May 1st, 2022 publishUpdated   May 2nd, 2022, 8:26 am

Now that it’s been a few days since the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have arrived on everyone’s doorsteps, we’ve had some time to tinker around and play with both devices. We’ve already covered the first things you should do, and today, we’re taking a look at the best Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro tips and tricks.

Customize your Pixel 6

If you’ve already been playing around with Android 12, then Material You won’t come as a shock. But this is the most drastic and impressive design overhaul that we’ve seen on Android since Material Design was announced a few years ago.

Material You and its color palette picker, will take the the primary colors out of your wallpaper and theme the rest of your device accordingly. This includes things like the Quick Settings toggles, various UI elements, and even some of your Home Screen icons.

But you also have a few different options to choose from, if you don’t like what Material You has automatically selected. Just long-press on the Home Screen, tap Wallpaper & Style, and get to customizing.

Icon Theming

  1. Long press on an empty space on the Home Screen.
  2. Select Wallpaper & Style.
  3. Tap the toggle next to Themed Icons.

Change the App Grid

  1. Long press on an empty space on the Home Screen.
  2. Select Wallpaper & Style.
  3. Tap App grid.
  4. Select one of the following:
    • 5×5
    • 4×4
    • 4×5
    • 3×3
    • 2×2

At A Glance

  1. From your Home Screen, press and hold on the At A Glance widget in the top left corner.
  2. Tap Customize from the drop-down menu.
  3. Next to At A Glance, tap the Gear icon.
  4. Enable (or disable) the following options to appear in the widget:
    • Commute & Time to Leave
    • Weather
    • Alerts
    • Travel
    • Upcoming
    • Work Profile

Enable Dark Theme

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Display.
  3. Under Appearance, tap Dark theme.
  4. Toggle Use Dark theme to the On position.

You can also create a schedule for when Dark Theme will be enabled by simply tapping the Schedule button. From here, you can opt to either have it set from sunrise to sunset, or set specific times when Dark Theme will turn on and off.

Notification History

Missed notifications happen. Or, if you don’t pick your phone up for a while, the list of notifications can seem a bit daunting, so you just clear them all. The problem with this is that you might actually miss an important notification, but don’t know which app it came from. If that’s the case, Android 12 now lets you go back and view your Notification History.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select Notifications from the list.
  3. Tap Notification history under Manage.
  4. To enable Notification history, tap the toggle next to the prompt.

Once enabled, any notifications that your Android 12 device receives, will appear in this section of the Settings app. However, there’s also an easier way to view any notifications that you might have missed.

  1. Swipe down to reveal the Notification Shade.
  2. Under the notifications, tap the History button.
  3. When tapping the History button, it will take right to the Notification History section within the Settings app.

Power Off Your Pixel 6

Google is always playing around with new and different ways for its users to access Google Assistant. We’ve seen things like squeeze gestures in the past, but those are gone. Instead, you can now opt to activate Google Assistant just by long-pressing on the Power button.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap System.
  3. Tap Gestures.
  4. Tap Press and hold power button.
  5. Toggle Hold for Assistant to the Off position.

Turn off 5G

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Network & internet.
  3. Tap SIMs.
  4. Scroll down and select Preferred network type.
  5. Tap LTE.

Search for everything

One of the best Android 12 tips is the ability to search for practically anything on your device. Instead of just being able to search for specific apps or make a Google query, Android 12 introduces the ability to search things like Shortcuts, People, Settings, and even Pixel Tips. When searching for something as simple as “Home”, you are provided with a multitude of different options to choose from. This includes any apps are installed with “home” in the name, along with accessing anything else on your device that has to do with “home”.

This is enabled by default, however, you can jump into the Settings app and toggle what appears in the on-device search results.

  1. Swipe up on the Home Screen to reveal your App Drawer.
  2. Next to the search bar at the top, tap the three vertical dots.
  3. Tap Preferences in the drop-down menu.
  4. From here, you can simply toggle what is shown when you perform an on-device search.

Add multiple fingerprints

Google has ditched the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, instead opting for an in-display scanner. The technology itself has come a long way from when it was first introduced, as the sensors are much more reliable than previous generations. But no matter whether you have a rear, side, or in-display fingerprint scanner, we always recommend adding multiple fingerprints. We also recommend adding multiple scannings of the same fingerprint in order to make the scanner that much more reliable.

Speed up your Pixel 6

Thanks to the Google Tensor chip, we are expecting the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro to be the absolute fastest Pixel devices ever released. But no matter what phone you end up getting, the animations can make the phone feel a bit slower than it should. Thankfully, you can reduce the animation speeds, and if you want the fastest-feeling phone out there, you should definitely adjust the animations.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap About phone
  3. Tap Build Number 7 times
  4. If prompted, enter your password, PIN or unlock pattern
  5. After you see the “You are now a developer” message, go back to Settings > System > Developer options
  6. Change Window animation, Transition animation, and Animator duration scale to “Animation scale .5x” or “Animation off“

Enable Game Dashboard

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Apps.
  3. Tap Game Settings.
  4. Toggle the following to the On position:
    • Game Dashboard
    • Do Not Disturb for games

Battery percentage in Status Bar

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Battery.
  3. Tap the toggle next to Battery percentage.

