Hopefully, you’re enjoying your brand new Pixel 3, had one for a while or are thinking that you might get one soon, for that reason we’ve compiled a few of our best tips and tricks for any potential Pixel 3 user out there.

There’s a whole wealth of control at your fingertip right out the box thanks to both Android Pie and the unique features found on both Pixel 3 handsets. There are lots of shortcuts, app tweaks and software goodies all hidden within Android Pie on Pixel handsets. Some of these are completely new, some are now even possible on older Pixel devices.

Will they make you more productive? Maybe. Will they save you time? Most definitely. Will they improve your experience of one of the best handsets on the market? 100%.

Before we delve into it, to access some of these extra settings it’s important to enable Developer mode. If you haven’t already done this, it’s a pretty simple process. Head to Settings and scroll all the way to the bottom. From there tap System, then About Phone. Scroll to the bottom of this page and rapidly tap on the Build Number until a toast message appears telling you that you’re now a developer. Now, you’ll be able to activate and enjoy many of these tweaks, tips and tricks.

Swipe the fingerprint scanner to access the Notification Shade / Quick Toggles panel

This is most definitely not a new feature, but it isn’t enabled as standard on the Pixel 3. You have to head into your device settings app and enable the feature manually to then get speedy access to your notification shade from any screen without having to reach to the top of your display.

If you swipe down twice once enabled you will get direct access to all of your Quick Toggles, simulating the two finger swipe down to head straight to these quick toggles.

How to enable fingerprint swipe notification access

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to “System” or search for “Gestures.”
  3. Select “Swipe fingerprint for notifications” > Toggle “On

Hide the notch

We get that the deep notch on the Pixel 3 XL is most definitely polarizing and to some a major eyesore. It is a little bit disappointing having such a large notch when there really isn’t any tech packed in that really warrants the display cutout.

Luckily there are two distinct ways to essentially ‘disable’ the notch. Not that either can get rid of it completely. You will lose the use of the portion of display either side of the nodule no matter what method you adapt though. So be aware.

How to hide the notch using the in-built Developer Mode

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to System.
  3. Now tap About Phone.
  4. Scroll down and tap Build number several times until you get a message saying that “you are now a developer.”
  5. Go back to the main Settings page. Now type “notch” into the top search bar. This should show the result Display cutout.
    • Alternatively, you can go to Settings > System > Developer optionsand scroll down until you see Display cutout.
  6. Now choose Hide.

How to hide the notch using the Nacho Notch app

  1. Open the Google Play Store and search for Nacho Notch or click here to go directly to the app.
  2. Once installed swipe down the Quick Settings menu > Edit > Add the Nacho Notch toggle.
  3. Tap the Hide Notch toggle to hide the notch, simply tap again to disable.

Quick launch Camera shortcut

I personally miss this feature whenever I switch to a phone that doesn’t have it as standard. It’s just so simple and intuitive in my opinion, although that’s fine if you disagree.

Either way, you can super quick launch into the camera just by double tapping the sleep/wake button. This works when your phone is locked or unlocked, so if you are in a hurry to take a snap it’s no biggie. It’s also superb as you don’t need the camera app icon on your homepage for an even more minimal, organized home screen.

How to quick launch into the Google Camera

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to “System” or search for “Gestures.”
  3. Select “Jump to camera” > Toggle “On

Call screening

I can’t try this as the Call Screening feature is not yet available outside the United States. That means that I can’t give the canned responses that come part and parcel with the new automated telephone screening service.

For those of you that are in the United States, you just need to make sure you have the most recent update to the Google Phone app (anything above version 24 will be able to use the new feature).

How to screen a call using Call Screening

  1. When someone calls your number, tap Screen call.
  2. Google Assistant will load and automatically screen the call and will speak to the person at the other end of the line on your behalf.
  3. Whilst this is call is being screened, you’ll see a real-time transcript of just how the caller responds.
  4. You can answer or end the call at any time should you want to speak directly to the caller.
    • There are optional responses too, should you simply want to block the call altogether.
      • Is it urgent?
        • “Do you need to get a hold of them urgently?”
      • Report as spam 
        • “Please remove this number from your mailing and contact list. Thanks, and goodbye.”
      • I’ll call you back
        • “They can’t talk right now, but they’ll give you a call later. Thanks, and goodbye.”
      • I can’t understand
        • “It’s difficult to understand you at the moment. Could you repeat what you just said?”

How to get transcripts for screened calls

Transcripts of screened calls will be saved on your phone. All screened calls will save a transcript.

  1. Go to your screened call, then tap the number or contact’s name.
  2. Tap Call details.
  3. For screened call, tap See transcript. You can rate the transcript. The rating is anonymous and Google only collects data on the positive or negative rating.

Delete the transcript: You’ll need to delete the whole call log entry for the number. Tap the phone number > Call details > Delete.

Flip camera

When in the camera app you can quickly swap from rear-facing to your front-facing camera and ready to take selfies simply with a little phone wiggle. The feature is perfect if you don’t have both hands free and want to grab a quick selfie or even if you want to switch between front and rear-facing cameras quickly.

