December’s Pixel Feature Drop is here with UWB support for the Pixel 6 Pro, Now Playing improvements, and more


It’s that time again where Google unveils a ton of new features for its Pixel smartphones and December’s Pixel Feature Drop brings the ability to access Snapchat from the lock screen, Ultra-Wideband support to the Pixel 6 Pro, and Now Playing gets a search button for those rare songs that it doesn’t manage to find.

Tap to Snap

The Tap to Snap button lets you access Snapchat directly from the lock screen by double-tapping the rear panel of the Pixel handset. Google says that the addition of the new feature means the Pixel 6 is the fastest phone to ‘Snap.’ Tap to Snap is available on Pixels ranging from the 4a to the new 6 series.

Pixel Buds-A bass Controls

Pixel Buds-A users will be glad to find that Google has added a bass slider to the Pixel Buds app which will at least let you set the bass level to your preference.

UWB Support

The Pixel 6 Pro is gaining support for Ultra-Wideband (UWB) which will let it communicate to compatible devices, and allow users to share files and images via the Nearby Share function.

Now Playing Search Button

If Now Playing isn’t able to find the song that’s playing in the background automatically, Pixel users can tap on the new Search button to let the Pixel (Pixel 4 and newer) find it. And if it’s a banger of a tune, you can smash the music note icon next to the track’s recognition on the lock screen to save it as a newfound favorite.

Other additions include:

  • Starting this month, a new Pixel-exclusive Lens called Pixel Face which you can add to your snaps too. 
  • Digital Car Keys – Google has partnered up with BMW to enable a digital car key with our new Pixel 6 devices. On select 2020-2022 BMW models in certain countries, you can now unlock and lock your car by simply tapping your phone on the door handle. Start your car by placing your Pixel on the interior key reader and pressing the engine start button. 
  • Introducing an early-stage accessibility feature in the Sound Amplifier app, that helps to better hear conversations by tuning in your conversation partner and tuning out conflicting noise.
  • Helping you stay in the know of what’s currently playing, your Now Playing feature helps in searching songs for you while improving your bass-level control too. 
  • Across the globe, we’ve also implemented Car Crash to help detect if you are in a severe car accident when traveling. Our phones can check-in that you’re OK, share your location and other relevant details with emergency responders. 
  • Decide how long to press and hold the Power Button in order to activate the Google Assistant, if you haven’t already turned off this most annoying feature

Google kindly provided a graphic to show which Pixel phone is able to support the various features, as shown above.

He’s been an Android fan ever since owning an HTC Hero, with the Dell Streak being his first phablet. He currently carries a Realme GT Neo 2 in his pockets, a Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 in his backpack, and thinks nothing of lugging a 17-inch laptop around the world. When not immersed in the world of Android and gadgets, he’s an avid sports fan, and like all South Africans, he loves a good Braai (BBQ).

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