Your Pixel 6 Just Got A Bunch Of Upgraded Features — Here's What's New

Google regularly updates Pixel phones with new features throughout the year, and its latest update introduces improvements to Now Playing, faster Snapchat access, and more. While Pixels regularly struggle with the hardware side of things, something Google's always gotten right is the software. From inventive new features, timely OS updates, and years of support, the Pixel software experience is second to none in the Android space.

This year, Google finally combined that winning software formula with the hardware everyone's long been waiting for. The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are as close to perfect smartphones as Google's ever gotten. They have gorgeous displays with fast refresh rates, the extremely capable Google Tensor chipset, and one of the best camera experiences available on a phone today. At $599 and $899, respectively, it's easy to see why the phones have been generating so much buzz.

Related: How To Use Live Translate On The Google Pixel 6 & Understand Any Language

In typical Google spirit, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro available at release aren't the final versions of the phones. Instead, they're only going to get better as time goes on. On December 6, Google announced its latest Pixel Feature Drop for December 2021 — bringing upgraded features to the Pixel 6 lineup and older Pixels, too. One of the biggest components of this Feature Drop is something called 'Quick Tap to Snap.' Announced alongside the Pixel 6 in October, Quick Tap to Snap allows users to double-tap the back of the Pixel 6/6 Pro to instantly access Snapchat from anywhere. Google says Quick Tap to Snap also works with any Pixels from the Pixel 4a 5G and newer.

One feature that is exclusive to the Pixel 6 (specifically, the Pixel 6 Pro) is ultra-wideband connectivity. Similar to the UWB tech in phones like the S21 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro, ultra-wideband on the Pixel 6 Pro is now enabled with this Feature Drop. According to Google, this allows users to, "quickly and securely send files, videos, map locations and more to other ultra-wideband devices nearby." Similarly, select 2020-2022 BMW vehicles now work with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro to lock/unlock your car and start the engine — just by having a paired Pixel 6 nearby.

As for features available for more than just the Pixel 6, Google's massively upgraded the Now Playing feature that automatically detects songs playing nearby. With this update, tapping the music icon next to a detected song saves it as a favorite so it's easier to find later on. Furthermore, if a song's playing but the Pixel hasn't detected it yet, users can tap a new search icon to do a manual check. On the subject of music, this Feature Drop adds twice as much bass control for the Pixel Buds A-Series. Just open the Pixel Buds app, find the bass settings, and set it anywhere from -1 to +4.

Let's wrap things up with some of the smaller features. In the Sound Amplifier app, Pixel users can now point their phone at someone speaking and hear them more clearly while simultaneously quieting background noise (perfect for anyone who has difficulty hearing). The Feature Drop also adds a few new wallpapers, the ability to adjust how long the power button needs to be held to active Google Assistant, adds more supported language transcriptions in the Recorder app, and expands Car crash detection to more countries. The Pixel Feature Drop is rolling out now, so be sure to check if there's an update waiting. Open the Settings app, tap 'System,' tap 'System updates,' and tap 'Check for update.'

Next: Google Pixel Buds A-Series Review

Source: Google

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