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Greg Bulmash 🥑
Greg Bulmash 🥑

Posted on • Originally published at on

Pixel 4: Three Tips from My First 36 Hours

After some trouble getting my number swapped over from my old phone to my new one, I settled into enjoying my new Pixel 4.

But I didn’t. As much as I hated Bixby and a number of other crapware features on my Samsung phone, I’d gotten used to the UI. Getting used to the Android 10 UI and how I had to navigate through it was a bit painful. But after a little research, I added the Nova launcher and felt like I had more control over my experience.

Tip 1: Add a Launcher

I don’t fear or hate change, but settling into a new routine with a new UI is difficult. I’d built up years of muscle memory and habit to move my fingers in certain ways to do certain things. Now when I did that, I got the wrong results. It was frustrating. Adding a custom launcher helped me put things where I wanted them and reduce the “friction” between what my hands wanted to do and how the phone wanted to respond.

As I noted, I added Nova. A friend of mine swears by the Microsoft launcher for Android (yeah, it’s a thing) and he’s not even a Microsoft employee.

Tip 2: Facial Recognition != Fingerprint Recognition

If you’re thinking of upgrading right now, you will fall victim to an early-adopter issue. Lots of apps that let your log-in or activate them with your fingerprint are NOT capable of using facial recognition the same way. It’s a different API. So it’s going to be a slow and painful wait to get to parity as different apps start adding that capability. Until then… it’s back to passwords…

No fingerprint sensor in the Pixel 4 means all the apps/services that supported fingerprint-based login now require typed passwords again.

Shittiest Throwback Thursday Ever.@Google #Pixel4

— Greg Bulmash 🥑 (@yiddishninja ) October 25, 2019

At least some of the earliest adopters of facial unlock appear to be popular password managers.

Tip 3: Advanced Display Settings Are Your Friend

I also sort of found it disconcerting to pick up my phone and have the lock screen disappear. I like my lock screen. I use it as a pocket watch of sorts. Back when I had fingerprint unlocking, I could look at my lock screen, get what I needed, and then put the phone away. Here are two tips.

Display Settings -> Advanced Display Settings -> Lock Screen Display make sure “Skip lock screen” is off and “Show lockdown option” is on.

The first makes sure you can look at your lock screen and see just the time and alerts without going right back into the main UI.

The second allows you to do a long-press on the power button and select a “lockdown” option. When you do that, face unlock is disabled until you enter your PIN/password. This is good for any time you think someone might use the face unlock against your will. I still think face unlocks should have a “panic expression” which initiates lockdown.

Panic animated gif

“Team America World Police” – panic signal

That’s all for now, more as I make this phone my daily driver and get used to using it. Got any tips of your own? Add them in the comments!

Top comments (4)

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (double agent)

Tip: Indistrictable launcher.

I have tried a lot of launchers because I didn't like that everyone copied what Apple did... which I find not great. What's the point of choosing manually in which random screen and which random folder the app should be? That's arbitrary and not necessary. If you don't believe me, try finding a random app on someone else's smartphone.

My favorite launcher?

Indistractable Launcher - The minimalist launcher

benstigsen profile image
Benjamin Stigsen

I've used multiple "minimalist" launchers, and while they look great, all of them have a limit on the amount of apps you can have on the homescreen.

Currently I'm also using Indistractable... But again I can only have like 5 things at max... The other I have to swipe right and scroll or search for.

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (double agent)

Exactly. And I didn't like it at first but I have found with time that this is actually a good constraint.

fultonbrowne profile image
Fulton Browne

I also swear by MS launcher (Its freaking awesome)