Android

Use shortcuts to jump inside apps

Home screen shortcuts.

The Pixel home screen is a place for tons of customization. It’s also where you probably keep your most used apps. Many of those apps probably have shortcuts that you don’t know about.

Just touch and hold an app icon on the home screen and you’ll see some shortcuts to specific sections within the app. For example, you can jump directly to a Spotify playlist. These shortcuts can also be added directly to the home screen.

RELATED: Home screen shortcuts are the best Android feature you’re not using

Google’s surprisingly cool voice recorder app

google recorder logo

A voice recorder app probably doesn’t seem all that exciting. However, Pixel phones do have access to an exclusive recording app which is pretty cool.

Google’s app simply called “Recorder” has three features that make it special. For starters, the recordings are automatically transcribed into text and are searchable. Recordings can be saved in the cloud and can be accessed in a browser. Finally, it’s easy to share images of your recordings.

RELATED: How to share audio recordings from Google Recorder

Mute calls by flipping your phone

Google Pixel 6
New York City Russ / Shutterstock.com

You may no longer be able to tap your phone to hang up a call, but you can at least flip it over to mute calls. Pixel phones call this “Flip to Shhh” and it’s a bit more functional than on other Android devices.

On non-Pixel phones, you can flip the phone over to silence incoming calls. However, on a Pixel phone you can not only mute the call, but you can also enable Do Not Disturb mode. It’s a pretty useful gesture to know.

RELATED: How to mute calls by flipping your Android phone

Lock with additional security

Android lock button.

Your Pixel phone has several security methods you can use: fingerprint, face unlock, PIN, pattern, and password. Some of those methods are safer than others. Face unlock in particular is easy to fool.

“Lockdown” is a mode that disables those less secure security methods. Fingerprint, face unlock and Smart Lock are disabled. This can be quickly activated whenever you need an extra layer of security.

RELATED: How to use “lock mode” on Android

Subtitles for any audio or video

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Pixel phones have a very useful feature called “Live Caption”. Show subtitles on the screen whenever audio is playing, whether the audio is from a video or music. It even works with phone calls.

Live Caption is great for the hearing impaired or people who prefer to keep the volume on their phone low. Since the subtitles are generated automatically, they may not always be accurate. However, it works surprisingly well.

RELATED: How to use live subtitles on a Google Pixel phone

Turn on “Do Not Disturb” while driving

Do Not Disturb A Pixel While Driving

Checking your phone while driving is incredibly dangerous. The best way to avoid doing this is to remove the temptation altogether. Pixel phones can automatically switch to Do Not Disturb when you’re driving.

For this to work, you will need to have “Do Not Disturb” set. After that, it’s a simple matter of enabling the option and your phone will detect when you’re driving. It works effortlessly and you will be much safer on the road.

RELATED: How to turn on “Do Not Disturb” while driving on Google Pixel

Call screen with Google Assistant

An image of the Call Screen dialog on Pixel 5
cameron summer

Some people just ignore any call from a number they don’t know, but if that’s not the case, Pixel’s Caller Screen feature is a must. Call Screen lets the Google Assistant do the work for you.

When you tap “Screen Call” instead of answering the call, Google Assistant will ask the caller to identify themselves. You can watch it unfold as it is transcribed to text and decide whether to reply or hang up.

RELATED: Forget the camera, the real Google Pixel superpower is phone calls

Adjust lighting after taking a photo

The Portrait Light feature is used on a portrait of a man in Google Photos.
Google

Lighting can make or break a photo, especially a selfie. Pixel phones have exclusive access to a feature in Google Photos called “Light Portrait.” It can fix those poorly lit selfies.

This feature is specifically for photos of people and will not appear as an option for images of pets or anything else. It allows you to literally drag the light source and place it wherever you want.

RELATED: How to adjust photo lighting with Google Photos on Pixel


Google bets on quality over quantity when it comes to features on Pixel phones. Hopefully, we’ve helped you discover some interesting things you didn’t know about. There are plenty of great Android phones out there, but the Pixel offers something special.