So did you just have a Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro? Congratulations – you are now the proud owner of one of the best phones on the planet.
But with a great phone comes great responsibility – that is, the need to make the most of your new mobile power. After all, there is no point in owning one if you don’t use it to its full potential.
I’m here to help out on that front, with this guide on how to get started with your Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro. So read on and I’ll tell you what settings to change, what accessories to buy, and what features to try on your new phone.
You probably know this already, but the Pixel 6 runs the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system, Android 12, right out of the box. That has a lot of changes from Android 11, some of which might take a while to get used to, but on top of that, there are some Pixel-specific options that might trip you up as well.
These are the first five settings I changed when setting up my own Pixel 6 a few weeks ago, and which I recommend you look at as well.
1. Notification history
This is the first setting I enabled on my new Pixel 6, because it’s a fantastic feature and I’m really not sure why it’s off by default. Notification history keeps a record of every notification you’ve received in the last 24 hours, so if you accidentally swipe a bunch they don’t get lost. To activate the function and use it once it is active, go to Settings > Notifications > Notification history.
2. Improved automatic rotation
This is definitely one of my favorite new features on the Pixel 6 – use the front camera to detect when you’re lying down and disable auto-rotation. Once it is in the vertical position, the automatic rotation is activated again. No longer will you have to constantly toggle auto-rotate on and off! Just go to Settings > Monitor > Automatic screen rotation then Enable face detection.
3. Change the power button
This one is controversial, but in Android 12 the power button no longer turns off your phone. Yes really. Instead, it shows the Google Assistant.
Now you may prefer this setting, in which case you can leave things as they are. But I don’t, especially since there are five other ways to call Assistant without using that button. To change things back to how they should be, go to Settings> System> Gestures> Press and hold the power button> then turn off the Long press for assistant option.
4. Quick tap
Another nice trick exclusive to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is a feature called “Quick Tap.” This uses the back of your Pixel as a sensor that can be configured to perform one of several actions, such as taking a screenshot, playing or pausing media, or opening a specific app of your choice.
After turning off the Google Assistant via the power button option, I used Quick Tap to launch the assistant. To configure the Quick Tap function to your liking, go to Settings> System> Gestures> Quick tap then make your choice.
5. Now playing
And here’s another nice Pixel-specific feature: Now Playing is basically a built-in Shazam that listens to what’s playing and tells you what’s on the lock screen.
Honestly, I find Now Playing’s accuracy a bit unpredictable, sometimes it just seems to ignore what’s playing, but it’s still worth leaving the feature on for times when it identifies a song from the radio or TV. show that I don’t know. Just open Settings > Sound and vibration > Playing now Turn it on.
The Pixel 6 is a good-looking phone, but you might still want a case for it, especially to keep that beautiful glass back safe. We’ve got full lists of the best Google Pixel 6 cases and the best Google Pixel 6 Pro cases elsewhere, but we’ve included the top three for each below.
Since Google doesn’t provide the Pixel 6 with a power brick, that should be on your list too. Wireless charging is another option, as are some wireless earbuds if you don’t already have them. Either way, here is our selection of Pixel 6 accessories to complement your new phone.
Pixel 6 Cases
Google Pixel 6 Pro Cases
Google Pixel 6 chargers
The Pixel 6 is packed with great features, many of which are made possible by the phone’s Google-created Tensor chip. These are the ones that I find myself coming back to repeatedly.
As my colleague Philip Michaels wrote last month, the Pixel 6’s voice typing is an amazing feature that puts the iPhone 13 to shame. I was intrigued after reading your article, and it was one of the first things I tried after setting up my Pixel 6. And he was right (of course): it’s incredible.
You simply press the microphone button on the Gboard keyboard and then speak, and the voice typing assistant with Tensor listens and then transcribes what you’ve said. But, most importantly, he does it brilliantly, inserting punctuation when necessary and calculating with his intonation that a question mark is required instead of a period.
Speech typing on the Pixel 6 is incredibly accurate and has quickly become one of my most used features.
The Pixel 6’s camera is excellent (and I can only wish for the even better one on the Pixel 6 Pro), and a lot of what makes it so great lies in its software features.
Magic Eraser was one of the headlines at launch, and with good reason. Just tap on the object you want to remove from a photo and your phone will do a great job (mostly) of removing it and then filling in the background. It’s another feature that Philip Michaels tested in his Pixel 6 Magic Eraser test.
Camera Quick Start
This one isn’t that flashy, but I use it all the time – double-tap the Pixel 6’s power button and the camera will jump into action right away. It works whether the phone is on standby or in use, even if you’re playing games or watching a video, and it’s impressively fast. I’ve already taken dozens of photos that I would have otherwise missed thanks to its speed.
There are plenty of other great features on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, particularly when it comes to security and privacy, so stay tuned for Tom’s Guide to learn more about the phone as we continue to explore its capabilities.