Nov 7th, 2017 publishUpdated   Apr 22nd, 2021, 3:01 pm

Change theme with wallpaper

The Pixel 2 doesn’t support themes in the traditional sense, but you can change the “theme” with different wallpapers. A dark wallpaper will make the notification shade, app drawer, and other elements black, whereas a light wallpaper will make them white. There’s not an exact science to this. You’ll just have to test some different wallpapers to get the color you want.

  1. Long-press on the home screen
  2. Select Wallpaper
  3. Choose a wallpaper and apply it

Get a new wallpaper every day

The Pixel 2 comes with a lot of pre-loaded wallpapers that are organized into “collections.” These collections contain beautiful, newly-designed wallpapers. You might have a hard time choosing just one. A new feature allows you to choose a collection and rotate through the wallpapers daily.

  1. Long-press the home screen
  2. Tap Wallpapers
  3. Choose a collection
  4. Tap Daily wallpaper to turn on

Get info when the display is off

The Pixel 2 has an always-on display that Google calls “Ambient Display.” It shows the time, date, and notifications when the display is off. This is handy for getting a quick look at what’s happening on your phone without unlocking the screen. It can be on all the time or only when notifications arrive.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Select Advanced > Ambient display
  3. Toggle it Always on, enabled Double-tap to check phone, and New notifications

For more, discuss Ambient Display at the Pixel 2 forum

Adjust the display size

Do you find the items on the display to be too big or too small? Do you wish you could fit more info on the display? You can adjust the (virtual) display size to make items appear larger or smaller. This works by adjusting the display DPI.

  1. Go to Settings > Display > Advanced
  2. Select Display size
  3. Move the dot between small and large to get the right size

Speed up animations with secret settings

The Pixel 2 has some secret settings you should know about. These settings are primarily for developers, but there’s one thing that is useful for everyone. If you’ve ever felt like animations are too slow and apps don’t move as fast as you’d like, this simple trick could speed up the Pixel dramatically.

  1. Go to Settings > System > About phone
  2. Tap on Build number until a message says you are now a developer
  3. Go to Settings > System > Developer options
  4. Tweak the animation scale for Window, Transition, and Animator duration. (We recommend .5x)

Enable the secret System UI tuner

The Pixel 2 has another secret setting called “System UI Tuner.” When unlocked, the System UI Tuner gives you the ability to tweak the status bar, do not disturb options, and notifications controls.

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen twice to open the Quick Settings
  2. Long-press on the Settings gear icon until it spins and vibrates
  3. If successful, you will see a tiny wrench next to the gear
  4. Now there should be System UI Tuner listed in the Settings > System

Customize the Quick Settings Toggles

When you pull down the notification shade you’ll see a bunch of toggles for things like WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, and more. These are called Quick Settings “tiles,” and they can be reorganized to your liking.

  1. Swipe down from the top twice to see the full Quick Settings panel
  2. Tap the pencil icon on the bottom bar
  3. Drag and drop the tiles to wherever you want

Force all apps to use multi-window mode

The Pixel 2 has a multi-window split-screen mode. You can use it by opening the multitasking screen and long-press on the title bar of an app. Not all apps are compatible with this yet. You’ll see a message that says “App doesn’t support split screen.” We can fix that.

  1. Go to Settings > System > Developer options
  2. Scroll all the way down to Force activities to be resizable
  3. Toggle it on and reboot the phone

Use the Night Light to save your eyes

The blue light from displays can interrupt our natural circadian rhythms and make it hard to fall asleep. The Pixel 2 has an AMOLED display, so the blue light isn’t as harsh as LCD, but it’s still noticeable. Night Light can make it easier on your eyes at night.

  1. Go to Settings > Display
  2. Select Night Light
  3. Tap Schedule to create a custom time or use the sunset and sunrise
  4. Toggle the switch on to adjust the intensity

Enable Do Not Disturb to keep the phone quiet

Everyone has certain times when they don’t want to be disturbed by phone notifications. Do Not Disturb mode allows you to create a weekly schedule for these situations. The common example is to mute the phone every night.

