7 Hidden Pixel Shortcuts You Probably Aren’t Using

We’re likely just days away from the launch of Google’s latest Pixel phone: the potentially pivotal midranger Pixel 6a. So it seems safe to say that the topic of Googley phones will be coming up a lot in the coming weeks, with fancy new hardware being the main topic of the moment.

However, the good thing about Pixel phones is that they don’t have have the latest and greatest model to find fantastically useful new tricks. Google is constantly updating its pixels with features both big and small, and it’s all too easy for some of the more subtle touches to get lost in the shuffle.

So today, as we gear up for another round of Pixel gear, I thought it would be a good time to step back and dig in to discover a handful of splendid Pixel shortcuts that many have overlooked or forgotten about. Android worshiping animal.

And while some of these shortcuts may seem subtle, don’t be fooled: all those seconds saved will absolutely add up when you spray them on throughout the day.

Work your way through these seven hidden pixel time savers, and then if you’re still hungry for more (you insatiable beast!), come along. sign up for my free Pixel Academy eCourse to discover even more hidden pixel magic.

All right, ready?

Pixel Shortcut #1: The Quick Search Launcher

This first Pixel hack is tied to Android 12, which means it won’t be present in the oldest couple of pixel models from a long time ago. But as long as you have a reasonably recent Pixel device, you can fly right into your phone’s fancy universal search system with half the steps it normally takes, if you know where to find the switch.

The system we’re talking about here, in case you’re not familiar, is the search bar within the app drawer of your Pixel’s standard home screen settings. In addition to searching through your installed apps, that bar can now pull results from your contacts, conversations, available actions. within applications and system settings in one simplified place. It can even take you on a normal Internet search for whatever term you’re typing.

Accessing that feature usually requires you to swipe up once on the home screen and then tap the bar at the top of the app drawer that appears. But with a little tweaking, you can eliminate that second step and keep that handy swipe search system.

Here is the secret:

  • Open your app drawer (by swiping up anywhere on your home screen).
  • Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner.
  • Tap “Always Show Keyboard” in the lovely little menu that appears.

And that’s it: From now on, a single swipe up on the home screen will automatically focus you on that search box, with your keyboard open and ready for action.

Pixel Shortcuts - App Drawer Search jr

Not a bad way to start, huh?

Pixel Shortcut #2: The Home Screen Slide

While we’re on the subject of your home screen, here’s another nifty Pixel time saver few mortals know about: As long as you’re using the standard Pixel home screen setup (and not a third-party Android launcher) , anytime In a secondary panel on the Home screen, such as a panel to the right of the default Home screen, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to return to the leftmost panel.


Pixel Shortcuts - Home Screen Swipe jr

No configurations or anything unusual needed; all you have to do is know the trick. And now, you do.

Pixel Shortcut #3: Lock screen jumps quickly

Your Pixel phone’s lock screen is more than just a gateway to your phone. It’s also a command center of its own that contains shortcuts, and if you enable all of its available options, it can save you tons of time and help you get right to where you need to be.

Specifically, the Pixel lock screen can host one-touch shortcuts to open your connected device’s control panel and your Google Pay mobile payment command center. If your phone is locked, you will still need to unlock it before you can continue. Hey, safety is important! – but it will eliminate the extra steps of finding the item you need and opening it on your own.

And especially when it comes to connected device controls and mobile payment management, those seconds saved can go a long way.

Pixel Shortcuts - Lock Screen Icons jr

To get those two new shortcuts on your own pixel lock screen:

  • Open your Pixel phone’s settings (by swiping down twice from the top of the screen and tapping the gear-shaped icon in the panel that appears).
  • Go to the Screen section and tap on “Lock screen”.
  • Look for the lines labeled “Show Wallet” and “Show Device Controls.” Make sure the switch next to each one is on and in the active position.

This is another one that requires Android 12, by the way, which means it should work on Pixel 3 from 2018 and above.

Pixel Shortcut #4: The Lock Screen Song Companion

Most ordinary bodies never caught on, but at some point in the not-too-distant past, our old Pixels had the option of adding Google’s excellent song identification system directly to the lock screen. That way, the next time you hear that song by that band (you know, That…), you’ll be able to avoid wasting an ounce of energy while desperately seeking to identify it.

