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How to get Google Pixel features on your smartphone [Android Guide]

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Last year in October, Google put  an end to the Nexus line by introducing two new smartphones which the company marketed as “Made by Google”. Those smartphones are called the Google Pixel and the Google Pixel XL. Both these smartphones pack the same hardware, except with a difference in screen size, screen resolution and battery capacity. Being a Google phone, both of these run the latest and greatest Google has to offer and are currently running Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

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Well, the Pixels aren’t the only smartphones currently running 7.1.1 Nougat, but, devices like the Nexus 6, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus Player, Pixel C and General Mobile 4G are also rocking this same version of Android. However, despite of running the same version of Android, there are certain features which are Pixel exclusive and aren’t available for other smartphones.

Features like the Pixel Launcher, new folder design, rounded app icons, app shortcuts, redesigned Google search bar and Google Assistant are the features, which for now, are exclusively available on the Pixel and Pixel XL. If you were envy of the Pixel owners because of these features, you need not anymore as you can easily get Google Pixel features on your smartphone, without even having to root it. How’s that possible? Well, read on and we show you how.

How to get Google Pixel features on your smartphone

Following are the Google Pixel features that we will cover:

  • Swipe Up App Drawer Action
  • App Shortcuts
  • New Folder Design
  • Rounded App Icons
  • Redesigned Google Search Bar
  • Wallpapers
  • Google Assistant

Swipe Up App Drawer Action

Step 1: Download Nova Launcher from Google Play Store.

Step 2: As soon as the installation is finished and you press back or home button, you will be asked whether to proceed with your smartphone’s default launcher or Nova Launcher. Go with the Nova Launcher.

Step 3: Now keep tapping on ‘Next‘ through the initial setup wizard, but, do select your preferences when presented with different options during the process. When asked to choose the app drawer drawer action, choose Swipe Up instead of Button and then tap on ‘Apply‘.

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Well that’s it, you now have a new app drawer action which is similar to that of the one found on the Pixel and Pixel XL. Here, you won’t find an icon to open the app drawer, but instead, you will find an arrow pointing upwards.

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Swipe up to open the app drawer, swipe down to close it

You can either tap on that arrow to open the app drawer, or, simply swipe from bottom to top, to open the app drawer. To close the app drawer, you can either press the back or home button, or, you can swipe from top to bottom.

Alternatively, you can also download the Pixel Launcher from here if you want, but, it may not work properly. Also, we won’t be responsible for anything that goes wrong with your device after downloading and installing the Pixel Launcher on your device.

App Shortcuts

Step 1: To get app shortcuts on your smartphone, you only need to download Nova Launcher from Google Play Store. That’s it. No need to tinker around with any other settings.

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App Shortcuts on Twitter and Yahoo Mail

App shortcuts are similar to 3D Touch on iOS. As soon as you long press an app icon, you are shown different options. These are useful if you want to quickly perform any action related to an app. For example, sending a Tweet or writing a quick email. You can read more about getting Android Nougat app shortcuts on your smartphone here.

New Folder Design

Step 1: Download Nova Launcher from Google Play Store.

Step 2: Open Nova Settings and go to Folders > Folder background and select N Preview.

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Normal folder design (left), Google Pixel exclusive folder design (right)

The normal folder design shows a stack of icons in the folder, but, the Google Pixel folder design shows clipped array of the top four app icons in the circle.

Rounded App Icons

Step 1: Download Nova Launcher from Google Play Store and finish the initial setup.

Step 2: Now download Pixel Icon Pack-Nougat Free UI from Google Play Store.

Step 3: Open Nova Settings and go to Look & feel > Icon theme and select Pixel Icon Pack.

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Normal app icons (left), Rounded app icons (right)

Well that’s it. All the icons of the apps installed on your smartphone will be replaced with circular icons. Some of them will look exactly the same like the ones found on Google Pixel, while some may not. However, do keep in mind that this icon pack will only work with custom launchers like Nova Launcher and may not work properly (or at all) with the one which came pre-installed on your device.

Redesigned Google Search Bar

Step 1: Download Nova Launcher from Google Play Store.

Step 2: Open Nova Settings and go to Desktop > Search bar style and select the fourth and fifth option from the Bar Style and Logo Style sub-menu respectively.

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Regular search bar (left), Google Pixel search bar (right)

When you tap on the new search bar, the transition may not be as smooth as the one on the Pixels, but hey, you are getting this for free. Isn’t that cool already?

Wallpapers

The Nova Launcher already has its own set of wallpapers to choose from, however, if you opted for Pixel Launcher instead of Nova Launcher to get the swipe up action for app drawer, you must have noticed that the app kept crashing when you tried setting a new wallpaper. Well, you then should download the Wallpapers app from Google Play Store.

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This app is developed by Google and offers some cool wallpapers. There’s also an option called Daily wallpaper, and, if you enable it, the wallpapers will change automatically every day, giving you something new to look at.

Google Assistant

Download Google Allo from Google Play Store.

Yes, that’s the only way through which you can get Google Assistant on your smartphone without having to root it or tweak anything, unless, it’s running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or above, has at least 1.5 GB RAM, HD screen, and most importantly, has Google Play Services installed.

Well, that’s it. That’s how you can get Google Pixel features on your smartphone without rooting it or tinkering around with any settings that you shouldn’t.

Also, instead of installing the Pixel Launcher, we suggest you go with Nova Launcher, because with the former, you will only get the swipe up app drawer action and new folder design, whereas, with the latter, you will get those features along with app shortcuts. And of course, either way you will have to download the additional icon pack that we have mentioned above in order to get the rounded app icons.

These were some free and safe ways to get Google Pixel features on a smartphone. We hope you found them useful and were also able to get Google Pixel features on your smartphone as well. If you think we missed out on anything or there’s any other app which gets the job done in a much better way, do sound off in the comments below.

For more, you can head on to our ‘How-To Guides‘ section.

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