  1. Go to Settings > Sound
  2. Tap Do not disturb preferences
  3. Tap Add Rule
  4. Choose an event or time rule
  5. Name the rule
  6. Select the days, start time, and end time
  7. Adjust the Do not disturb preferences to choose the notifications that can get through
  8. Choose whether alarms can override schedule

Save data with Data Saver Mode

Data Saver mode allows people with limited data plans to get the most out of their device. When enabled, the system will block background apps from using data and signal foreground apps to use less data. You can even choose specific apps to always be able to use data in the background.

  • Go to Settings > Network & internet > Data usage
  • Tap Data saver
  • Toggle the switch on
  • Tap Unrestricted data and choose apps from the list

Snap photos and record videos at the highest quality

It’s no mystery that the Pixel 2 has the best camera on a smartphone right now. For the most part, you don’t have to do anything to take great photos and videos. One thing you should double check is that you’re using the full megapixels and the highest quality settings.

  1. Open the Camera
  2. Swipe from the left to open the menu
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Under Photo, make sure back camera is set to 12.2 megapixels
  5. Under Video, make sure back camera is set to UHD 4K

Take beautiful photos with Portrait Mode

One of the new features on the Pixel 2 camera is called Portrait Mode. Basically, it applies a heavy blur to the background and makes the foreground object pop. This create a very cool effect that makes the photo look like it was taken with a high-end camera. You can use it with the front and rear camera.

  1. Open the Camera app
  2. Tap the menu icon in the top left
  3. Select Portrait
  4. Tap on the subject to focus
  5. Tap the shutter button
  6. The photo will process quickly and be ready to view

For more, discuss Portrait Mode at the Pixel 2 forum

Get the perfect shot with camera gestures

Timing is very important when it comes to getting the perfect shot. The Pixel 2 camera has two gestures that will make it easier to open the camera quickly and take a photo. The weird thing is that these gestures aren’t mentioned in the camera app. You have to go to Settings > System > Gestures.

  • Jump to camera – Press the power button twice to jump straight to the camera app.
  • Flip camera – With the camera open, double twist the phone to switch between front and back cameras.

You can also use the volume down button to snap photos while in the camera app.

Pin apps to keep nosy people out of your phone

Your phone is full of personal information and sensitive content. Screen pinning allows you to lock the Pixel 2 to use just one app. When you hand it to someone else they won’t be able to navigate out of the app you pinned.

  1. Go to Settings > Security & location
  2. Scroll down to Screen pinning
  3. Toggle it on
  4. Toggle on Ask for unlock pattern before unpinning

To use:

  1. Open the Recent apps
  2. Pull up the most recent app and tap the pushpin icon in the bottom right corner of the preview
  3. To unpin the app, touch and hold the Back button

How to Factory Reset the Pixel 2

A factory reset is like putting your Pixel 2 in a time machine and going back to the day you unboxed it. Everything will be removed and it will revert to factory settings. You should do this if you’re selling your phone or it has been running poorly.

  1. Go to Settings > System
  2. Select Reset
  3. Select Factory data reset
  5. Enter password
  6. Tap Erase everything

For more, discuss factory reset at the Pixel 2 forum

Protect the phone with a case

The only thing worse than losing a phone is breaking it. The Pixel 2 is a gorgeous piece of technology with glass on the front and back. The last thing you want to do is crack the glass or get a nasty scratch. One of the first things you should do is buy a case for it. Here are a few to choose from:

For more, discuss accessories at the Pixel 2 forum

Get the best Apps & Games

The best phone in the world is pretty boring if you don’t have great apps and games to use. We’ve compiled tons of helpful guides for finding the best apps and games in the Play Store. Before you dive in and rummage around, you’ll want to check out these lists first.

Download the Forums for Android app!

This list is a great starting point for Pixel 2 users, but there’s a lot more you should know. You can download the Forums forAndroid app and you’ll automatically be added to the Pixel 2 forum. There you will find more helpful tips and other users like you. It’s easy to ask for help and get answers. Here are a few threads to get you started:

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