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How to use Motion Sense on your Google Pixel 4 smartphone

Google's new Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL smartphones are now out in the wild. One of the new features is called Motion Sense. It's a gesture-based system that uses the new Soli Radar chip. Here's how to make the most of Motion Sense.

How to control music playback

Motion Sense can be used to control playback in music and video apps. The functionality is quite simple at the moment, but it’s really useful if you’re hands dirty – like when you are cooking, for example – and you just want to quickly skip a track without getting your screen all messy.

Simply swipe a hand over the top of your Pixel to skip to another song on the playlist or album you are listening to. A gesture from right to left will skip to the next track, whilst moving from left to right will take you back a track. There is currently no way to play or pause music with Motion Sense yet.

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You can skip tracks on Spotify with Motion Sense / © NextPit

Motion Sense works with most music apps on the market including Spotify, Deezer and of course YouTube Music.

Google Pixel 4 XL review: the big wait for software updates

How to snooze alarms

One of the coolest implementations of the new Soli Radar chip is used for turning off alarms. You don’t have to do anything special to see this one in action, it should happen naturally – at least that’s how it has been designed to work.

When your Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL is ringing with the sound of an alarm, as you reach for your smartphone the radar chip will recognize your hand and lower the sound of the alarm. You can then use a similar swiping motion that you did for changing music tracks to snooze the alarm.

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The Soli Radar chip is housed in that large top bezel / © NextPit

As things stand today, both a left and right swipe will simply snooze the alarm, rather than turn it off completely. This seems like a missed opportunity for Google, but hopefully new functionality will be added via a software update soon.

How to reject phone calls

Just like alarms, you can use Motion Sense to reject phone calls coming into your Pixel 4 smartphone. The process is extremely simple. Simply swipe over the display in either direction once a call is showing on the screen to dismiss it.

Basically, all you are doing here is muting the sound, the call will stay on your screen and you can still answer it if you want. Think of it as a shushing motion to your smartphone. At the moment, there is no way to answer a call with Motion Sense, but who knows what the future holds.

How to interact with wallpapers

Finally, one of the more novel ways to use Motion Sense on your new Google Pixel is to interact with the new wallpapers. By now, you’ve probably already seen the Pixel’s Pikachu wallpaper – it’s all over the internet and the online reviews of this smartphone – but did you know that you can actually interact with it?

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Wave to Pikachu at it will wave back! / © NextPit

By swiping over the smartphone (or waving) with the Pikachu wallpaper active, you can actually force the cute yellow Pokemon to wave back. It’s completely pointless, of course, but adorable.


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