Here's every new feature in Google's latest Pixel Feature Drop

Google drops quarterly updates for its own Pixel phones, which are referred to as “Pixel Feature Drops” and offers some new features and sometimes some enhancements. Not just for new phones, but also old ones. Which is really nice of Google to do. Since a lot of smartphone makers want you to buy a new phone to get these features.

Here, we’re going to go over every single new feature that comes in these Pixel Feature Drops. So you can see what’s new, and take advantage of these new features.

What is a Pixel Feature Drop?

Google started the Pixel Feature Drop a few years ago, as a way to roll out some new features about four times a year. Without making everyone wait on a new version of Android – which really only comes once a year now. It was likely done to get people to update their phones more often, instead of skipping some of these monthly security updates.

The first feature drop for Pixel came back in December 2019, and they’ve been going strong ever since. These Feature Drops are rolled into the security updates, so it looks like a larger update than it actually is. Which can be a good thing.

What devices are eligible for a Pixel Feature Drop?

This is a list of the current Pixel devices that are eligible to get these updates:

  • Pixel 4a (5G)
  • Pixel 5
  • Pixel 5a
  • Pixel 6
  • Pixel 6 Pro
  • Pixel 6a
  • Pixel 7
  • Pixel 7 Pro
  • Pixel 7a
  • Pixel Fold
  • Pixel Tablet
  • Pixel 8
  • Pixel 8 Pro

Older devices are no longer receiving security updates nor Android updates, and thus won’t get this Feature Drop, unfortunately.

When are they released?

These are quarterly updates from Google. So the released about once every three months. Google typically releases them in March, June, September and December of each year. Sometimes these may get moved around, due to features not getting ready and such. But those are the months they aim for.

Typically, the first Monday of those months (March, June, September and December) is when you can expect a Feature Drop.

What’s new in the October 2023 Pixel Feature Drop?

The September Pixel Feature Drop got delayed a month, along with Android 14, and launched in October. Along with Android 14, it does bring a good amount of new features to the Pixel. Here’s what’s new this month.

New Camera app

Google Pixel 8 Pro AH 16

Google is rolling out a new camera app with the Pixel Feature Drop this month. The biggest change is that there is now a toggle at the bottom to switch from photo to video. You’ll also get easy access to modes like Night Sight, Portrait and Slow Motion. This seems like a good way to make it easier to switch modes, without making the camera app unintuitive. But it will take some time to get used to.

Custom clock and Wallpaper collections

Also part of this update this month, there’s new custom clock and wallpaper collections. You will be able to tweak your lock screen and use some different clocks there. Which is a nice change.

Dual Screen Interpreter Mode

This is only for the Pixel Fold. It was announced back at Google I/O in May, but this feature will let you interact with someone that speaks another language, all on your Pixel Fold. It works on both screens simultaneously. So you can type something on the larger screen and show the person the translated sentence(s) on the other side. It’s really neat and will be fun to play around with.

New charging notifications

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With this feature drop, Google is adding a new charging notification that will appear if there is an issue with the charging accessory, cable or wall adapter. So you won’t just plug in your phone and leave it, only to find out it didn’t charge, or barely charged.

What’s new in the June 2023 Pixel Feature Drop?

For the June 2023 feature drop, the update is actually fairly small. This makes sense, as the next Feature Drop will coincide with the stable version of Android 14 dropping. So here’s what’s new for June 2023.

Cinematic Wallpaper

Cinematic wallpapers

With this feature drop, Google is rolling out Cinematic Wallpapers. According to Google, this is being powered by Google AI, and allows the Pixel to transform 2D wallpaper photos into dynamic 3D scenes. Giving you a pretty magical look for your home screen and lock screen.

Daily Readiness on Fitbit

Google is also rolling out a slew of Fitbit features with this feature drop. Including Daily Readiness onto your Fitbit. It was previously only available in the Fitbit app, now it’s available on your wrist. Daily Readiness helps you see how ready you are for the day, and for doing any type of workout.

