6 awesome Google Pixel 6 features I didn't know about

Some of the best features in your phone aren't the headline ones. These Pixel tricks are great

Google Pixel 6 phone being held by a man in a light grey jacket
(Image credit: Google)

Google's Pixel 6 is one of the best Android phones you can buy right now, and it'll soon be joined by a more affordable model, the Pixel 6a. But while the Pixel 6 is an Android phone that gives you access to all the usual Android features and apps, Google has also added its own Pixel-specific features to its phones – and some of them are really handy. 

These are 6 Pixel phone features I didn't know about.

1. Double-click for Motion Mode

One of my favourite things to do with my phone is capture those fleeting moments where something cool or fun happens. Motion Mode in the Pixel is designed to do just that, and Google has very sensibly realised that the last thing you need when you want to snap something in a hurry is to have to find your camera app. Simply double-click the power button and you're ready to shoot, even if your phone was locked or you were in another app.

2. Tap for Snapchat

The iPhone 13 isn't the only phone with a tappable back: the Pixel 6 has one too, and you can use it to capture a Snapchat-ready image from the Lock Screen. All you need to do is tap the back of your phone.

3. Automatic emergency calling

Here's one you hope you'll never need to use: if you give your Pixel's Personal Safety app access to your location and microphone, it can listen out for the sounds of a car crash. If it detects what it thinks is a crash it'll then play an alarm that you can either switch off by saying "I am okay", or you can say "Emergency" to trigger a call to 911 (999 in the UK).

4. Real-time translation, even without internet access

This one's really clever: say "Hey, Google – be my interpreter" and Live Translate will activate, automatically adding captions to your videos, automatically translating text you point your Pixel camera at and enabling you to type text and have it automatically read out in your chosen language. 

5. Hold for me

Sadly this one hasn't made its way to the UK yet, but if you're in the US, Australia or Canada you can take advantage of the Hold For Me feature in the Pixel 3 onwards. It's designed to take the irritation out of long phone waits: instead of you waiting on hold, listening to muzak and endless messages telling you how important your call is, your Pixel can do the holding for you. Your phone will let you know when there's a person at the other end.

6. Adjust your audio based on where you are

Adaptive Sound works with both Pixel phone speakers and Pixel Buds (but not other headphones or speakers) to automatically adjust the equalisation of your music, podcast or audiobook based on the acoustics around you. So if you're listening quietly at home and then go out onto a busy city street, your audio will change accordingly to keep the sound as clear and as realistic as possible. 

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).