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How Motion Sense works on Pixel 4



  Google Pixel 4 Motion Sense Menu for Soli Radar

One of the most exciting features of Pixel 4 is its radar. The Soli radar is located just to the right of the headphone speaker and creates a kind of field around the Pixel 4 that can detect motion. Depending on what happens then your Pixel 4 can then predict what you want to do and help you do it. Let's go through the various Motion Sense features that enable the radar to be more detailed and explain exactly what they are doing.

What is Motion Sense?

Motion Sense is the name that Google gives the various radar sensors in Pixel 4 You can access the Motion Sense menu via Settings> System> Motion Sense . The section is divided into two parts:

  • Quick Gestures – skips songs, silence interruptions
  • Ambient Display – display when nearby, enough to control the phone

Each feature can be activated or deactivated individually and there is a to switch the radar on or off completely. It should be noted that Motion Sense features do not work when your Pixel 4 is in battery saving or flight mode. So you know what they all do and how they work, let's deal with them one by one.

Skip Songs

  Google Pixel 4 Motion Sense Skip Songs

This Motion Sense feature is pretty self explanatory but it is a bit cooler than you might first think. When enabled, simply pass your hand from left to right or right to left in front of the radar sensor to skip tracks forwards or backwards. This works not only in your music app but throughout the Pixel software, so you can control your music anywhere at any time. You can reverse the direction of the gesture if you wish.

It doesn't matter how you hold your hand either: it works both flat and in the karate chop style. The only trick here is to not have your hand too far away from the radar sensor or it may not pick up the gesture.

Silence breaks

  Google Pixel 4 Silence breaks

This may be the best motion understanding feature for everyone right now (Google says it will add more as time goes on). It is actually a two-part feature as it can be used both to lower the volume as well as to silence your phone. The radar detects when your hand comes close to your phone and lowers the volume for an alarm or a phone call.

You can also use the same gesture that you would skip a song. If an alarm goes off, wave it just to snooze the alarm for 10 minutes. If a timer alarm goes off, you can silence it completely by using the jump gesture. The same gesture silences an incoming call, but you cannot end a call this way, just silence.

Well for controlling the phone

  Google Pixel 4 Motion Sense Reach for controlling the phone

Scope for controlling the phone is also a fairly simple Motion Sense- feature. As in the example above, it uses the radar to detect when your hand is within range of your phone and lights your lock screen to display time and message symbols. But it also activates the two infrared face unlock cameras which results in much faster face unlocking.

Interestingly, the Soli radar can distinguish between your hand reaching for your phone and waving over it as in the examples above. If you wave your hand across the screen, just make sure the phone will not turn on. You actually have to reach your phone for it to work.

The existing Android "raise to wake up" feature is also on Pixel 4 and technically does the same as range for controlling the phone, but with an important difference. With raise to wake up, you must first pick up the phone to activate the lock screen and unlock the cameras. Well to make sure the phone is much faster as it activates everything before you even touch it. This is what makes Pixel 4's face unlock much faster than other face unlocking systems that rely on raising to wake up.

Show nearby display

  Google Pixel 4 Always On Ambient Display

Show nearby display can only be used if you also turned on Pixel 4's always-on -display. When this Motion Sense feature is enabled, Pixel 4 only activates the screen when you are nearby. This results in better battery life than just using the display that is always on. The only problem is that your screen lights up when you are near it, which can be mistaken for incoming notifications.

As you can see, Soli introduces many cool new features to Pixel 4. What's your favorite? Let us know in the comments.


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