A few weeks ago we found that Google was prepping a new “Heads Up” mode for Digital Wellbeing that helps remind you to pay more attention to your surroundings when staring at your smartphone while walking. That feature now looks as though it is starting to roll out to devices.

This new screen attention feature has been added to help remind you of potential hazards if you’re walking outside and your device detects movement while the screen is active. It won’t ever replace your own judgement when walking and using your smartphone, but it might help prevent some accidents, which makes it a worthwhile addition.

After being enabled, you’ll get specific alerts from the Digital Wellbeing app when Heads Up mode is activated on your device including:

  • Be careful
  • Look ahead
  • Stay focused
  • Look up
  • Stay alert
  • Watch out
  • Watch your step

As you can see from the setup screens below, when launching the dedicated Digital Wellbeing app, the Heads Up mode needs to be manually activated. Naturally, you’ll need to allow location and physical activity access to be set to “Allow all the time” before it can work correctly:

The Heads Up mode is entirely optional and can be enabled or disabled — provided the Digital Wellbeing feature has reached your device. If you hate annoying pop-ups and notifications, you might not want to enable the feature. We’re only currently seeing the option on Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 devices so far when running Digital Wellbeing v1.0.364375698, which is a beta build. This means that it’s likely beta enrollees will be first to get this added safety option on their Pixel hardware first.

If you are enrolled and do not yet see the option, head to Settings > Apps > Digital Wellbing > Clear cache and Force stop the app. Re-opening Digital Wellbeing should allow you to manually enable the Heads Up feature.

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