Google recently released the Pixel 7a, the most affordable of its Pixel 7 series. And while it comes with the lowest price tag of the new Pixels, it does not miss out on a number of smart features and functions that make a Pixel special.

pixel 7a tips and tricks

Remarkably, a number of these smart features are not turned on by default. And some are so well hidden that you would have to dig plenty deep to find them. This is why we have listed out some of the best ‘hidden gems’ features for you. If you have got a Pixel 7a, go right ahead and activate and use these eight amazing features.

Most of these features will work just as well on any Pixel phone and even on some other Android phones, but the instructions are given based on a Pixel 7a.

8 Lesser-Known Google Pixel 7a Tips and Tricks

Smart storage

pixel smart storage

None of the Pixel phones come with expandable storage. So you are pretty much stuck with what’s onboard – 128 GB in the case of the Pixel 7a, of which some are taken up by the OS. You can, of course, keep a sharp eye on the storage and keep deleting files and apps regularly. Or you could leave some of the headaches to Google by using Smart Storage. This feature essentially frees up spaces by deleting media that has been backed up on the cloud. This is how you get there:

  1. Head to Settings, and choose Storage
  2. You will now see a list of how space is being used on the phone. Just go with the Free up space option at the very top.
  3. This will open the Files app. You will be shown how much of the space on your phone has been used and will also see Cleaning suggestions. You can follow these if you wish, but what we want you to do is hit the three-line menu bar in the top left corner.
  4. Once there, tap Settings.
  5. Tap to activate Smart Storage. Now media that have been backed up to Google Photos (and most of us use Google Photos) that have been on your Pixel for more than 60 days will be deleted automatically. Saves you some headaches.

Quick tap

pixel quick tap

We have seen endless videos and tutorials on how you tap on the logo on the back of the iPhone to carry out some tasks. Well, the Pixel has it too!

  1. Head to Settings and choose System.
  2. In System, go and choose Gestures.
  3. Right at the top, you will see Quick Tap to start actions. Tap on it.
  4. Turn on Quick Tap by moving the slider to the next screen and also allow the task you would like the tapping to do. There is plenty to choose from – you can take a screenshot, switch the flashlight on and off and launch apps, among other things. You can also choose the ‘strength’ of the taps if you wish.

Battery saver based on your routine

pixel battery saver

There has been a fair bit of talk about the Extreme Battery Saver mode on the Pixel 7a, which can make the phone’s battery last almost 72 hours.

Well, there is also a slightly less extreme but equally important battery-saving system baked into the phone. In fact, the Pixel has a system that turns on battery saver according to your schedule. Sounds convenient? Of course, it is. And, of course, it is turned off by default. Here’s how you fix that:

  1. Go to Settings, and choose Battery.
  2. Now, choose Battery Saver.
  3. Move the slider to switch on Battery Saver.
  4. Now comes the main part. Choose Set a Schedule.
  5. In the screen that follows, choose Based on your routine. Now Battery Saver will be activated when the phone senses that the battery is likely to run out before your next typical charge (the time when you generally charge a phone – say before sleeping or when you come into the office).

Face detection auto rotate

face detection auto rotate

Most phones today can change their orientation from portrait to landscape and vice versa, depending on how you tilt them. But turning on auto-rotation can sometimes be a nightmare, with the phone’s display changing orientation even when you do not want it to (say, while lying down, when you tilt the phone slightly only for it to switch to landscape).

The Pixels also come with something known as face detection, which uses the selfie camera to adjust the orientation of the phone as per your face. You do not need to activate or deactivate the display auto rotation. Here is how you make your face the display rotator on your Pixel:

  1. Go to Settings, and this time, choose Display
  2. Now tap on Auto-rotate screen.
  3. You will have two options to switch on now – switch on Use auto-rotate, and just below that, switch on Face Detection.

Speech enhancement for front camera

pixel front camera speech enhancement

The Pixel’s cameras do not just take great snaps and videos but also come with some terrific smart features. One of our favorites is speech enhancement for the front camera, which in simple English, means that the phone actually tries to reduce background noise while you are recording a video using the selfie camera – a terrific tool for content creators and vloggers. No, we do not know why something this useful is not turned on by default, but we can definitely tell you how to switch it on:

  1. Open Sett… no, not this time. Just launch the Camera.
  2. Go to Video and then switch to the selfie camera.
  3. Tap the tiny arrow in the top right corner of the frame
  4. In the options that appear, switch on Speech enhancement!

Smart lock

pixel smart lock

The Pixel range comes with a super cool feature that lets the phone stay unlocked in certain situations. This means that you can just pick up the phone and start using it without having to worry about unlocking it – a feature that is very handy, say if you are walking or even if you are sitting and working. This is how you make the locking function on your Pixel a whole lot smarter:

  1. Go to Settings, and this time scroll all the way down to choose Security and Privacy.
  2. You will now see a snapshot of the security status of your phone. Scroll down again and choose More Security Settings.
  3. Right at the top, you will see what we seek, Smart Lock. Tap on it.
  4. You will be asked to enter the PIN of your device. Do so.
  5. You will now see three different options: On-body detection, where the phone detects that you are moving and stays on while it detects motion; Trusted places, where the phone stays unlocked when it detects that it is in a place that you have indicated is trusted place (your study, your bedroom, etc.); and Trusted devices, where the phone stays unlocked as long as it is connected to a device you have labeled as a trusted device (a smartwatch, your car’s Bluetooth audio system, etc.).
  6. Pick the option that suits you best. Just remember that the phone will stay unlocked in these scenarios, even if someone else takes it. So use this feature with due caution.

Quick Phrases

pixel quick phrases

Want your Pixel to do something without hitting buttons or even summoning the Google Assistant with “Ok Google”? You can do so by activating Quick Phrases. It is kind of basic right now and is available for only two features (alarms and incoming calls), but it is expected to expand in the coming days, and well, it seems handy even in its current version. Here is how you get your Pixel to do stuff by simply saying the right word:

  1. Go to Settings, and this time, choose Apps.
  2. Scroll down and select Assistant
  3. Now, choose Quick Phrases.
  4. You will have the option to choose Quick Phrases for Alarms and timers, where you can say ‘Stop’ or ‘Snooze’ for them to do just that; and for Incoming calls, where you can tell the phone to ‘Answer,’ ‘Decline’ or ‘Silence’ by literally saying so.

Flip to Shh

pixel flip to shh

This is such a useful feature that we have no idea why it is not enabled by default. Basically, it puts your Pixel into Do not Disturb mode the moment you place it face down. Definitely beats scrabbling around for the relevant button and switching it on and off – incidentally, Do not disturb gets deactivated the moment you turn the phone over! This is how you make your Pixel flip to Do not disturb mode:

  1. Open Settings and scroll all the way down to System.
  2. In System, choose Gestures.
  3. Scroll down until you see Flip to Shhh
  4. Tap on it, and then switch on Flip to Shhh

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