Got a new Pixel 4 or Pixel 4XL? Did you know that you can control your music, silence alarms and pet a Pokémon, all without ever touching the screen or side buttons?
credit: blog.google; Pixel 4 / 4XL sensors
Thanks to the new Soli Radar sensor and other sensors built into the Pixel 4 series, you can accomplish so much without ever touching the screen or using buttons. Let's dive in and explore!
Start by navigating to your phone Settings. Scroll to System. You will see several options, but I want you to focus on Gestures and Motion Sense.
Some of the settings within Gestures and Motion Sense are redundant. I'm not sure why Google chose to duplicate the same settings in two different areas, but I will assume it's to accommodate different OEMs and their various gesturing options. For now, let's take a look at the Gestures settings first.
You are here ==> Settings >> System >> Gestures
Inside of Gestures you will see an area at the top named QUICK GESTURES (which are dup'ed in the Motion Sense section) that contain settings for Skip songs and Silence interruptions. These settings are specific to the Soli Radar sensor; i.e. no screen touch, no button press needed. I've found that the gestures are usually picked up pretty quick by the sensor, but once in a while you have to "wake up" the Soli sensor with a "starter wave." You can tell when the Soli Radar is picking up motion by the slim band of light at the top of your display that tracks your hand motion. I tried to capture the band in the following screenshot from my playlist. Look close, it's hard to see.
credit: Meghan Trainor in my Tidal playlist.
Skip songs: This does exactly what it sounds like - you skip songs in your playlist, both forward and backward, with a wave of your hand. You can choose which direction of hand-wave moves forward vs backward. I find this feature handy while I'm working at home or the office. I keep my Pixel 4 XL in a Qi charging stand that keeps it upright. When I need some good beats to help me power through the afternoon, a quick wave of my hand is a snappy and easy way to skip past a slow jam.
Silence interruptions: Snooze alarms and silence calls with a wave of your hand. Wave your hand quickly in front of your Pixel 4/4 XL and you can quickly and silently dismiss an alarm or call ring.
Beneath QUICK GESTURES is a group of settings called HANDHELD GESTURES, which gives you control over some other gesture and sensor capabilities of the Pixel 4 / 4XL, using screen taps, physical movement, and squeezes. There are several fun and useful controls in this area. Below are a few of my favorites.
Double-tap the wake button to quickly launch the camera.Use gestures to navigate between apps, home screen and closing apps. Or you can choos the familiar "three button" option for control.Squeeze the lower half of your Pixel to quickly launch the Google Assistant.
Let's back out and dive into the Motion Sense settings.
You are here ==> Settings >> System >> Motion Sense
As stated previously, there is a duplicate area at the top named QUICK GESTURES that contain settings for Skip songs and Silence interruptions. These are the same settings as described above.
Below that is an area called AMBIENT DISPLAY which has settings for obtaining quick info by "reaching" for your phone (not actually picking it up or tapping the screen), or just looking at the screen (from a reasonably close distance). These features rely exclusively on the Soli Radar sensor, thus you don't have to actually touch your phone to get a quick check of the time or alerts.
If you need some practice getting used to Motion Sense, Google has you covered. Google collaborated with Pokémon to create an app called Pokémon Wave Hello. The app is free to download and use, and will help you get the "hang" of Motion Sense controls.
I hope you found this overview of the Motion Sense and Gesture controls helpful toward maximizing the use and features of your Pixel 4/4XL.
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