Google's push for your safety gained some much-needed attention when it released the Pixel 4 smartphone. It has an app called "Personal Safety," which uses the array of built-in sensors on your phone to detect if you've been in a car crash. The futuristic safety feature was exclusive to the Pixel 4 initially but is now available to all Pixel owners as well.
When Google first launched the Pixel 4, it was and still is the only phone in existence that uses a radar system for motion gestures. Yes, that radar — the same kind of motion-sensing technology used in the military for years — is available on our phones. The Pixel 4 did come with a gesture to let you change songs without touching the phone itself, but you can now pause your music just the same.
The Google Pixel's camera is a status symbol of sorts. When someone sees you with one, you become the photographer of choice for social events. And where do those photos end up? Social media, of course. It's how we share our lives now, and the smartphone camera defines how we approach that.
In older Android versions, you could flood your status bar with a wall of notification icons. But starting with Android 9, Google made it to where you can only see four icons by default, and it was mostly done to accommodate phones with notches. But Google's only notched phone is the Pixel 3 XL, so what if you have literally any other Pixel?
When Google introduced the Call Screen feature with the Pixel 3, I had never been more excited to get a Pixel device. This AI feature provided real protection against rising spam and robocalls, which billions of people deal with each year. After a recent update to the feature, you can reduce robocalls and other spam calls to nearly zero.
The Pixel 4 isn't for everyone, but it does have its appeal in several specific use cases. Thanks to Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms, the fitness industry and smartphone world are now intertwined like never before, and it appears Google's aware of this.
When using face unlock on the Pixel 4, your lock screen notifications are bypassed by default to help you unlock your phone instantaneously. This is different than Face ID on the iPhone, which shows the lock screen until you swipe up, but only shows notifications when you've been authenticated. If you want to do it Apple's way, there are settings you can adjust on your Pixel.
TWRP won't be ready for the Pixel 4 and 4 XL until months after release. But since you can already root with Magisk and tinker with the OS, you might find yourself in a situation where your phone won't boot, yet you don't have a custom recovery installed to fix it. Luckily, there's still a way around this.
For the Pixel 4's face unlock feature to work in the dark, Google had to add a front-facing IR camera. If you download a specific app, you can actually see a live feed from this camera. It's true night vision for your phone, and it's completely free.
It wasn't too long ago that the power menu for stock Android didn't offer much beyond turning the device off, but Google has steadily added more functions, like capturing screenshots and provisioning access to emergency information.
Even with Pixels now coming with 128 GB of internal storage, many folks still struggle with low storage. The culprit is usually photos and videos, which can quickly eat away the space. Thankfully, there's a feature that solves this problem.
If you've ever tried to update your Android phone manually, you know the process can be unnecessarily hard. There are so many steps and parts, that if one thing goes wrong, the whole process doesn't work. Recognizing this, the Android team came up with an even easier way.
One of the most notable visual changes that Google brought to its Pixel smartphones on Android 10 was a system-wide dark mode. At the touch of a button, you can go from a blinding white theme to a more calming darker color, which is excellent for your eyes in low-light environments. However, it had not included a way to switch between themes automatically based on the time of day — until now.
Whether you love Motion Sense or think it's a gimmick, one thing we can agree on is that its functionality is limited. It's currently limited to switching tracks on a playlist, snoozing alarms, silencing calls, lowering the volume of alerts, and checking notifications. But a new mod will help you do so much more with it.
The Pixel 4 comes with a new "Styles and wallpapers" app that lets you change icons, accent colors, and more. But if you're on a first-gen Pixel, a Pixel 2, or a Pixel 3, you don't get this feature. On the bright side, there's still a way to use it.
The Pixel 4 is one of the most talked-about phones of 2019, so you know there will be lots of third-party developer support. Mods are already popping up, so you'll want to get Magisk installed as soon as possible to get root access. The current method used to gain root is a bit lengthy, but it'll be worth it.
Document scanning is possible via the Google Drive app, but my brain doesn't think of opening a cloud storage app to scan a document. I usually just open the camera app and take a picture instead — and apparently, I'm not the only one.
The Pixel 4 is one of the most talked-about phones of 2019, and it has many things going for it, especially in the world of rooting and modding. Just as with previous Pixel generations, unlocking the bootloader is the gateway to realizing your device's true potential. It can make way for such things as TWRP, Magisk, custom ROMs, and many other device-specific mods just the same.
If you want to root, it's step one. If you're a tinkerer, it's vital. It's Android's hidden "Developer options" menu, and it's definitely worth taking 30 seconds to unlock.
You watched the live stream, pored over the specs, and are now super excited for the Google Pixel 4. But specs don't tell you everything. After using the Pixel 4 XL for over a week now, we've found several things you wouldn't know without getting your hands on the phone.