Recorder Speaker Labels

First announced at the Pixel 7 event last October, Recorder Speaker Labels are finally rolling out in this Feature Drop. That’s going to make it easier to export your recordings to Google Drive. As it is able to label who is speaking and when.

Macro Focus Video

For the Pixel 7 Pro only, Macro Focus Video is rolling out. This allows you to use the macro focus feature while you are recording video as well.

And more

There’s a few more features coming in this feature drop, here’s the full changelog:

Pixel Phones

  • Safety Check + Emergency Sharing: Google Assistant is giving you extra peace of mind by making it easier to start emergency sharing, or schedule a safety check if you’re feeling unsafe, all with just your voice.
  • Car Crash Detection + Emergency Sharing: In addition to contacting emergency services, Car Crash Detection just got even more helpful – it can now share your real-time location and call status with your emergency contacts.
  • Macro Focus Video (Pixel 7 Pro): Now you can capture incredible detail on video with Pixel 7 Pro’s impressive Macro Focus feature.
  • Emoji Wallpapers: Mix and match over 4,000 of your favorite emojis with different patterns and colors to create a unique live wallpaper that fits your personality and mood.
  • Recorder Speaker Labels: Pixel’s Recorder just got smarter. It now lets you export transcripts into Google Docs, generate speaker-labeled video clips, and search for speakers within recordings.
  • Palm Timer (Pixel 6 and newer): You can take self-timed photos by simply raising your palm to trigger the timer with Pixel 6 and newer devices.

Pixel Watch

  • Blood Oxygen Tracking: Pixel Watch can now check your nighttime oxygen saturation (SpO2) and help you identify changes in blood oxygen levels while you’re sleeping.
  • High & Low Heart Rate Notifications: Your Pixel Watch can also track your heart rate and let you know if it falls outside of your normal thresholds.

Expanding existing features to more regions, languages and devices

    • Multi-Device Controls: Quick access to smart home controls.
    • Smart Features: Reduced rattling in vibration mode, Adaptive Charging and Magic Compose.
    • Google Assistant: Now more personalized and relatable with an array of voice options.
    • Android Spotlight Features: Unknown Tracker Alerts and Find My Device.
    • Google Assistant Expansion: Google Assistant in new languages and locales for Pixel Watch.
    • Wear OS Expansion: New tiles for Spotify and WhatsApp on your wrist.
    • Elevate Your Style: New Metal Links bands are coming to the online Google Store and in Google retail locations starting June 16, 2023 – choose from Brushed Silver and Matte Black – for $199.99.
    • Cinematic Wallpapers: Thanks to the power of Google AI, Pixel can transform your 2D wallpaper photos into dynamic 3D scenes for a truly magical look.
    • Auto-pause: Pixel Watch will automatically pause your run, walk or bike exercise If you need to stop at a light or take a quick breather – and automatically resume tracking your workout once you start again.
  • Fitbit Updates (coming week of June 12):
    • Notifications in more languages: Support for more global characters and right-to-left text on your device (Available on Sense 2 and Versa 4, Charge 5, Luxe and Inspire 3)
    • Daily Readiness: Daily Readiness Score on your wrist (Available on all Fitbit smartwatches and trackers).
    • Menstrual Health tile: Manage menstrual health from your smartwatch (Available on Sense 2 and Versa 4).
    • Switch styles: Pick a new clock face right from your smartwatch (Available on Sense 2 and Versa 4).
    • Get your exercise mode just right: Choose from a full list of exercise modes on your tracker (Available on Charge 5, Luxe and Inspire 3).
    • More designs for your tracker: Four new clock faces are now available in the Fitbit app gallery (Available on Charge 5, Luxe and Inspire 3).

What’s new in the March 2023 Pixel Feature Drop?

This time around, the feature drop is mostly aimed at older Pixel devices. Bringing Pixel 7 features to older devices. Which is definitely nice to see from Google. But here’s what’s new.

Faster Night Sight

Google has improved and added some new algorithms to the Tensor chip, which has made Night Sight faster on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. So you’re able to get low-light photos a whole lot faster now.