Enable Now Playing

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Display.
  3. Tap Lock screen.
  4. Tap Now Playing.
  5. Toggle Identify songs playing nearby to the On position.

View your Now Playing history

With Now Playing enabled, you also have the ability to go back through and look at the history of what your phone picked up. This is a great tool if you are trying to remember a certain song, or just want to add songs to a playlist in your favorite music streaming service.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Display.
  3. Tap Lock screen.
  4. Tap Now Playing.
  5. Scroll down and tap Now Playing history.

Check your Pixel 6’s security

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Security.

From here, you’ll have a plethora of different options, comprised of the following:

  • App security
  • Find My Device
  • Security update
  • Screen lock
  • Fingerprint Unlock
  • Google Security Checkup
  • Google Play system update
  • Advanced settings
    • Smart Lock
    • Device admin apps
    • SIM card lock
    • Encryption & credentials
    • Suspicious message alerts
    • Trust agents
    • App pinning
    • Confirm SIM deletion
    • Open source licenses

Enable or disable Camera & Microphone access

Android 12 has introduced a few new privacy controls that we weren’t exactly expecting. An example of this is the ability to turn off both your microphone and camera with just a swipe and a tap. While smart displays like the Amazon Echo Show feature a hardware switch for both, the same can’t be said for smartphones.

With the release of Android 12, you can now add a couple of toggles to your Quick Settings panel. This is essentially Google’s answer to that hardware switch but will allow you to disable an app’s access to the camera and microphone.

  1. Swipe down on your Home Screen to reveal the Quick Settings menu.
  2. Swipe down again to reveal the edit button in the notification shade.
  3. Tap the Pencil icon to edit your Quick Settings toggles.
  4. Scroll down and find the following buttons:
    • Camera access
    • Mic access
  5. Drag and drop those into the top portion to add them to your Quick Settings panel.
  6. Tap the back arrow in the top left to save.

Once these have been added, you can just swipe down to access the Quick Settings panel and tap either button to revoke access. By default, camera and microphone access are enabled, but tapping them will turn off access, regardless of what app you are using.

Quick Tap

When the first Android 11 developer preview was released, a back tap gesture was revealed, allowing you to double-tap the back of your phone to perform various actions. This was, unfortunately, removed before the final version of Android 11 was released. But it’s now available in the final version of Android 12, and has been named “Quick Tap”.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap System.
  3. Tap Gestures.
  4. Select Quick Tap.
  5. Toggle Quick Tap to the On position.
  6. Select from one of the following:
    • Take screenshot
    • Access your digital assistant
    • Play or pause media
    • See recent apps
    • Show notifications
    • Open app (of your choosing)

Share battery

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Battery.
  3. Tap Battery Share.
  4. Toggle Allow Battery Share to the On position.

You can also adjust the slider beneath the animation to select when your phone reaches a certain percentage and will not be able to use Battery Share.

Take Scrolling screenshots

This has been one of the most requested features for stock Android users, and it’s finally here. Scrolling screenshots are available on Android 12, removing the need to take multiple screenshots and stitch them together before sharing.

  1. Take a screenshot on your Android 12 device by pressing the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time.
  2. In the bottom left corner, tap the Capture More button.
  3. Drag the handle at the bottom of the screenshot until you have captured everything you want.
  4. Tap the Save button in the top left corner.

Add Wallet to Lock Screen

With the release of Android 12, Google has made it even easier to quickly access and pay using Google Payments. Instead of needing to unlock your phone and put the app on the Home Screen, you can now add a Wallet shortcut to the Lock Screen.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Tap Lock screen.
  4. Toggle Wallet to the On position.

Turn off 120Hz

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Display.
  3. Scroll down and toggle Smooth Display to the Off position.

Enable RCS

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Tap the three vertical dots in the top right corner.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Tap Chat features.
  5. Tap the toggle next to Enable chat features.

Face Detection with Auto-rotate

Another new feature arriving courtesy of Android 12 is the ability to keep your phone oriented depending on the position of your face. Previously, the toggle would use the accelerometer within the device and rotate your phone’s screen accordingly. But that doesn’t exactly help if you’re laying in bed or on the couch while looking at your phone. Now, your Pixel can detect your face using the camera and auto-rotate based on that.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Display.
  3. Scroll down and tap Auto-rotate screen.
  4. Toggle Enable Face Detection to the On position.

Find the right charger

Get a case

While the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro offer a truly unique design, these are still made from glass and are some of the most slippery devices we’ve seen in a while. Of course, you won’t necessarily want to slap a case on your brand new phone, but it might be the better option so you don’t end up with a broken phone.

Learn more about the Pixel 6

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