How to enable shake to Flip camera

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to “System” or search for “Gestures.”
  3. Select “Flip camera” > Toggle “On

Get new daily wallpapers

Customization is a core selling point for Android and even the very ‘vanilla’ stock found on the Pixel 3 has more customization options right out of the gate than you’ll find on the iOS side of the fence. Google has even built in a way to get a brand new backdrop for your phone every single day. It’s a great way to keep your setup fresh and interesting without much effort.

It’s worth noting that this is possible from third-party launchers but it’s much easier when using Google Launcher. It takes a few more steps but it is still possible. You can even activate this on non-Pixel devices simply by downloading the Google Wallpapers app.

How to activate daily wallpapers

  1. On your home screen long press and hold to enter the launcher settings.
  2. Go to Wallpaper > Select a wallpaper option from the Google Wallpapers section
  3. Now select “Daily wallpaper

Please note: Daily wallpapers are only available within the following sections: Tide, Voyage, Landscapes, Textures, Life, Earth, Art, Cityscapes, Geometric shapes, Keeping Looking, Solid Colors, Seascapes

Get Split screen in Android Pie

Prior to Android Pie rolling out, getting apps in split screen was actually really easy. For some reason, Google decided that this older method of split screen activation wasn’t right for Android Pie. You can no longer just long press and hold form the multitasking menu then drag to the top or bottom of your display.

Instead, you have to swipe up into the multitasking menu and then long press the app icon to activate a sub menu. Not exactly the most intuitive but it most definitely is worth knowing.

How to get apps in split screen mode in Android Pie

  1. Swipe up across the bottom pill button.
  2. Now scroll to the app you have already opened and want to run in split screen
  3. Press and hold the app icon in the multitasking screen to access the split screen submenu
  4. Select Split screen.
  5. Now select the app you want to run alongside the first app running in splits screen.

Dark mode

It took Google a long time to implement a system-wide Dark Mode for Android but we’ve finally got it and with a few tweaks we can protect our eyes from blazingly bright white menus — especially when it’s late at night. This isn’t as simple as just finding a toggle and hitting it, no, we have to delve into the developer settings again to enable the system-wide Dark Mode.

Make sure that you’ve enabled developer mode before trying this though or you’ll leave disappointed that Dark mode doesn’t toggle on.

How to enable Dark Mode on Pixel 3

  1. Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Developer options.
  2. Now either scroll down or using the search look for “Night Mode” and it should take you directly to the Night Mode section.
  3. Tap on the option and toggle it to “Always On” for a dark theme everywhere. Alternatively toggle it to “Always Off” for a white theme everywhere.

Use the Volume keys for camera gestures

Within the Google Camera app you can do more with the volume keys than just activate the camera shutter (especially helpful when taking images in landscape). You have the ability to activate the shutter or zoom level alongside the standard system volume if you prefer.

How to adjust camera volume key gestures

  1. Open your Google Camera app.
  2. Tap More >Settings.
  3. Tap Gestures > Volume key action.
  4. Pick an option.

Flip to Shhh

Google Pixel 3 Digital Wellbeing

Not exactly new in the Android space but it is new to the Pixel 3. Flip to Shhh puts your phone into Do Not Disturb mode when you place it face down on a flat surface, then disables when you pick up your phone again.

Perfect for meetings or even if you don’t want to be disturbed for a little while.

How to enable Flip to Shhh

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to “System” or search for “Gestures.”
  3. Select “Flip to Shhh” > Toggle “On

Quick swipe through apps

This is one of my favourite little tricks that people still seemingly never really know about when using a Pixel with Android Pie installed. It also works on any device running stock Android (or close to stock) like Oxygen OS or Android One. It takes a little while to get used to the extra inertia when flicking between apps but once mastered, it is easier than simply opening the multitasking menu and manually swiping.

How to quick swipe through apps

  1. Whether in an app or at your home screen simply swipe right on the home button/pill
  2. Hold and swipe left or right to cycle through recent apps
  3. Let go and it will open the app you have selected

Increase device animation speed

The Pixel 3 is a very, very smooth phone. Some might say buttery smooth, even with that said, with a few tweaks to the developer settings you can increase device animation speed for an even faster UI experience.

This doesn’t make your device any faster, it just cuts out some of the unnecessary animations for an experience that feels faster in day-to-day usage.

How to increase Pixel 3 device animation speed

  1. Head to SettingsAdvanced > Developer Options.
  2. Now scroll down or use the search bar to enter “Window animation scale“, “Transition animation scale” or “Animator duration scale“.
  3. Toggle all of these options to “.5x” or “off” as you see fit.

Prevent ringing mode

I would personally love to see a silent mode switch on the Pixel in the future but as we don’t have one just yet on the Pixel 3, we can use the hardware we do have to quickly toggle vibrate and silent mode with just a dual button press.

How to activate Prevent ringing quick toggle

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to “System” or search for “Gestures.”
  3. Select “Prevent ringing” > Toggle “On

Squeeze to silence alarms, calls and notifications

Another neat little trick that allows you to quickly silence phone calls, alarms, timers and notifications simply squeezing your phone. It’s part of the Active Edge feature that was added on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL but not many people are aware of this neat extra addition.

How to activate Squeeze for silence

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to “System” or search for “Gestures.”
  3. Select “Active Edge” > “Squeeze for silence” > Toggle “On

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Damien Wilde

Damien is a UK-based video producer for 9to5Google. Find him on Twitter: @iamdamienwilde. Email: damien@9to5mac.com

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