All it takes is a quick flip of a switch to add it to your own Googley phone. As long as your Pixel is running Android 12:

  • Go back to your system settings and open the Display section again.
  • Once again, tap on “Lock screen”.
  • Tap the line labeled “Now Playing.”
  • Make sure the main switch at the top of the screen is on, and then what’s more Turn on the switch next to “Show search button on lock screen”.

Your Pixel will automatically continue to show you the full name and artist of any song that’s playing when it detects it. But now, on top of that, you’ll have a button that will appear on your lock screen when any song is playing, and your Pixel does not have however, he found out what it is.

Pixel shortcuts: lock screen song button jr

Tap that little button, there in the bottom center area of ​​the lock screen, and…

Pixel Shortcuts - Lock Screen Song ID jr

Ta-da! What if them apples?

There’s a little extra shortcut here, too: whenever you see an identified song on your lock screen, whether your Pixel automatically picked it up or used its fancy new icon to force it, you can tap the song name to skip. to the cleverly hidden Now Playing history area of ​​your Pixel. There, you can bookmark the song for future reference, search for it on YouTube or YouTube Music, add it directly to a playlist, share it somewhere, or learn more about it on the spot.

Now, what was that damn song called, again?

Pixel Shortcut #5: The One-Touch Switch Mode

If you use the same Pixel phone for both work and personal purposes, switching between your focus at work and your interests after work can be a challenge. But fear not, because your Pixel includes a super helpful system to make that switch easier than you ever imagined possible.

It’s a fancy multi-step shortcut called Focus Mode. And once you set it up once, you’ll be able to hide and mute your non-work related distractions or, if you prefer, mute your works-Related Interrupts: With a quick tap anytime you need some peace and quiet (in any direction).

For a start:

  • Return to your system settings, optionally while whistling a merry tune.
  • Open the Digital Wellbeing section and tap on “Focus Mode”.
  • Decide which apps you want to be able to quickly mute, and one by one, select them.
Pixel Shortcuts: Focus Mode jr

I understand? Good. Now, you can use the “Set a schedule” option on that same screen to automate when the apps you’ve selected will hide from being able to notify you, or, if you want to manually flip that switch as you see fit, you can bring it front and center for easy access in the Quick Settings section of your phone:

  • Swipe down twice from the top of the screen to open your Quick Settings.
  • Tap the pencil icon in the bottom left corner to edit it.
  • Scroll down until you see the “Focus Mode” tile.
  • Hold your finger on it and drag it up to a prominent position (and remember, the first four tiles are the ones you just swipe down from the top of the screen, so for the easiest access possible, place it in one of those positions).

Ahh, if only he break of life could be so simple.

Pixel Shortcut #6: The Camera Flip-Flop

We’ll wrap up with a couple of camera-related shortcuts for your Pixel, because even if you’re a Very Serious Professional™, you’ll most likely use your phone to take the occasional photo (of something very serious and professional, of course).

So make a mental note of this: whenever you’re on your Pixel phone’s camera, you can switch between the front and rear lens by twisting your wrist twice. Turn, turn, turn. Easy, right?

If for some reason that not works for you, head to the System section of your Pixel phone’s settings, tap “Gestures,” then tap “Quick Open Camera” and make sure the toggle there is turned on. That option is usually turned on by default, but can sometimes be inadvertently turned off.

And finally…

Pixel Shortcut #7: The Secret Camera Swipes

One of my favorite hidden Pixel shortcuts is the series of time-saving swipe gestures built into that Google-scented camera app.

Specifically, you can swipe down anywhere in the main viewfinder area to open your camera settings panel, and you can swipe left or right anywhere in that same area to easily switch between modes without having to stretch to the bottom of the screen.

Who knew, right?

And remember: there is much more where this came from. Join my completely free Pixel Academy eCourse for seven full days of delicious Pixel insights, starting with even more powerful camera-centric smarts and moving on from there to advanced imaging magic, next-level annoyance reducers, and heaps of other opportunities for helpful Pixel smarts.

The power is already in your hands. All you have to do is learn to accept it.

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