Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
Pixel 5a phone
Most people think that Google Pixel smartphones come with Android. This is only half true, though. In fact, Pixel phones come with an Android theme known colloquially as Pixel UI. It is very similar to the original Android, but has different designs and features.
See also: All Google Pixel phones released so far
The idea that the Pixel has stock Android probably stems from the idea that the Nexus line – which predates the Pixel line – comes with Android. Since the first Google Pixel in 2016, Google phones have come with a delicate software skin.
In the article below, we will tell you everything you need to know about Pixel UI!
Editor’s note: This article has been updated as of September 2021. We will add/remove content as Google reveals more information about Pixel UI.
A quick glimpse into the Pixel user interface
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
As mentioned earlier, the Pixel UI shares many similarities with the original Android. If you were to use the two systems side by side, you would probably think that they were the same. However, depending on the Pixel device in question, there are a lot more features built into the Pixel UI than you’ll find with stock Android.
For example, recent Pixel phones have a feature called Call Filtering. It uses Google Assistant intelligence to answer your spam calls and make sure it’s not a robocall or telemarketer. In the Android settings, you will find a controller for this feature. Obviously, given that only Pixel phones get it, you won’t find this switch in Android. There are dozens of Pixel features like this one.
See also: What is Android?
Since Google Pixel phones represent the “basic” Android smartphone experience, Google doesn’t care about the overall look and feel of the original Android. Although there are many additional features added, Pixel UI is intentionally light and simple so as not to distract from the Android design itself.
Pixel UI is well received by critics and consumers alike. Most would agree that its simplicity is an asset that makes it fast and stable. However, criticism sometimes comes when compared to other feature-rich Android skins, such as Samsung’s One UI. The Pixel’s software may seem weak in comparison, although this competition gives us a lot of options when it comes to phone software.
The latest version of Pixel UI
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Pixel smartphones are always the first to get new versions of Android. This makes sense because Google owns Android and also owns the Pixel line, which makes it easy to optimize for new Android versions of Pixels.
The latest stable version of Pixel UI is Android 11.
Since Google’s Pixel user interface closely matches Android versions, the latest version of the user interface matches Android. In other words, when Android 12 is released, the latest version of the Pixel will be Android 12. Until that happens, Android 11 is the current version.
We have steps on how to check your version number in the next section.
How to check version and updates with Pixel UI
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
From left to right: Google Pixel 5, Pixel 5a, Pixel 4a 5G
If you don’t know what version of Pixel UI you have on your Google device, you can check easily. Here are the steps:
Head to Android Settings By searching for the shortcut in the app drawer or notification center. Scroll down the list and tap About phone Section. In the About phone , you’ll see your issue number, which is the Android version and Pixel UI.
If you are using an older version of Pixel UI, you may have an update waiting for you. You can check for software updates by doing the following:
Head to Android Settings By searching for the shortcut in the app drawer or notification center. Scroll down the list and find File System Section. in a System, search and click advanced to expand the list. then press system update at the bottom of the list. Pixel UI will tell you if you are using the latest version. Otherwise, it will tell you how to download and install the update.
If your software is up to date but you don’t have the latest Pixel UI version, then your phone hasn’t received the update yet. It is also possible that your phone is too old to receive new updates.
A Brief History of the Pixel User Interface
In 2010, Google and HTC teamed up to create the Google Nexus One, the first Nexus-branded smartphone. The phone was launched with the original Android system. So I started a series of other Nexus-branded phones, all built by Google in conjunction with other OEMs and all running the original Android platform.
In 2016, after the launch of eight Nexus phones, Google released the first Pixel smartphone. Although this was not acknowledged by Google at the time, the Pixel line usurped the Nexus line to become Google’s new smartphone brand. Unlike the Nexus line, Google not only designed phones, but also made them.
See also: How Google Pixel phone prices have changed over the years
The first Pixel phone came with the Pixel user interface, making it the first phone with an Android chassis. However, at this point, the skin was so minimal that it might have been available as well. However, over the years, Google has added more and more to the Pixel while maintaining the look and feel of stock.
The Android version released with the first Pixel was Android 7 Nougat. As such, there will be no previous Pixel UI versions of this.
What does Pixel UI look like?
Here is a gallery of screenshots that should give you an idea of what to expect from Oxygen OS.
Best Unique Features of Pixel UI
Robert Treggs / Android Authority
Each Android skin puts its own stamp on the software. Here are four things Pixel UI can do that most other skins can’t.
We briefly mentioned this feature earlier. With the Google Assistant, the call screening feature answers your calls, as your personal secretary. The caller will communicate with the Google Assistant as if they were talking to a real person. When this happens, you will be given a copy so you can determine if this is a real person with a real reason to contact you. If you think so, the assistant will correct the call. Otherwise, it will push it to voicemail and save you from having to do the job yourself.
At the bottom of the Pixel’s home screen are five app icons. Usually, you can choose these five icons manually. However, the icons you pick today may not be the ones you’d prefer to see next week. App Suggestions solve this problem by constantly changing the five icons to match what the Pixel user interface thinks you want at that exact moment. As an example of how this would be incredibly useful, let’s say you use Google Maps to get home every day after work. The program will recognize this direction and automatically place the maps on the home screen when you leave work. notice!
Night view and astrophotography
Technically, these are aspects of the Google Camera app, not the Pixel UI. However, since it’s only available on Pixels, we’re including it here. Night Sight is a Google PC photography feature that can make photos taken at night or even in relative darkness look like they were taken in perfect lighting conditions. Many manufacturers have similar specs, but Google is one of the best, if not the best. Likewise, Pixel Astrophotography’s features remain unparalleled.
When the Pixel device is not in use, information can be presented through the always-on display. You can choose to get some of this information from the track and artist of the music being played around you. It’s great if you’re in a bar and someone is playing a great song on the stereo. Instead of having to use a third party app, you can just look at your phone, which will contain the information for you.
Other information that may interest you
That’s all you need to know about Google Pixel UI! Be sure to bookmark this page as we will update it when Google changes the look of Android.
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