6 Google Pixel 6 tips and tricks: Make your phone even better (2024)

Hey! You! Yes, you — that unusually smart and shiny-headed human reading this story.

If you opened this page, odds are, you own a Google Pixel 6 or a Pixel 6 Pro , or you're at the very least thinking about getting one. I mean, how can you resist that powerful Google Tensor chip, and its incredible artificial intelligence capabilities. If you're recently picked up a shiny new Pixel 6 Pro or are on that fence, that tells me you're an exceptionally intelligent (and probably also quite comely) creature who knows what matters the most in a modern-day Android phone.

Here's a little secret, though: although its one of best Google Pixel phones ever released, the Pixel 6 Pro's most shape-shifting superpowers require a teensy bit of coaxing to uncover. Whether it's tweaking a few hidden and not-at-all-obvious settings or adding an off-the-beaten-path app into the mix to bring out a feature's full potential, a smattering of small steps can make an outsized difference in optimizing your dazzling new Google device and making it as powerful as can be. If you're just getting started, follow these quick tips, then turn up the heat even more by signing up for my Pixel Academy e-course. It's a seven-day email adventure that teaches you tons of time-saving secrets, and it's completely free for my favorite Android Police pals.

Pixel 6 tip #1: The tap-tap challenge

The Pixel 6 introduced a nifty new possibility wherein you can simply tap the back of your phone and have it perform a number of different actions for you — taking a screenshot, playing or pausing media, even making you a dynamite pizza.

All right, so that last possibility might still be pending, but the Pixel 6's back-tappin' gesture can do a bunch of other potentially useful things. The problem is that (a) it's damn-near impossible to figure out how to get that tapping gesture to work consistently — and (b) one super-obvious action is missing from the list of options.

The first part of that pickle is delightfully easy to solve. The trick is to tap forcefully toward the top of your Pixel — directly beneath the camera bar on its back. If you go any lower, it isn't gonna work reliably. But learn to hit that sweet spot (ooh, baby), and you'll nail it every time.

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Who knew, right?! And as for that second quibble...

Pixel 6 tip #2: The Quick Tap quiet down

Quick: What'd be the most obvious thing you'd want to accomplish by tapping on the back of your new phone?

If you said "summon some pizza," I love you. But if you said "silence your phone," you've picked the serious correct answer — and you've noticed the glaring omission in the Pixel's fast-tap system.

For all of the things that the phone's Quick Tap system can do, for some strange reason can't silence your phone. That's especially annoying on the Pixel 6, since the device also lacks the option to press your power and volume-up buttons together to mute your phone in the way you could on older Google Pixel phones.

Fortunately, there's an easy fix, and once you know how to use it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. The magic, as I shared in my Android Intelligence column, comes from a simple little third-party app called Mute. Install it, open it once, and grant it the permission to modify your system settings. Then:

  • Open your Pixel's system Settings app on the home screen.
  • Once you're in the settings menu, tap System ->Gestures -> Quick Tap.
  • Turn the toggle at the top of the screen into the on position, if it isn't already.
  • Select the Open app option.
  • Tap the gear-shaped settings icon and select Mute from the list that pops up.
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6 Google Pixel 6 tips and tricks: Make your phone even better (3)

All that's left is to double-tap your phone's back, using the trick we just went over a second ago, and bask in your newfound two-tap silence.

Pixel 6 tip #3: The button mess untangling

Look, I appreciate Google Assistant as much as the next guy. Sometimes I talk to my Assistant just for the purpose of hearing that lovely lilting voice.

And I very much get that Google wants us to interact with Assistant as much as possible. It makes sense. It's fine.

But, I mean, c'mon. There's a limit to how much is too much. Turning the long-press of the Pixel 6's power button into a dedicated Assistant button is a step too far. If you actually want to turn off your phone, you can't just tap the power button. No, you have to press the volume-up and power buttons together to find your phone's power menu. That's going a step too far.

