Google’s new Pixel smartphones have gained some serious popularity right from its launch. The top notch hardware, unique design and the latest Android update have made sure that people take notice of the very first “made by Google” phones. However, what really boosted the popularity of the Google Pixel was the exclusivity of features. Yes, the new Pixel devices come with some really cool exclusive features, that aren’t even available for Nexus devices.
We are certainly impressed with the unique features in the Google Pixel and if you are too, you must have wondered if there is a way to get the Pixel features on your Android smartphone. Well, as you might have guessed, this article is all about how you can get Pixel features on any Android device. Before we get on with it, let’s take a look at what’s new on the Google Pixel.
Note: You should be able to get various Pixel features if you are running Android 7.0, 6.0 and even 5.0. We’ve mentioned the specific requirements for each feature. If you’re rooted, it’ll be super easy for you. However, there are some features that won’t require root.
What’s New on Google Pixel?
Google Pixel is the first phone that comes with Android 7.1. Though, as mentioned earlier there are many features that are exclusive to Pixel only. Here’s a quick list of the exclusive features:
- Pixel Launcher
- Google Assistant
- Unlimited Google Photos Backup
- New Support Tab in Settings with screen share functionality
- Google Camera App with EIS 2.0 and many new Pro photography features
- Wallpaper picker with new wallpapers and sounds
- Smart Storage – will automatically remove old backed up photos/videos
- Android 7.1
So, that’s a quite luring list of exclusive features for the Pixel. We can get some of these features on our phone. So, let’s dig in.
1. Boot Animation
Back when I got into rooting and customizing my Android devices, changing the boot animation was one of the things I enjoyed. Every new iteration of Android brings in a new boot animation for us to enjoy. However, I was not very pleased with the one we got on Android Nougat. I think Marshmallow’s boot animation was better but we really like the Google boot animation in Pixel.
- Rooted device
- Android 5.0 and above
We’ll install the Pixel boot animation via a flashable zip file. So, you can install it through a custom recovery. Or else, you can just place it in the root folder of your device as explained here. Now, there are two boot animations. One with the black background and the other with white. So, choose accordingly.
Download Link: Android Nougat Boot Animation
Source: By PlayerZ_ZawZaw on XDA.
2. Pixel Launcher
Coming onto the launcher that is specifically developed for simplicity and ease of use – Pixel Launcher. It doesn’t sport any features to get excited about but its elegant design should be luring enough for the average users. The swipe-up gesture to open the app drawer and quick search for apps are quite handy. Google search bar is replaced with a more eloquent Google logo on the top-left. And, apart from being user-friendly, I should say that it’s easy on the battery too.
The APK is available on APKMirror and you can just download it and install on your device. However, before you do that, do make sure to enable “Unknown sources” in Settings->Security. Also, the launcher might not work as well on every Android device, so keep your expectations low.
- Android 5.0 and above
Download Link: Pixel Launcher [APK]
3. Google Assitant
Google assistant is one of those exclusive features that makes Google Pixel a must-buy smartphone. The voice assistant has replaced Google Now and while we got a taste of it with Allo, the full fledged Assistant is way more smarter and functional. You can use it as your health expert, weather forecast reporter, as a Wikipedia, Travel guide or just have fun with it playing games. The opportunities are endless, as Google starts rolling out new updates for it.
Well, it turns out that this Pixel-only feature can be easily enabled on your Android 7.0 powered phone with just a few tweaks. We’ve already shared a guide on how to enable Google Assitant on your phone, so you should check that out. Also, if you get using it, do try out some cool Google Assistant tricks.
- Android 7.0 and above
- Rooted device
4. Pixel Style Navigation Bar
The other interesting change we get to see is the navigation bar at the bottom. The icons now are filled in with white and the home bottom has a new circular design. It also displays an animation when the Google Assistant is triggered.
Well, you can get this navigation bar on your Android without root. There’s also a root method. But, here we’ll show you the non-root one. We’ll be using an app dubbed Navbar Apps, which allows you to set custom images for your navigation bar and for that, we’ll be creating a custom image of the Pixel navigation bar. However, do keep in mind that the ability to set custom images in the navigation bar is only available in the paid version of the app.
The size of the navigation bar image should match the one your smartphone. You can check that by taking a screenshot or else Navbar apps will show you the dimensions.