Magic Eraser

Magic Eraser debuted on the Pixel 6 in 2021, but now it is moving to older Pixels. If you have a Pixel 4a or later, you’ll be able to take advantage of Magic Eraser. Meaning that more people will be able to get rid of those photo bombers in your photos. As well as other distractions on your photos.

Health Connect

Direct My Call+

Google is also expanding Direct My Call+ to older Pixels, bringing it to the Pixel 4a or later. So now more Pixel users will be able to see call menu options before they’ve even been spoken to them.

Health Connect

Health Connect is an app that Google created last year, and was in beta for quite some time. Now it’s out of beta and available on Pixel devices. So you can use Health Connect to sync your health and fitness data across platforms. So far, this works with Fitbit and Samsung Health. So you can switch from the Pixel Watch to the Galaxy Watch 5 without losing any data.

What’s new in the December 2022 Pixel Feature Drop?

The December 2022 Pixel Feature Drop was released on Monday, December 5, 2022. And it’s the first big feature drop since the Pixel 7 series was released in October. So quite a few features here were already announced in October as “coming soon”.

VPN by Google One

Announced in October with the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, the VPN by Google One is now rolling out to all those users in the December 2022 update. This is a free feature, which you previously, needed to subscribe to Google One and be paying for at least 2TB to be able to enjoy.

For Pixel 7 users, this feature is going to be free for the next five years. It’ll likely last longer than your Pixel 7, to be quite honest.

Clear Calling

Clear Calling Large

Clear Calling is another feature that was announced in October and will remain exclusive to the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, at least for now. But basically, this feature is able to reduce the background noise and enhance the sound of the voice. So that others’ are able to hear you better in loud environments like a bar or club.

The demos we experienced of this feature at the Made by Google event in October were pretty incredible. So we’re expecting this to be mind blowing.

Recorder Speaker Labels

Recorder Large

The last feature in this feature drop which is limited to the new Pixel 7 series is, Recorder Speaker Labels. The Recorder app debuted a few years ago on the Pixel 4 and has been pretty incredible. But Google continues to improve it, and now, it can label individual speakers that are being recorded. It can also add in line breaks, making it easier to follow along.

Spatial Audio

This feature won’t be fully available until January 2023, but Spatial Audio is coming to the Pixel Buds Pro (only). Spatial Audio will allow you to feel more immersed when listening to movies and shows through your Pixel Buds Pro. It’s a feature that Apple has had for quite some time, and is now finally coming over to Android.

Security and Privacy Settings

Security Privacy Large

Security and privacy is always a big deal for Google, and it is continuing to provide updates to the new unified hub for security and privacy settings in this new unified hub. It includes some new action cards that notify you of any safety risks and provide easy steps to enhance your privacy and security.

Pixel Wallpapers

As always, Google is including some new wallpapers with this update. So you’ll have a refresh in the Curated Culture section of the Wallpaper app. There are a few new wallpapers here to help celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities.

Fitbit Sleep Profile

Dec FeatureDrop Sleep Profiles FB 1 Large

Google is finally rolling out the new Fitbit Sleep Profile that was announced back in November. This is going to help you get deeper sleep insights through Fitbit’s Premium Sleep Profile feature, on your Google Pixel Watch. It provides users with a monthly sleep animal and longitudinal analysis of your sleep. This is going to help you find ways to improve your sleep over time. If you wore your Watch to bed for 14 nights in November, you will see your animal today.

New Wear Tiles

Google is also bringing in a few new Wear OS tiles for the Pixel Watch. These include a new Contacts Tile, as well as an additional Weather Tile. This new Weather Tile will give you easy access to see things like when is Sunset or Sunrise, among other things. The Contacts Tile will give you quick access to calling and/or texting your favorite contacts, on your wrist.

Fall Detection

Google is adding Fall Detection to the Google Pixel Watch in 2023. This is already available on Pixel smartphones. Fall Detection will contact emergency services if the Pixel Watch senses that you’ve taken a hard fall and are unresponsive.

Other odds & ends

There’s a few more updates here for the December 2022 feature drop, which includes expanding a few features to more regions and in new languages. Like Cough and Snore Detection, as well as Live Chat Translate.