Got a Google Pixel? Flip this Android 13 secret key

Friends, Android appreciaters, fellow Pixel folks—listen up, because what I’m about to tell you might very well change the way you think about sticking around your favorite Googley phone:

No matter what you’ve seen with Android 13 so far or how much digging you’ve done to discover it Its many buried treasuresYou almost certainly haven’t experienced the most important and variable addition to the program. And there’s a good reason for that: the extension isn’t technically available on your device.

Android 13, as you know by now, is Two different operating systems. And while the improvements to the standard Pixel phone interface certainly aren’t inImportant, progress that has the potential to make a meaningful difference in your daily life is not intended to be used in that environment. It’s limited to foldable phones and tablets (for now at least).

But get this: With about 30 seconds of thoughtful tinkering, you can reveal this addition. And if you’re like me, you’ll probably be surprised at how much it improves your efficiency and transforms your Android experience.

Allow me to explain.

Invisible super power for Android 13

First, some important context for this: If there’s one overarching theme for Android 13 – what the final version will be, from a bigger picture perspective – it’s optimization.

More than anything else, Android 13 aims to improve the big screen experience on the ever-growing number of foldable Android phones along with The next army of new Android tablets.

Part of that is simply catching up where Google left off a few moons ago and starting to care again about crafting an Android interface and infrastructure that takes advantage of all the extra screen space on these types of devices and makes smart use of it.

But part of it is also to bring something completely new into the equation – something that will feel familiar to anyone who has spent time using else basic platform, Chrome OS.

You may have seen it: Android 13 Brings a supercharged version From the ChromeOS shelf, or taskbar, to Android. It’s a fixed bar located at the bottom of the screen on foldable and tablet devices and makes it particularly easy to access any app, at any time, without having to waste time going back to your home screen and searching for the widget you need.

It also introduces the interesting new power of splitting your device’s screen on demand and seeing two apps together by simply dragging an icon from that taskbar to the main area of ​​your screen. This takes a long-lost focus on Android’s split-screen system and turns it from a forgotten afterthought to a feature that suddenly seems relevant and useful.

I’ve had quite a bit of time with Samsung’s new Galaxy Z Fold 4, thanks to a borrower review unit on AT&T’s network, and I have to tell you: while you’d expect the device to be the star of the show. A product like that, the new, software-driven taskbar has really been the most outstanding one. (The Galaxy Z Fold 4 doesn’t actually run Android 13 yet, but it does come with the additional update to Android 12L last year — which, thankfully, is where that taskbar technically debuted.)

Don’t get me wrong: the foldable screen is a great display of the phone’s craftsmanship. Which is interesting in itself.

But when using the Fold 4, what surprised me most was the practical value that the new Android taskbar element adds to the experience. And more than anything else, I always find myself thinking: Why isn’t this available as an option All Android phones?!

Android 13 Taskbar - Galaxy Fold 4 JR

Well, here’s the little secret: It’s – at least, on devices running Android 13, like the trusted Google Pixel. It is only up to you to figure out how to activate it. This is not entirely clear.

Google Pixel Android 13 taskbar trick

Well, fair warning before we dive into anything else: activating the Android 13 taskbar item on your Pixel requires a bit of advanced Android (to use the technical term). For now, at least, this piece of software is only for use on devices whose screens are a certain size, so what we have to do is trick the Pixel phone into thinking it’s bigger than it actually is.

There is no danger to you or your phone, as long as you follow these instructions exactlyIt’s actually very easy. (It’s very easy to undo, if one day you decide you’re not interested in him and want to go back.) but we will You wander into a sensitive area of ​​Android mostly intended for developers’ use, and if you veer off course and mess with the wrong option in that area, could Make things spiral.

So only proceed if you are comfortable – and stick closely to the directions on this page. capes? capes.

The first step to bringing the Android 13 taskbar to your Pixel is the standard settings on your phone – by swiping down twice from the top of the screen and then clicking the gear icon in the corner of the panel that appears. Next, provided your Pixel device is running Android 13:

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings menu and tap About Phone.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of that screen and find the line labeled “Build Number”.
  • Tap your finger on this line several times in a row until you see a prompt to enable developer mode on the device. You may have to enter your PIN, pattern, or passcode to continue.
  • Now, with developer mode enabled, go back to the main Settings menu, tap the search box at the top of the screen, and type in the word smaller in the search prompt. This should reveal a developer option called “smallest view”. Click on it!
  • Click “Smallest Width” again, and in the message that appears, first write down the number there to start – just in case you want to change it again later. Then change the value to 600 and click OK.
Google Pixel Android 13 Developer Options JR

And that’s it: at this point, the Android 13 taskbar should appear at the bottom of the Pixel’s pure screen. You’ll probably get a neat little tutorial that shows you how you can use it and hide it when you want it out of the way.

Google Pixel Android 13 taskbar JR

The only problem with this is that in order to trick your Pixel into thinking its screen is big enough for the taskbar to exist, we had to make all the items on the screen awkwardly small. And unless you have Superman level eyesight, it’s not quite optimal.

So here’s the solution: Go back to your phone’s main settings menu, tap Display, tap Font Size and then move the slider to the right. (Depending on your device, you may have to tap Display and Text Size before you see the Font Size option). This will make text It’s larger throughout the OS, even if some other elements remain a little small around it.

Give it some time and see what you think. You might get used to it well – and you might also appreciate some of the other effects that come from setting up the mini screen, like being able to see six Android Quick Settings Shortcuts Instead of four when you swipe down once from the top of the screen and display the tab that looks like your desktop, Chrome shows you in that context.

Google Pixel Android 13 taskbar - Chrome JR

You may also notice that certain apps have multi-faceted interfaces that allow you to see different pieces of information on the screen at the same time.

Honestly, with a larger phone in particular – like a phone the size of Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro These kinds of items can have an amazing amount of meaning. You definitely have their own screen space. See how you feel after a day or two of using your phone with all this enabled.

and if you were it’s not Delighted with it or want to bring an Android-13-like taskbar item to your old Pixel or other device that doesn’t have Android 13 yet, read on—because there’s another interesting option you can chew on.

An alternative approach to the Android 13 taskbar

To get the Android-13-esque taskbar experience on a phone where you don’t have Android 13 or don’t want to deal with the side effects of the system level key we just made, a clever little app called Taskbar Well worth your time to check out.

Taskbar adds a permanent taskbar to Which Android phone, no matter who made it or what Android version it is raining. And it couldn’t be much easier to get up and running:

  • Install the taskbar app from Play Store.
  • Open it and give it permission to display on top of other apps when prompted during setup. (The taskbar comes from a reputable Android developer and does not require Which System permissions, including the ability to access the Internet, so nothing can be done to disturb your data.)
  • Flip the switch at the top of the taskbar setup screen to turn it on.

This will give you a neat little foldable taskbar that appears at the bottom of the screen and can be opened or closed as you wish:

Google Pixel Taskbar app JR

To be clear, this is not so completely Like the original Android 13 app. Notably, it does not include the ability to drag the cool screen to play and split. But it does give you easy access to any app at any time in a very similar kind of setup – and that alone is its handy power.

So pick your own adventure, and get ready to embrace the full power of Android’s latest and greatest improvements – even if they’re not technically meant for you.

Don’t let yourself miss an ounce of pixel magic. Sign up for Pixel Academy’s free online course And discover tons of time-saving tricks for your favorite Pixel phone.

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