Now, make sure you use an image editing tool that supports transparent editing as shown above. It is a screenshot taken on Photoshop for my 1080p display phone. I’ll link my image down below in the downloads. So, if your device has got a 1080p display, you can use it for your phone. However, you’ll need to make sure the height is correct. The dimension is 1080x144px. Also, the image format should be PNG. And, you’ll also have to create a navbar for landscape mode too.
So, after you’ve created your image, you just have to upload it to the app. And, select the custom image.
You’ll get more information in the source linked below.
- Android 5.0 and above
- Image editing tool like Photoshop or similar
Download Links: Navbar Apps | 1080p Navbar PNG Image.
Source: By FaserF on XDA
5. Google Phone Dialer
Android 7.1 on the Google Pixel brings a new dialer, which packs in a new caller UI that matches the one in Google Duo.
Sadly, the new dialer app can’t be installed on non-Nexus devices. The latest APK update is available on APK Mirror. But, it won’t install.
So, there’s a workaround you can apply on your phone. It’s a flashable zip file which contains the necessary framework needed to install the app. The zip file contains the APK ,which will be installed as a system app. The below-attached download link contains Phone Dialer V5.1 which is available on the Pixel. However, you’ll have to flash it through a custom recovery on a rooted Android device.
- Android 6.0 and above
- Rooted device
- Custom Recovery to Flash the zip file
Download Link: Google Phone Dialer V5.1 with Framework
Source: By fadeout on XDA
From the above-linked source, you can even download other older versions of the Google dialer app if the current one seems buggy on your phone. Thereafter, you need to give the app necessary permissions so that it can read the contacts. You can then further set it as the default dialer (if you want to).
6. Google Camera
Google released its latest and greatest update for Google Camera during the N Preview and it comes pre-installed on the new Pixel devices. The new camera app update brings a number of cool changes and additions. Here is what’s new:
- New flattened settings layout
- New zoom animation when tapping a photo to view it from the viewfinder
- New look for Timer/HDR/Flash toggles
- New HDR “processing” animation
- Volume key action can now be specified: Shutter (default), Zoom or Volume
- You can now swipe left to right to pull out the menu.
- Navigation buttons dim slightly when you open the app.
The APK for Google Camera v4.1 is available for download but with a slight caveat. It only works on Android 7.0+ devices. And, there’s no way to get it working on the older devices.
- OS: Android 7.0 and above
Download Link: Google Camera V4.1
7. Pixel Icon Pack
Well, it won’t be an ultimate Pixel experience without the perfect icon pack. Android 7.1 on the Pixel brings rounded icons, which look pretty good. The good news is, there’s an icon pack available on the Play Store that mimics the new rounded icons in the Pixel. However, you will have to use a third party launcher app like Nova, which lets you change icon packs. We’ll recommend you to use Nova Launcher, as it also brings Nougat’s rounded folder styles.
- Android 4.0 and above
Download Link: Pixel Icon Pack
8. Pixel Wallpapers
Well, you might have noticed that the wallpapers option in the Pixel Launcher crashes when you tap on it. Well, that’s because you need to have the new Wallpapers app by Google. With this app, you get different wallpapers in different categories and a feature to update your home screen daily with a new wallpaper. The Wallpapers app is available on the Play Store.
- Android 4.1 and above
Download Link: Wallpapers by Google
9. 3D Touch Inspired Quick Shortcuts
Android 7.1 brings a 3D Touch like feature that provides app shortcuts when an app icon is long-pressed. You can easily get this feature by entering Nova Launcher’s Beta program. The latest Beta build of Nova Launcher (Version 5.0-beta8) contains Pixel-like app shortcuts. So, all you have to do is just enter the beta program from Play Store. Otherwise, you can even grab the .apk from APKMirror.
- Android 4.1 and above
Get the Pixel Experience on your Android Device
Android is all about customization and tweaking your way through different features. And, that’s what we did here. Android updates have always been a problem and chances are, most of us won’t get the Android 7.1 update and some great features in the Pixel will remain exclusive to it. So, if you want Android 7.1 features or the Pixel exclusive features, the aforementioned ways are your best bet. Well, that is all from our side, do let us know if you have any questions and also share your experience with various Pixel features.
Featured Image Courtesy: Flickr