The good news is that the Pixel 6's birdbrained behavior in this area is easy to undo. But you'll want to be sure to take two full steps to do that — first, to turn your phone's power button back into a power button. And second, to restore the extremely buried on-screen shortcut for accessing Assistant that was present in Pixels past. Ready? Let's start by fixing the power button:

  • Press the Settings app icon and select System.
  • Tap Gestures -> Press and hold power button.
  • Turn off the toggle when the screen comes up.

Now it's time to dig up and restore the original on-screen Assistant shortcut:

  • Tap the Settings app icon and go to the System section.
  • Tap Gestures -> System navigation.
  • Find and tap the gear-shaped icon next to the line Gesture navigation.
  • Select Swipe to invoke Assistant.
  • Hit that toggle, and hit it good.

Now, the next time you need Assistant, you just need to swipe your finger upward at a diagonal from either of your screen's lower corners.

Pixel 6 tip #4: The no-fuss hush phrases

Speaking of speaking to Assistant, the Pixel 6 has a cool new feature that lets skip saying "Hey Google" for certain tasks. But—yep, you guessed it—it's pretty hard to find. Here's the easiest way enable the feature:

  • Activate Assistant on your phone and say "Assistant settings."
  • Find and tap the line that says "Quick phrases."
  • Enable the toggles next to the options that show up.
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The options to bypass "Ok Google" are pretty limited, but don't let that fool you: those two toggles will save you tons of time and frustration. Once you've turned them on, anytime you've got an alarm or timer ringing, you can simply say "Stop" or "Snooze." You can even say "Answer" or "Decline" if someone tries to call you.

Pixel 6 tip #5: The super-ring superpower

Of all the Pixel tips in this post, this one is sure to please the folks that hate hole-punch displays. If you're among them, you can turn that in-screen abyss into a valuable source for quick info.

The secret lies within third-party app called aodNotify. The app is free, but you'll have to pay $5 for some of its advanced options.

Download it from the Play Store, fire it up, and make your way through the setup process. Once you get to the main screen, enable the toggles next to "Notifications" and "Notification light."

You can explore some of the other options beyond that, but those two basic switches will activate the app and allow it to start lighting up a gently pulsating ring around your display's hole-punch whenever you receive a new notification. You can have the ring animate in a variety of alluring styles and have it light up specific colors based on which app is involved. You can even have the thing light up in a distinctive way to show your battery capacity.

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It's a clever alternative to the alway-on display that minimizes clutter on the lock screen.

aodNotify requires access to view and manage your phone's notifications as well as to act as an accessibility service. Those permissions may sound scary, but they're necessary for what the tool does.

Pixel 6 tip #6: The take-charge toggle

This final Pixel tip is a fantastic one to tune up and then tuck into your brightly colored novelty cap for whenever the need arises — 'cause once you set it up, it'll always be there and ready to serve you. But until you dig it up and activate it, it'll effectively be nonexistent on your device.

So here it is: you can put your new phone's incredible battery life to use with reverse wireless charging. That means you can top off your earbuds or even add a little juice to another phone that supports wireless charging. Just unlock your screen and set your new phone face-down on a surface, then plop the other device on top of it.

To get your phone ready to do the deed, just head into the Battery section of your system settings and tap the line labeled Battery Share.

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lip the toggle into the on position, give some thought to the slider that puts a limit on how low your phone can get before the charging gets cut off, andhttps://www.androidpolice.com/google-pixel-6-bug-tracker/ then just remember that your Pixel's got the power to power anything else—no wires or worries required.

And that, my friend, is one powerful perk.

Remember: There's lots more where this came from. Come join my completely free Pixel Academy e-course for seven full days of experience-enhancing knowledge — from camera sorcery including Night Sight and Magic Eraser to out-of-the-way options for eliminating common annoyances.

You already own one of the most powerful phones on the market, thanks to the Pixel 6 Pro's powerful Google Tensor chip and built-in Artificial Intelligence and ML capabilities. Now it's time to unleash all of your Pixel's hidden powers and let your phone start working for you.

Now that you're a Pixel pro, you should be able to handle any challenge that comes your way. But if your phone isn't working right and you're just stumped, here's how to fix some common Pixel 6 problems.

6 Google Pixel 6 tips and tricks: Make your phone even better (2024)
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