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5 hidden Pixel features worth finding

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A phone’s most interesting features aren’t always the most obvious ones. Google in particular has a habit of tucking useful options away in easily overlooked places — and its Pixel phones are certainly no exception.

While Google’s phones once represented a “pure” version of what Android was meant to be, these days, they’re more accurately described as representing Google’s vision for the operating system. And increasingly, that means features and elements that aren’t part of Android itself or available on other devices are being added into the Pixel software.

They may not all be life-changing, revolutionary sorts of things, but sometimes, it’s the smaller touches — the ones that make our lives just a teensy bit easier in some subtle but significant way — that have the greatest impact of all.

Whether you’ve got the current Pixel 4 or an older Pixel model, these are five such features worth finding and remembering to use.

Pixel feature #1: Smart Storage

Our first hidden Pixel feature fits perfectly into that “small touch with a significant impact” narrative. It’s something Google calls Smart Storage, and it’s also a perfect example of how Pixel phones make Google services feel like native, consistent pieces of the overall phone experience.

Smart Storage works hand in hand with Google Photos to automatically remove local copies of backed up media after a certain period of time. Photos and videos tend to be some of the biggest consumers of local phone storage, and provided you use Photos’ built-in backup service to sync all your media to the cloud, there’s really no reason to keep the redundant local copies in place.

Typically, though, it’s up to you to manage that process by periodically going into the Photos app, finding the option to remove local copies of photos and videos, and then going through the process of having the app clean it all up. Smart Storage takes that extra legwork away and handles the whole process for you; all you’ve gotta do is activate it and then decide how often you want it to work its magic.

How to find it

To set up and start up Smart Storage, open your Pixel phone’s system settings and head into the Storage section. Tap the line labeled “Smart Storage,” then select whether you want your backed up photos and videos to be removed when they’re 30, 60, or 90 days old.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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