I’m pretty sure you have heard about the brand new smartphones announced recently by Google. Perhaps you have read any article or review talking about the features of Google Pixel and Pixel XL. Maybe you are an Android geek and have already pre-ordered a unit.
There are plethora of people who have pre-ordered the brand new Pixel or Pixel XL. If you haven’t done yet let me say that the best features of these devices are based on software. So if you are a Pixel admirer you can experience almost all the Pixel features on the device you already have.
In this article we are talking about how to transform an Android device into a Pixel or Pixel XL. This means you can get the best Pixel features on your old Android phone. So take comfort to enjoy Pixel features on the device you already own.
Right after the Pixel and Pixel XL were officially released the developers got them and in just a few days the system dump was live. This means that everyone who is familiar with Android coding can port the apps to other devices. This might not sound very easy because only a few people who call themselves developers can do a great job and port Pixel apps to other devices.
The good news is that some of Pixel apps are already ported and are available to download from any Android user. If you have ever installed an apk file before than you can easily get the Pixel features on your Android device. They mostly consist on apk files, so it’s pretty easy to get them
Anyway remember that we are not the provider of the apk files so we do not held any kind of responsibility for any troubles you may run if you install them. The developers verified that the files are totally harmless and don’t have any risks.
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To transform your Android device into a Pixel you it will need an Android 6.0 an newer. So make sure to check your Android version before trying to get the Pixel features on your device.
The next think you should do is to enable “Unknown Sources” under Settings > Security, otherwise you won’t be able to install a third-party apk.
Now head over to Google Play Store and install a file manager such as ES File Explorer.
The best feature of Pixel devices is definitely the new software and of course the new launcher. It is exclusive only to Pixel and Pixel XL. It’s kind of Google’s previous home screen app, Google Now Launcher, but with improvements and additions abound. Also there is a new search icon and voice shortcut.
There is a dynamic widget that shows the date and weather along with a new wallpaper picker and a calendar that shows the date. To install Pixel Launcher is pretty easy, it won’t give you access to Google Assistant, but it will open the Google Search app on non-supported devices. Here is a full guide how to download and install Google Pixel Launcher.
If you don’t want to use Pixel Launcher anymore, it’s pretty easy to switch back. Here’s how to do it.
- Go to Settings > Apps
- Tap on the menu for the Pixel Launcher.
- Select Clear Defaults option.
- Tap on the home button and select the launcher of your choice.
Google Pixel Camera
It is a new version of the Google camera that we are used to see in many devices. Google Camera is available for plethora of devices and you can get it for free on Play Store. While Pixel devices features a new version of Google Camera, v4.2 which can not be downloaded from Play Store.
This version of the Camera comes with features not seen in its earlier versions. There is a lock focus option, new animations, improvements in performance and many others. There’s an overlay that adds shooting grids in 3×3, 4×4, and Golden Ration configuration along with a slider for manual exposure control.
The Google Pixel Camera app is reporting as fully working on Nexus devices that are updated to Android 7.0. From the first tests the app seems to crash on older devices such as Nexus 6 and other non-Nexus devices. It might be a chance for it to work on other devices, but for now, it’s a Nexus-only affair. If you are willing to give it a try here’s how to install Google Pixel Camera v4.2. If you have installed the Google camera from the Play Store, this app won’t replace it. Instead you will have two Google Camera apps installed on your phone.
Google Assistant is a new feature that comes exclusively to Pixel and Pixel XL. They are the first devices to ship with a built-in Google Assistant. It is a newer and optimised version of Google now and like any other virtual assistant you can finish tasks, answer calls and so on.
While Google Assistant is limited to Pixel devices only, there is a workaround solution how to get it on other devices. But unfortunately it is available only for devices running Android 7.0 Nougat with latest the Google app version 220.127.116.11 or newer.
A developer at the XDA claims that the method works on various devices who use a Nougat firmware. If you want to give it a try check this guide: Download and install Google Assistant on non-Pixel devices.
Pixel devices offers much more than a new launcher and a camera app. Another feature app is also the Dialer app. It comes with a cleaner and more intuitive UI. The call in buttons are larger, a little more clearly and moved below now-prominent Caller ID information. In Launchers that support it, the dialer’s icon lets you create a new contact from the home screen.
The dialer app might be good but it has some troubles when it comes to compatibility. Users have reporting that it works on the Nexus 5X and 6P but they may not work on non-Nexus devices. Here’s how to install Pixel Dialer.
Among many features Pixel and Pixel XL come with some cool wallpapers. If you like them then there are good news for you. Google has made it easy to get something very similar to them. To obtain the wallpapers is pretty easy, you can find them on Play Store.
They provide an extraordinary range of illustrations, animations, photography and images that are optimised for your phone’s home screen. Perhaps the app packs an option to enable rotating wallpapers, so you can have the app select cycle through a a gallery of pictures if you want so.
Pixel Rounded Icons
Google Pixel devices features new rounded icons which seems to be pretty fancy. To get this is very easy. Luckily a developer extracted them and packed in a zip folder and made them available for you to download and install on your phone. Here’s is how to install Google Pixel Rounded icons.
- Download and install Awesome Icons, it’s for free on Play Store.
- Download the icons and then navigate to the download folder.
- Extract the icons from the compressed folder.
Now you’re ready to assign the new icons, follow the steps below:
- Open the Awesome Icon and tap the image icon next to any compatible app.
- Under the Icons header, select the entry and next tap Picture.
- A new menu will open. From it tap your file browser.
- Go to the folder containing the extracted icons, and select the icon that corresponds too the app you chose.
- At the cropping section, make sure the selection area includes the entire icon. Click crop and then OK.
- Repeat the process for all the remaining icons.
The icons will appear only on the home screen. They won’t appear on the app drawer.